Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent 2016


 Once again the Church grants us much grace in this time of year to pray, fast and give alms to the poor as a way to grow closer to Jesus.  I am granted the opportunity to cast off the chains of sin as well as the effects of sin on my life and enter into a time of prayer and fasting (not just from food.)  The sacrament of Confession is offered more frequently in Lent as the Church does all it can to lead the faithful closer to Jesus. How much closer can we get to the Lord, than identifying with his forty days of fasting and prayer in the desert?
   In my life as a protestant Christian, we sometimes felt that "Jesus did it all" and therefore fasting and penance were not essential in our lives. As I watched my Lutheran in-laws giving up sweets during Lent, I was thinking how useless this practice was at the time. With time and conversion I see they were right all along and I regret my pride and arrogance now.  The older I get, the more I realize how much I need Lent every year and am truly thankful for the grace this season brings us to more closely identify with the Lord and ultimately be transformed. "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Vain Repetition?

I often am frustrated at those who condemn Catholics for the rosary saying that it is "vain repetition."
Even as a Protestant Christian the repetition of worship choruses and praise sessions often struck me as repetitious.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Steve King R-IA Walks Out of the SOTHU Address

This congressman took a stand for the unborn last night. During the State of the Union Address  Catholic convert and republican congressman, Steve King , left his seat empty to go pray for the nine million lives lost to abortion during Obama's terms as president.
   May God grant us more political leaders willing to stand up for truth and life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Catholicism vs Protestantism Philosophy of Life

My wife, also a convert, wrote this after contemplating how her view of life changed as a Catholic. 


   Protestantism - Earthly life is painful and quickly passing away.  People are wretched and sinful.  But I have God to help me get through until I die, at which time I will go directly to heaven and never have any connection to this dreadful existence again.

    Catholicism - Earthly life, though at times painful is always filled with goodness and beauty because God created it and is in the midst of it.  People are created in the image of God and therefore have the potential for infinite goodness.  As we walk through this life with God we cooperate with Him by offering up our pain and giving thanks always and everywhere until the day we die; at which time we hope to spend eternity with Him, always connected to those we love in heaven and on earth.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Eucharist and Christmas


                                    (our manger before Christmas sans the baby Jesus)

                                         

                                        This is a little play I wrote a few years ago.


ACT I

The setting: A stable outside the forgotten little town of Bethlehem (House of Bread*). Shepherds and their families and kings from the east as well as a few other curious onlookers stare at a newborn wrapped in coarse linen in a feeding trough for animals. A bright star overhead illuminates the otherwise dark night.
Shepherd boy, while yawning, says to his father: “Just looks like a baby boy to me, can’t we go home now? I'm cold!”
Father to boy: “ Thomas, the angels in the field said something about a Savior. Let’s just stay awhile.”
Boy: How could a Savior and King look and.... yecch!… smell like a little baby? He looks just like any other baby to me!”
King from the Orient, kneeling before the makeshift crib says with a whisper: “Shhh, don’t you know the ancient prophecies? God would come to us, to live among us, through a virgin’s womb.
Balthasar looking at the Child then raising his eyes to heaven says: The God of Israel has chosen this night to redeem us. Our Savior and King has come to us as a little child.

ACT II

33 years later.

Setting: Jerusalem at Passover. The city is buzzing with the noise of pilgrims and bristling under the Roman occupation.
At the meal of the Passover, Jesus surrounded by his companions prays the blessing. As he breaks the bread he stretches out his hand holding the bread saying:
“Take this and eat. This is my body….”
One of the twelve disciples leans over to another and says under his breath;
“How can this be? It looks just like any other piece of bread to me? How can He give us His body to eat?
The disciple whom Jesus loved said to him: "Thomas, don't you remember last year when he told us He would give us his body to eat and His blood to drink?
Then as supper was ended, Jesus took the cup and gave it to his disciples saying:
"This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many…"

THE END

Just as Christ came to us in the improbable form of a human baby, He continues to abide with us in the equally preposterous “breaking of the bread.” God chose the common things of this world to reveal Himself. First, a baby born in Bethlehem and then bread and common table wine. As we approach the Lord’s Table at Midnight Mass this Christmas Eve, our mind says, it just looks like a piece of bread but our heart says, "Jesus, bread of life, you have come to abide with me this night."


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Catholics Are Praying People!

A few years ago I posted my plans to make a homemade prie deu, which is a kneeler. Catholics understand the importance of physical gestures in their worship once again illustrating the incarnational principle that God uses the physical things of earth to lead us to the things of heaven, even our liturgical gestures of kneeling and genuflection, applying the sign of the cross etc. One of my many humbling experiences as a new Catholic was discovering I could not pray an entire rosary on my knees! I learned quickly that many Catholics much older and "out of shape" than I could pray the entire rosary , which takes about 17-20 minutes on their knees. I had back spasms, knee pain, whatever. Over time, however, it became easier for me to kneel and in especially mass during the Eucharistic prayer I have no problem anymore maintaining that posture of kneeling. Pity the Haitians and others in the third world without the cushioned kneelers that us soft "first worlders" demand!
    So I decided to build a kneeler for my prayer room at home. I searched the internet and found kits and plans but the costs were high so I decided to improvise my own. I later posted the plans on this post. Over the years, that blog post has gotten daily hits far in excess of my other blog posts. My not so scientific conclusion is that Catholics are indeed, praying people!

                                            


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Advent!

Today we celebrate the New Year in the Catholic faith. We prayerfully await the coming of the Lord in a two-fold way-not only celebrating His incarnation, but also anticipating His final return .
Let's ask for His grace to open our hearts once again to "prepare him room."  Traditionally, Advent is a period of prayer and fasting not unlike , Lent. Once again the Church encourages the faithful to draw closer to God, especially at a time of year when the world looks anywhere but to heaven,

Oh, as an aside, here's a little tune for you to enjoy:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Only Pet Peeve With Being Catholic: Confession Eavesdroppers


This is an unusual moment on this blog. I am actually going to write something negative regarding the Church. For the past nine years I have blogged about the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as seen from the eyes of an evangelical Protestant ("Born Again" non-denominational Christian) who returned to the Catholic faith.
   Today I'm going to right about a pet-peeve that I have had for years. It's actually not about the Church or the faith, but about Catholics. So here goes....
    I love  the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is also know as Confession. It is a beautiful sacrament (as they all are) in which we encounter Jesus and experience the cleansing action of his blood poured out for our sins. Yes he was crucified and died only once, but that forgiveness provided on the cross extends throughout eternity and we avail ourselves of it through the priest who has received the authority to forgive sins from Jesus himself!  We walk into the confessional burdened and sin-sick, and walk out freed and healed. Not only do we experience a restoration of our relationship with the Lord, but are given grace through the sacrament to go out and sin no more!  How great is that?
    My pet-peeve is the circumstances that often surround receiving this wonderful sacrament of grace.
In my diocese, I have the advantage of multiple parishes within a short driving distance and I like going to different churches each time. I am ashamed of my sinfulness and stupid thoughts and actions and I feel more comfortable confessing anonymously to priests who don't know me. Since I go about every two or three weeks, I visit a lot of different Catholic churches in my diocese.  Several times I have noted that a person parks themselves directly in front of the confessional. In a completely empty church, the person literally sits in the pew in front of the confessional throughout confession! They themselves usually aren't going to confession so I wonder why they choose to use that spot to pray especially since the evening mass could be some forty- five minutes later?
   I am anxious enough going to confession, but to think that someone is eavesdropping on the confessional is truly disturbing to me.  What else would be the reason to sit in front of the confessional when the entire sanctuary is completely empty? I suspect these are disturbed folks and I need to have more grace for them, but it sure makes confession more anxiety provoking then it needs to be. Some parishes will have a sign that asks people to respect the privacy of the penitient and stand away from the confessional but most do not. When I have been standing in line for confession at times I have unintentionally overheard a loud penitent or demonstrative priest giving advice and I literally plug my ears, or move further to the back of the line. Therefore, I know that people directly in front of the confessional can clearly hear what's being confessed!
   So, pray for me that I will have more grace and patience for my unusual fellow Christians who need to be frustratingly close to the confessional during the Sacrament and pray for those who feel the need to do it. All of that rant now being said, I will continue to avail myself of the Sacrament of Forgiveness as often as I can in the hopes of growing closer to God here on earth and someday seeing him face to face healed of my sin-sickened soul and body.

"Ask Jesus to make you a Saint. After all, only He can do that. Go to confession regularly and to Communion as often as you can." 

- St. Dominic Savio


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Synod and the Sky is Falling



I am becoming fatigued by the number of Catholics who are fearing that the Church will collapse over the recent synod on the family. Conspiracy theories abound regarding "agendas" and "take-overs." The Church has been through a lot worse times than this. Chicken Little had nothing over these arm-chair blogger/theologians.
    I wonder if there were observers at the time of the Council of Nicea (where the entire Church almost split on a not so small matter of whether Jesus was truly God) proclaiming doom and predicting the death knell for the Church? Were folks second-guessing the pope, the bishops and the work of the Holy Spirit? Were they ready to pack it in and join the Montanists who felt they knew what God was saying by manner of prophecy and personal interpretation of scripture?
     During WWII, Heinrich Himmler, the chief of Adolph Hitler's security services threatened the Archbishop of Berlin, Cardinal Konrad Graf, with plans to crush the Catholic Church. Cardinal Graf listened politely and then responded:  "Well, good luck. We've been trying to do that for 2,000 years, and [the Church is] still here."
    My conclusion is we should stop the nay-saying and back-seat driving, divisive gossip, criticism of the pope and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and allow the Holy Spirit to do what he does best. Like we used to say when I was a protestant " Just trust and obey for there is no other way..."

Sunday, October 04, 2015

"So Disappointed With This Pope"

A calvinist pastor/blogger recently made the above statement because he believes Pope Francis wasted an opportunity to preach the gospel at the U.N. and  US Congress during his mission trip here.
     First one would have to discern which gospel the blogger is talking about? The full gospel as taught by Holy Scripture and the Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith or the truncated version of the gospel that developed in the past 500 years based on a tortured personal interpretation of scripture.
    Secondly, if one couldn't see the gospel preached in every moment, every word, every gesture, every prayer, and every blessing given by this successor of Saint Peter, I believe that individual refuses to see or hear.


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