Finding the Lost, but Never Forgotten…
I have been going through some of my saved documents and bookmarks for things that no longer are needed, and links that no longer work. I am so glad that I saved this several years back. I cannot find Lisa’s Lighthouse, where I first found this. But I have given it to MANY and believe it can also be found in Donna Steichen’s book
Prodigal Daughters Catholic Women Come Home to the Church by Donna Steichen
though it has been awhile since I read it, and can no longer remember if it is there or not. Leila Miller is younger than I am, and probably much closer in age to my younger sisters and brother (family of ten, 19 yrs difference between oldest and youngest children). What she describes is what many of us have gone through over the years, with the results being many leaving the Church because they had no real idea of what the Church really teaches! I have non-practicing siblings, and two no longer Catholic sibs as a result of the poor catechesis.
I, being oldest and taught for nine years in Catholic schools until after ninth grade, (64), probably had the better knowledge of our Faith, along with two of my brothers right behind me. But those after the three of us really had little or no teaching like we did, and the youngest ones may never have known about Benediction, Holy Hours, Adoration, Scapulars, First Fridays, First Saturdays, and even such a deep Truth of our Faith, The Real Presence in the Eucharist! How very sad that so many have been led to believe that Jesus’ Words are not Truth, but ‘symbolism’ in John 6:26-68!!
26: Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
27: Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."
28: Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
29: Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
30: So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?
31: Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32: Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33: For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
34: They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
35: Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
36: But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
37: All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.
38: For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;
39: and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.
40: For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
41: The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
42: They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?"
43: Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves.
44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45: It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
46: Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
47: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
48: I am the bread of life.
49: Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50: This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
51: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
52: The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53: So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
54: he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55: For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
57: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
58: This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
59: This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um.
60: Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61: But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62: Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
63: It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64: But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
65: And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66: After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
67: Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
68: Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
So, forgive me for going on for so long…Read this, grieve for those who can relate, and/or learn from it.
......and God bless!
"I Was Robbed!"
by Leila Miller
I was robbed. I am a "Generation X" Catholic, raised and catechized in the tumultuous aftermath of Vatican II. I was a victim of "renewal" and experimentation gone awry, and so were my peers. With great regret and without exaggeration, I contend that the results have been catastrophic for my generation. It is my firm belief that the overwhelming majority of young Catholics don't have even an elemental understanding of their Faith....
The culture we live in is merciless when it comes into contact with a poorly catechized Catholic. American society today is designed to destroy one's faith, as objective truth and moral absolutes are rejected concepts. When modern, "enlightened" catechesis echoes the messages of the culture, and when those charged with informing the Catholic conscience and transmitting the Faith take an "experiential" rather than informative approach, what can you expect? You can expect exactly what was taught.You can expect young Catholics who believe "conscience" means "opinion" and you can expect subjective feelings and personal experience to supplant objective truth. In fact, the prevailing philosophy of my peers is that there is no one "truth" -- truth is whatever we want it to be. You have your truth, I have mine. (Kind of puts the lie to Christ's definitive statement, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" doesn't it? It also doesn't sound like anything worth dying for -- those silly martyrs!)
The only moral challenges given to the faithful from the pulpit were (and are) calls to help the poor, or admonitions against racism and sexism. But it was obvious to me that every good atheist, pagan or non-believer out there was saying the same thing. So why bother being a Christian? Why get out of bed on Sunday morning and go to Mass when I could turn on any news program or TV series and get the same message? Young Americans generally are sensitive to social justice issues, since we've been immersed in a culture that never ceases to speak out on such things. To this day, when I hear yet another social justice homily, I want to yell out: "We get it! We get it! But what we never hear about is the need for personal morality! For repentance! For conversion! For holiness! What we don't understand is our Faith! Teach us! Challenge us! Help us get to Heaven!" Have too many leaders of the Catholic Church in America forgotten that their mission is to save souls?
The abuses and trials one must endure at Mass today are legendary among the faithful, and it was just such instances which helped fuel my estrangement from the Church. For example, I have been at Masses where I have been driven to distraction as I read the words of Sacred Scripture in a missalette while the lector read a distorted "inclusive language" version of the same text. My intelligence has been insulted as I've witnessed the disappearance of words like "brothers" and "men" from both liturgy and song -- apparently the political correctness police have decided that I as a woman am either too stupid or too fragile to understand that such words include me, too. I have sat through an Easter Mass where the priest donned a bunny suit for a homily/skit, and balloons were tied to the pews. And I have sat with my mouth hanging open as I heard one priest use that morning's gospel reading to condone homosexuality. After a while, it didn't seem worth it anymore; I could no longer see the point to attending Mass. Looking back, it is clear that I had lost respect for the Catholic Church....
Maybe this is a good place to debunk a myth that desperately needs debunking. One of the classic lines from liberal, dissenting Catholics is this: "The Church needs to change its outdated teachings and must ordain women, replace the patriarchal language in the liturgy, allow divorce and remarriage, sanction birth control, masturbation, homosexuality, abortion [and so on, ad nauseum]. Young people are leaving the Church in droves because of its refusal to conform to the times!"
As a young person, I tell you this is rubbish. It is a smokescreen. I do not dispute that there are many young, "enlightened" Catholics who have left the Church with these reasons on their lips. But they are using these reasons as excuses to mask the real problem: They have either lost their faith or they never really had it. The need in this case is not for accommodation, but for conversion. These young Catholics have never been taught that Christianity is not about self-fulfillment, it's about self-denial; it's not about worldly power, it's about humility; it's not about control, it's about obedience; and it's not about some misguided, gender feminist idea of equality, it's about Truth.
But for all of the young Catholics who leave the Church because it is not politically correct enough for them, there are equal numbers (mainly those who have begun families) who are leaving for opposite reasons; namely, they feel the Church has become too liberal, too morally lax, too reflective of the secular culture. These Catholics are filling the pews of fundamentalist and evangelical churches, whose leaders hold fast to Christian morality, and where the Ten Commandments are still understood to be commands, not suggestions. These young adults are searching for an anchor in a world gone mad. They are searching for Christ and a high standard of Christian morality, and they don't believe they can find either in the Catholic Church. (Ironically, by leaving the Catholic Church, they are actually walking away from the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and leaving the faith that holds the highest and most difficult moral code of them all!) ....
Nevertheless, by February of 1995, I just wanted out. I was ready to send out a trial balloon to my mom, to see how she would react to my inclination to leave the Church. I specifically did not approach my dad first, as I knew he would be heartbroken at the thought; but because my mother was raised a Protestant (she came into the Catholic Church when I was three), I thought she would be easier to talk to. Mom is a very rational and stoic person, and she is known for giving sound advice. After I popped the question: "How would you feel if I left the Church for a Bible church?" she gave me the answer that would change not only my life, but the lives of many others as well. She said, "Before you leave, you should find out what it is that you're leaving."
She then proceeded to give me some of the reasons she had left Protestantism. For instance, she said it never made sense to her that Protestants place all their belief in the Bible alone. The question for her became, which Bible? There were so many different translations, and everyone had a different view on which version was authoritative. She was also wary of non-denominational churches in general, and she talked about "the cult of the personality," or the tendency in such churches for the congregation to rally around a well-liked, dynamic pastor who usually had a new and "brilliant" interpretation of Scripture. He would be the reason that they came, and if that particular pastor left, the congregation would leave with him.
Everything she said made sense to me, and that evening my thoughts of leaving Catholicism were at least neutralized. The big blow came a couple of weeks later when my mom, in her matter-of-fact way, presented me with a book. It was the kind of book I had never seen before. The kind of book I never knew existed. It was a book of Catholic apologetics. It was Karl Keating's Catholicism and Fundamentalism.
Some people may roll their eyes in disbelief when I say that I never knew such a book existed. I don't blame them -- even I cannot believe that it never occurred to me that someone out there might find it necessary, useful, even noble to defend the Faith! It seems so silly to me now. How could I have been ready to jump ship to a Bible church without even investigating the doctrinal issues involved? Why did it never even cross my mind that a Church of 2,000 years might be able to present an argument on her behalf? Maybe it's because in my lifetime as a Catholic, I had never heard anyone defend the Faith. No one had ever given me any reasons why Catholics were right, why we had the fullest truth. The only thing approaching an apologetics argument was my parents' statements that ours was the oldest Christian church. That we Catholics were here first! During my childhood and adolescence, I remember being quite proud of that fact. Too bad no one ever elaborated on that point....
Some other fruits of my "conversion"? I have returned to confession after more than fifteen years, and I now reap the graces of that wonderful, previously unknown sacrament. Mass, which I once avoided, is now an other-worldly experience for me. Contraception? Gone, with great benefit to my marriage. I continue to uncover the treasures of Christ's Church, and Kim and I now teach the Faith to others. I guess you could say that in Catholicism I've found the secret of the universe, and nothing can compare to its majesty.
Which brings me back to a sadness. How easily I could have lost it all! How easily my friends and contemporaries have lost or could lose a Faith they never really understood. Feel-good, inoffensive, nebulous psycho-babble catechesis doesn't provide an even minimal foundation of faith, and a faith built on such a weak and erroneous foundation could not withstand even the smallest challenge. For proof of this, note that fundamentalist Christians have successfully pulled millions of Catholics out of the Church just by quoting a few Bible verses out of their proper context. And at the other end of the spectrum, feminists and New Agers lure Generation Xers out of Catholicism simply by loudly and repeatedly applying snide labels to the Church, such as "patriarchal," "oppressive," "reactionary," "judgmental," "irrelevant," etc. A poorly catechized Catholic is virtually helpless against these tactics....