Friday, June 13, 2008

My Embrace of The Catholic Faith (Part Four)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

My family and I started going to Church every Sunday. Big D and I decided that if we were going to be Catholic and live a Catholic life we better start learning about it. Big D started buying books, lots and lots of books on the Catholic faith.

One book that I really liked was Catholicism for Dummies. This book has straightforward explanations with a little humor thrown in. We also referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The more I read the more fascinated I became with the Catholic faith.

A friend and Co-worker of Big D invited us to go see and hear Fr Corapi at his local parish. We all went to the Church and it was beautiful. Fr, Corapi was sitting down and seemed to be very humble and quiet. When it was time for him to speak he was nowhere near quiet. He mesmerized me. His fire for the Catholic faith was something that reached my heart and soul. This is exactly what I needed, someone to speak to me about the Catholic faith and not water anything down.

When we left, my soul was on fire, I wanted to tell everyone I knew how wonderful the Catholic faith was, and that everyone should embrace it. I soon found out that many people did not want to hear that. Even people I know who are Catholic did not want to hear that. I was not trying to tell them that they were wrong or not with God. I felt as though I had the answer to life and I had to let people know what that was.

It soon seemed to feel that my family and I were looked at as a little too Catholic, a little too religious. It was discouraging at first. It seemed as though some of our family and friends wanted to distance themselves, and if they didn't they only wanted to debate religion with us. This was the time that I realized we would have some crosses to bear as we made our way closer to God. I became aware that I was not going to show people God through my words, it would have to be my actions and example, which is a lot harder. It is one thing to quote the Bible and the Catechism, it is quite another to live it out. I felt I would do best with the latter.

We did not let other people and their opinions stop us. As big D and I were studying the Catholic faith it became clear that The Church does not accept contraceptives. We felt we needed to find another alternative. We found an Natural Family Planning class at our parish and we went. This is where we met our very good friends B&D. They had been teaching the class for over twenty years. We learned how to do the Billings Method, and it just seemed so easy. Could this work? We started using the method, and yes it does work.

NFP is a natural way for a woman to know her body. I felt liberated with the feeling of control over the cycles of my body. It also gave Big D and I closeness in our relationship. Every month we had to decide if we would be open to life. We were giving of each other with nothing held back. It brought us so much closer on a spiritual and physical level.

Learning about and using NFP also gave me a very different outlook on children. Some people see a mom with eight kids and who uses NFP, what is there first thought? NFP does not work. That is so far from the truth. When you are using NFP you lose the notion that children are a burden. You see them for what they are, natural, loving gifts that come straight from God. So believe me that women with eight children who uses NFP knows exactly what she is doing.

NFP was completely new to me. I had never heard of it before, so I was sure the women I knew had never heard of it. As I used the method and found it to work very well I began telling my women friends and family about it. Some listened, some said it does not work, even though they never tried it. I think this was just one more thing that made me the kooky Catholic. I didn’t care I could see the transformation in my marriage and in myself.

Before I was happy with having my children, a boy and a girl. That was the perfect family. Everyone thought so. Any more children and you are reaching the point of being “different.” Like I said before, learning about the Catholic faith and using NFP gave me such a different insight on children. The reason that I feel Catholic woman who use NFP have many children is because the Lord opens your eyes and your hearts when you embrace what he is asking you to do. We can see God though these little people, how could you not want more! I was no different. My heart was tugging and I prayed on what we should do. Needless to say we ended up having two more children, another girl and another boy. Now I was the kooky Catholic with a lot of kids, and I loved it.

We received a call from our priest asking if we would be interested in facilitating the marriage classes at our parish. Our friends B&D ran the conference. Basically what happens is engaged couples come for the weekend, we talk about all things marriage, money, intimacy, in-laws, and other topics that need addressing.. We also let them know what the Catholic Church expects of them. How the Church views marriage. Obviously we said yes and have been doing this for about five years. Thank you B&D

I had been praying for some time for God to help my marriage. For Big D and I to become closer and be spiritually connected. Boy did he deliver. Going to Church, receiving the Sacraments, using NFP, becoming Marriage facilitators. We invited him into our marriage and he did not hesitate to fix it. Big D and I look at each other and life in a whole new way. We see our marriage as a blessed sacrament, our children as the fruits of that sacrament. Big D became a new man. I look up to him. He joined the Knights, became a Eucharistic Minister, and a lector. He became a man who stands up for what is right no matter the opposition. This is something I struggle with, so to have his example is very valuable to me. Thank you Big D for coming on this journey with me. Together we will hold each other up.

Sometimes people ask me what our secret is. There is no secret. God does not want us going through this life confused and constantly pondering life. Life is about loving one another and loving God. Seek the truth, it is not hard to find. Care for your family and neighbors. No secret, invite God into your lives.

I have thanked a few people throughout this writing; I am sure there are many more who God has put in my path. I can only hope that in some small way I have given back to these people, and to everyone I have come in contact with. You don’t have to do great things to be recognized by God. Your example, and the little things you do can set that person on the path to God. My journey is by no means over. I have just started. I am always learning something new. As of now I have no idea in what direction God is leading me. What I do know is if I put my trust in him he will never lead me astray. I thank everyone again, and I thank all of you who took the time to read my story.



Dominic said...

Awesome story!

Soul Pockets said...

Thank you

Christine said...

OOOOHHHH....I just found your blog! I love it.

Great story. I will try to read more!

Joyful Days said...

I read all four chapters. This was very wonderful and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing it.