Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo
What were you doing a year ago?

So, what were you doing one year ago? I had no idea my world was about to change, and how much would happen.

Highlights

By Christina G - Kansas City

(lifeisanopenbooktest.blogspot.com)

2/5/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: reversion, reconciliation, faith, Christina G


LOS ANGELES, CA -     February 5, 2013:(while this posting does include emphasis on my own Reconciliation in my return to God and the Faith, it's a conversion/reversion story, not one focused on the Sacrament)

I'd been away from the Church and from God for maybe 10 years, attending Mass only when required for a funeral, wedding. I rarely even attended with family at family functions. I couldn't attend in good faith, knowing I was living was apart from Christ. I couldn't receive the Eucharist, and I had no desire for confession over the many years.  I didn't even attend Protestant services, because while there is also good in other religions, I deep down knew I was supposed to be Catholic (as revealed to me many years earlier, from God; your mileage may vary).

Our oldest son had emergency surgery for a spontaneous collapsed lung a month earlier. Despite him being a young adult, I was just as scared as if he'd been 5 years old.  As I prayed in the nearby waiting room (what? prayed? Yep, even as a sinner, fallen away Catholic, I still knew God was there, but that I wasn't there for God; I wasn't praying for myself, but for our son), I thought of all my relatives who I believed were in Heaven, or at the least, on their way there. I pictured each of them in my mind, and asked each one of them to pray for our son (as well as every saint I could think of...which wasn't many). I saw my beloved grandparents, friends and other family members....including my aunt, Shirley.
 
Now, my Aunt Shirley had been in a wheelchair for over 20 years when she died a few years ago. She was in a lot of pain, and suffered greatly.  That's how I always remembered her, when she crossed my mind over the years. But not that day.  That day, my beautiful Aunt Shirley had a smile on her face, and walked towards me from the 'line' I was visualizing.  She had such joy on her face like I don't ever remember seeing.  It was a very spiritual moment, because I felt that she was telling me it was going to be okay (it was), and that she was happy and healthy once again, in God's arms. Wow. I didn't consciously think about that...it just happened.  Our son recovered fully from the lung collapse, praise God.

The few weeks after his surgery, I seemed to be struggling.  I guess I was struggling against God. I knew I wasn't worthy (I'm still not). But I felt Him calling me. My life was 'okay'...my husband had recently received full time employment; our kids were in college, and I was doing okay. But deep down, I knew. I was living in fear. I was afraid to die.  The pathway I was on was easy and clear, and the destination was not a good one.  I didn't realize the fear I had in my heart and soul until it was gone.

Somehow, I was brave enough to reach out to a nearby parish priest via email.  I had read his 'bio' on the parish website, and he seemed like a young, caring priest.  I simply said, 'Will you be the Priest offering Reconciliation tomorrow evening?  It will be my first Confession in many years, and I need to make a sincere Confession.'  That simple email, those few words, took me a lot of courage to write!  I received a quick response: "God rejoices that you seek His forgiveness in this Sacrament to begin again anew! I will be hearing confessions as well as Father XXXX. We will both be there then. You are most welcome to come then for confession. If you would like, another possibility is to set up an individual time for confession. Which ever you would like to do, please know that you are most welcome! God bless, Father XXXX"

My last confession had been in 1999. So I had some things to cover, including serious sins such as not attending Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, including Sundays, and things I now realized to be sins that I hadn't covered back in '99.  I grew up 'scared' of going to Confession. No one likes getting in trouble, and that seemed like all it would be. Now that I think about it, I had only been to Confession ONCE in my adult life! I can't imagine that now!
 
So, I went. I hadn't given myself enough time to talk myself out of it.  I think if I had planned to go more than 24 hours from the time I sent that email, I would have talked myself out of it.  I can be very convincing to myself, especially if it involves taking the easy way out.

I did it. I think I made sure I was last in line, because I didn't want to hold anyone else up, and I knew I'd probably be very emotional afterwards (which I was).  I was scared of the penance I'd receive, the way the priest would judge me, and maybe he would say I was too far gone to be forgiven, and my road to eternal damnation was already complete. None of that happened. The priest (behind the screen of course; are you kidding? I go anonymously 99% of the time) was very welcoming and caring, loving and thoughtful.  I did truly feel like Jesus Christ was there.  The priest spoke words to me that applied so much to my life; how else could he know that?  I received so many words of comfort, and joy.  My penance? I was scared of that, but had become more scared of Hell, so I was ready to do whatever I needed. It was to pray a Rosary.

Now, I didn't have a Rosary with me (I carry one everywhere since that day; sometimes two!), nor did I remember the Mysteries or how to say them. My only experiences with the Rosary in my life had been at a wake, and before Mass when I was young (which is to say, I didn't want to be there, let alone kneeling on hard kneelers, praying, while my cousins were still at home playing!) at my Grandma's.  I had to ask if I could do my penance at home. He of course said that was fine.  Since that day one year ago, I think I have prayed hundreds of Rosaries. I've also received a lot of joy, peace, answers, gifts and signal graces during this time, because of those Rosaries.

I truly felt such weight lifted off my soul, my heart, my shoulders.  I had never realized how scared I was of death and the hereafter until it was removed by returning to God and the Faith.
My husband, I'm sad to say, had no idea any of this was going on in my heart or mind, other than my Aunt Shirley experience.  He was out of town when this took place. I honestly don't know if I could have done it that day had he been in town; what if I failed? I didn't want my failure, my possible rejection in my Church, to be known to him. Because, if God couldn't love and forgive me, then my husband probably couldn't either.  I AM happy to say that he was happy when I told him afterwards, and when I mentioned going to Mass that weekend.  We've attended faithfully ever since.  Our anniversary was just a few days later, which made it even more joyous.  I'm very excited for this Sunday, World Marriage Day, and our anniversary. Great timing!

One year later, so many great things have happened, some of which you can read about on my blog. Have things been perfect? Have I been perfect? No way! But I'm trying, not to be perfect, for that is impossible for humans, but to be pleasing to God.  Have I sinned? Have I fallen short of the Glory of God? On a regular basis, yes.

One of the most exciting things isn't even happening to me, but a friend of mine, who is becoming Catholic after years of thinking about it; maybe I helped nudge her, just a little bit.  Maybe my rambling, talking, shouting from the rooftops, is a good thing, after all. Those posts on Facebook do have an impact!  I've been saying recently that God gave me the gift of many words; I might as well use them for good and for His Glory!

Luke 15: 7 - 0 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 
21 - Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22 - But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe-the best one-and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.'
23 - And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;
24  - or this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to celebrate.
32 - 'But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'

Luke 7: 47 - Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." 48 Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49 - But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50 - And he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...




---

Personal Blog



Comments


More Blog

Hope Didn't Die With The Baby!

Image of A boy! We counted his tiny fingers and toes and marveled.

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

My son's life, while brief, impacted the world. On this day nineteen years ago, he not only opened my womb, he stretched wide my heart. He taught me how to love, to abandon myself for the sake of another. His life unraveled my plans and caused me to loosen my ... continue reading


Lord Keep Making Me Watch

Image of The title of a wonderful song by the 'Sidewalk Prophets'

By Jackie Stammen

Killing me. This song is killing me. When I hear a song and it strikes a chord with me, I WEAR IT OUT. Right now, 'Keep Making Me' by the Sidewalk Prophets has been on repeat in my car for days. The reason is because it's my truth. This is why it's resonating deep in ... continue reading


Is the Lord the Constant Refuge in the Midst of your Daily Life?

Image of Let prayer be your anchor to the Lord.

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

Prayer changes and adapts to the circumstances of our life. We will pray differently after we have worked hard all day and are tired as opposed to when we are just waking up in the morning. The rhythms of our life will also alter how we relate to the Lord. Learning how ... continue reading


Do You Believe You Are A Beloved Child Of The Father?

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

You are a beloved child of the Father. Do you believe it? NASHVILLE, TN - I recently wrote Wonderfully Made as a reminder of how beautifully and wonderfully made we really are. It's true. Jesus tells us so in the Bible.  Often hard to believe, but it is the ... continue reading


Do You Desire Things to go Your Way or God's Way?

Image of Free yourself by always putting God first.

By Jackie Stammen

We place too much emphasis on every last expectation we have of other people to do and act as we expect. To live within our guidelines, our parameters, and our vision of what is ideal. Moreover, we go so far as to demand perfection from other people as we pursue ... continue reading


Free e-Book 'Pondering Tidbits of Truth'

Image of Pondering Tidbits of Truth [Kindle Edition]

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

I have been blessed with the awesome job of being the blog editor for Catholic Online. This with all of my other 'work' has kept me from blogging recently. (At least that is my excuse.) I do have a very special message for Catholic Online Readers... LOS ANGELES, CA - I ... continue reading


Imagination is One of the Means by Which We Enter Into Relationship with God.

Image of Through prayer our imaginations can be healed and elevated by the work of the Holy Spirit

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

The imagination is powerful. It can either be a friend that helps us to imagine and explore the possibilities of a fruitful life, or it can be devastating enemy that keeps us ensnared in a tangled web of illusions, fears, and anxieties. ELIZABETH CITY, NC ... continue reading


Do you believe the Word of God?

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Why is it so difficult to believe the truth about ourselves? Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves down and telling ourselves exactly why we think we are not good enough instead of building ourselves in His Truth? NASHVILLE, TN - Why is it so easy to ... continue reading


Ordination: Answering the Lord's Call

Image of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver.

By Michael Clark

Each Spring the Catholic dioceses and Archdioceses across the nation have the distinct pleasure to celebrate the men who have answered the call of the Lord as priests. No matter how any priests I have talked to over the years, I don't think I will every truly ... continue reading


Learning to Hear God's Voice

Image of The Lord speaks to us in the working of our interior dialogue and our experience.

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

One temptation for beginners at meditation is to constantly worry about if something is coming from God or from their own imagination. We are familiar with the extraordinary visions and locutions of the Bible, and we tend to think that God either speaks in an ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:1-6
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 146:1-2, 2-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, my soul!2 I ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 31st, 2014 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guip˙zcoa, Spain, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter