OH COME, OH COME EMMANUEL…BLESSED ADVENT AND SOME NEWS

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...
emblem of the Papacy: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7 years ago, I returned to the Catholic Church after 35 years away. Most of those years have been wonderful, but there have been a couple distinct times where, due to either hurt, theological confusion or differences, or a combination of the above, that I found myself gravitating to more of an Anglican or Episcopal view.

Episcopal is very, very close to Catholic, but yet with far more lee-way on deciding what one personally believes.  Or doesn’t. I think that, more than anything, has been the appeal each time, as it has seemed a “safe” place to land while sorting things out. Yet, at the end, I find myself back to Rome. And in both cases, the situation resolved within a few months and I was back. So with now. And again this is the case.

I will not even attempt at this point to become theological about it–I just know Roman Catholicism is where I need to be, both for now and the future. Friday I went to the sacrament of Reconciliation and have started out this Advent Sunday fully on board with the Roman Catholic Church.

I am not naïve enough to suggest I will never struggle again, but I pray that, next time, I will not react by leaving. After 3 times (counting my original return in 2005) I think I perhaps have at least learned that much.  And I therefore do not believe I will (I say that by God’s grace not mine, believe me).

But to all of you who prayed for me, or even criticized me, or some of both, I owe thanks. I am grateful you cared enough to react, even if I did not particularly like your reactions at times.

And I think you will find this webpage again looks far more like “Catholicboyrichard” and not “half-assed/confused/compromising/nearlycatholicboyrichard” (which is far too long to type out each time anyway hehe!). And for that I am humbled and grateful.

At Mass today I was surprised not to hear the most traditional of all Advent carols, so I am placing an absolutely stunning YouTube copy of it (Aled Jones) here for all of us to enjoy. Now indeed the Lord can come for me. If I die tonight it will be in His Grace, and in the Church He has chosen for me.

May that be true for each of us. God bless, and it is good to be back.

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29 Replies to “OH COME, OH COME EMMANUEL…BLESSED ADVENT AND SOME NEWS”

  1. Oh my goodness am I ever late to the party… but now my blog feed is complete again 🙂 Missed your writing when the blog vanished and am so glad that you’re back. May you have a blessed Triduum and Easter season!!

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      1. I tend to follow a lot of blogs and regularly get overwhelmed with how far behind I am in my reader, so I’ll go through and weed out blogs that post too frequently for me to keep up or blogs that post infrequently… I did a big purge sometime after elections last year and I had noticed that yours hadn’t updated in awhile and I tried linking to it and it was either blocked or changed (don’t recall which!), so I just removed it. I had a chance this morning to catch up on blogs and another one I was reading had your blog award on it for the rosary post and I was happily surprised to see it up and running again!

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  4. Heey Richard,

    You are back! That’s great!! Both about being in the Church again as your website. 🙂
    Welcome back! I have been praying for you. 🙂

    When one time I wanted to visit you blog and found it deleted I was kinda shocked. Then I googled you and found you on facebook. But from what I read there your search for the truth was sincere. And I think that is great! And I think it is also something God likes to see in us.
    Hope you found your peace.

    Well, I will add your website to my favorites again then… 🙂

    Maithe

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  5. I do believe the Internet allows most of us to be braver than we would otherwise be. Nonetheless, I do think you are courageous!

    Many moons ago, when we moved to UT, I knew it was imperative to find a church for my children to be involved with. Not being raised in a church, per se, I needed moral support to even walk through the doors of any church. Thus, it took me six months to convince my husband WE needed to go to church. He went a couple of times, then I was okay with going alone. Eventually, I met other “single” mothers from my daughter’s class who just happened to go to the same church. 🙂 Now, after so many years of studying religion, I will walk into most any Christian denomination alone. Haven’t quite worked up the courage to attend a Jewish temple alone, nor would I dare go to a Muslim mosque without my Muslim friend “holding my hand.”

    My mom was aware of my fascination with the Catholic church but cautioned me to not attend Mass without a Catholic friend to guide me. Now, I feel no qualms about going alone. I, generally, sit in the back and, most times, stay seated during Communion. Depending on the priest and how I am feeling, I might go up to be blessed. This is all part of MY spiritual journey. I do get why you love the Catholic church — it is in your blood. For me, it is the pomp and symbolism that we don’t get in Protestant churches. But, after my fill of that pomp, I go “home” to my Methodist church. 🙂

    As for us not always agreeing — you know, Richard, my husband and I have been married for 33 years. Spouses, family, friends aren’t expected to always agree. My husband and I have canceled each others’ votes more than once and we still manage to live in the same house!

    Would you please check out this link and tell me what you think? Maybe blog about it???
    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/reparative-therapy-on-trial?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2012-12-4%2023:45:01

    Thanks! For your blog, for answering my questions, for being my “friend”, even if it is just an internet friendship.

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    1. Hi and certainly you are correct about us not all agreeing, even on major issues, but much of what we are called to do is genuinely look for and find common ground I think. As to Chris Kluwe my admiration for him has not changed. But, even if the opportunity were there, my commitment to celibacy has been intact for many years now and I realize it can never change, and that is okay with me.

      As to your link, I will just briefly say I have strong questions about reparative therapy. One thing the Catholic Church has never done is pushed it upon those of us who are LGBT/SSA. I do have concerns when parents push it upon their children who are minors though, as it is not a recognized therapy as such, and more often than not does not work in the long run. Then, when the person “fails” as most of us will do, the discouragement level can become drastic, and even suicidal. Therapy leading to suicide is not therapy in my opinion. And that is a perfect example of agreeing with Church teaching on homosexuality without neccesarily agreeing with methods that some in the hierarchy may suggest to deal with the issue. I am allowed to disagree with that, and in this case I do. Strongly. Celibacy is one thing–attempting to change other parts of my ingrained personality leaves me cold very frankly. And I did blog on this awhile back…if I locate it I will let you know, but I do believe it is somewhere on this site. Thanks again!

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  6. Well, I’m delighted you’re back! You were in my prayers as an Anglican and you’ll still be in them!!

    Your struggles with how best to follow God are not unusual, but what happens unseen everyday in many parishes takes on a starkness when it’s articulated in the public light of a blog. Thank you for letting us see these struggles and may God bless you.

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  7. Richard — Please take my comment in the lighthearted manner it is meant. You make me laugh! Reading your posts about your spiritual journey, back and forth, to and fro, I am thankful my journey has never been so complicated. I wish you could see my facial expressions and hear the inflections in my voice when I say, “Just make a decision. It’s easy. Yes or No.” It is what I have said to my children, and now my grandchildren, when they shrug their shoulders to a question and say, “I don’t know.” I have never been one who could not make a decision. In fact, people — friends — who cannot make a decision drive me crazy. But, I LOVE them, anyway!!!

    My prayers are always with you as you walk this journey with Christ. He really doesn’t care which denomination, if any, you find yourself migrating to. He loves all of us, no matter what! And, just so you know, Charles Wesley, John’s brother, wrote about 3,000 hymns, more than any other person. Look in your Catholic hymnal and count how many Methodist hymns you find!!! Just sayin’!

    BTW, here’s the latest letter from Bishop Wester: http://www.icatholic.org/article/bishop-wester-advent-is-a-time-to-pray-ponder-and-6764902 I have learned more about Advent from his letters to the SL Diocese over the past few years than I have ever known before. Who knew this is the Advent season, not the Christmas season?? Oh yeah, Catholics probably know that!!!

    Wishing you much peace and tranquility during this Advent season of preparation and pondering. Enjoy your return to the Roman Catholic Church during this holy time of year!

    ~~Dayna

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    1. Well Dayna I am surprised at your reaction actually. Not mad or offended just surprised. You of all people know what it is like to “switch sides” and must realize the apprehension I had in posting that, yet again, I was “back” with the Catholic Church fully. You have shared that you at times have belonged to other groups who judged you when you left, or even questioned your Faith. I know you are not doing that with me, but you are also suggesting that I do what is not within me to do–and that is to just “make a decision” and be done with it. And that is precisely what I cannot do. I have to have sorted things through, and even then re-sort sometimes. The real issue is that I left prematurely, and you might recall that I mentioned a number of times over the last few months how much I missed many aspects of my walk with Rome. So in reality I think that the decision made, based largely upon personal hurt, was not as unbiased as I would have liked it to be. It is not that I particularly enjoy knowing people are chuckling at me not being able to make up my mind at times. To me it does matter–greatly–where I worship. That is where you and I will need to agree to disageee I think. Thanks for your input as always.

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      1. And, that is precisely why I wanted to be in the same room with you when I said what I said. I knew by writing, without you being able to see my facial expressions or hearing the inflections in my voice, it might be misinterpreted. I am not judging you, Richard. Reading your wonderful blog, and trying to understand the shoes you walk in, I knew it was just a matter of time before you returned to your beloved Catholic Church. That is where your heart is. Frankly, I was surprised when you left and began attending the Episcopal church. Your heart is in Rome not Canterbury (do I have the correct city?).

        I guess my point about making decisions is that it may take me awhile to finally make a decision — like leaving an Evangelical Bible study — but once I have made that decision, I am comfortable with it and it is, generally, final. As for friends, and children, who cannot make a decision for the life of them, I absolutely LOVE them, even if they can’t decide what to order off a menu and think they have to order the same thing I do. ;).

        One of the many things I do admire about you, Richard, is your ability to feel comfortable enough in different churches to give them a try. So many of us stick with something, when we know we need to change, because the old is within our comfort zone when trying the new means scary change. You are not afraid of change! I admire that.

        I, for one, am very happy your blog is back! I have missed it, and you. And, yes, there will be things we won’t agree on. Like your right to marry the man of your dreams! Although, I think Chris Kluwe is already married. 😉

        Speaking of your beloved Catholic Church — it is 6 a.m., time for EWTN Mass! See, I am also fascinated with the Catholic Church, even when there are times I would like to reach through the TV screen and give the priest a good hard shake or slap up the side if the head. 🙂

        I do have one request — now that you have returned to the Catholic Church, please continue to allow your sense of humor shine through as you did as an Episcopal.

        Have a very blessed day, Richard!

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      2. Not a problem, but one thing and again its the online and not face-to-face thing probably, I am more of a chicken than you may think in this. I tell people what is going on to keep them abreast, but inside I can be filled with as I said apprehension on certain levels. But I do realize we are all different in these ways. Hope you are enjoying EWTN Mass, if I miss Mass I often watch it too. Take care!

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  8. Richard, I hope that I did not hurt you with any of my previous words to you, my brother and friend in Christ. Perhaps at times I was even too timid in speaking for the Catholic faith, but I knew that you were hurting and struggling, and I did not want to drive you away still more. I am truly sorry if I ever did hurt you, even unintentionally. Welcome back Home to the Church. God bless you. Pax Christi!

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    1. Christopher not at all, i needed space more than preaching. And i do not think I was totally wrong, I was indeed wrong in the ways I dealt with parts of things, and took it farther than I should have. I own that. But I also know the ones who “beat up” on me, however well intentioned, were not being as helpful as those who just prayed and cared. And I always knew you did and do. God bless.

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  9. Richard, I hope that I did not hurt you with any of my previous words to you, my brother and friend in Christ. Perhaps at times I was even too timid in speaking for the Catholic faith, but I knew that you were hurting and struggling, and I did not want to drive you away still more. I am truly sorry if I ever did hurt you, even unintentionally. Welcome back Home to the Church. God bless you. Pax Christi!

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  10. I’ve been praying for you over the last few months (and will continue to do so). Though not a Roman Catholic myself, I’ve been glad to know you as a brother in Christ. I wish you well!

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    1. The issue is far less Roman Catholic or not but being where God calls you to be. And I think you knew I was fighting hurts inside more than theology. I thank you so much for your prayers and being a brother in our Lord who we have in common. Thanks.

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