I found out later that day that it also gave me a new conscience. A few of the girls at the bible school were behaving badly and wanted me to join in. Now I could hear the Spirit speak to me (inside my head), warning me that what they were doing was grieving God. I could refuse to join in and it didn't matter so much to me if they didn't like it or made fun of me because I felt the pleasure and comfort of the Spirit living inside me. He was pleased with me and so they didn't matter as much. From this point on in my life I would always feel the Spirit in this manner, He never left me (except for a brief two month testing period as an adult, which was truly a dark night of the soul for me, I never realized how much I depended on Him until I went through a period where I could no longer feel Him, it was agonizing). The Spirit would open up passages in the bible for me. I found it a joy to read and study the bible because the Holy Spirit would expand upon what I was reading, teaching me to view things from God's eternal perspective. I'm ashamed to say there were times when I would try to tune Him out, especially if I was purposely sinning and doing something I knew was wrong. It was in those times that I was "grieving" the Spirit of God, I could tell He was saddened by what I was doing and I would eventually repent and ask God for forgiveness, make any reparations I needed to make and move on. Granted, I wasn't Catholic at this time so I couldn't go to confession. How I would have liked to have had that sacrament when growing up! I think it would have kept me from sinning more, if for no other reason than to have to confess it to another person. In those times I prayed to God and asked Him to grant me His grace to help me overcome my weaknesses. In His abundant mercy He granted my request. Another example of how God is not bound by His sacraments (my life, in particular, seems to be full of them, God is good)! Many catholics do not realize what a treasure they have in the sacrament of reconciliation. That is the avenue God has chosen to pour these types of graces out on His people, if they would only humble themselves to receive them! The beginnings of wisdom is knowing that you are not God and that you cannot do everything on your own, that you need Him. All of us are born with tendencies to sin, some are harder to overcome than others. His grace is sufficient, His power made perfect in our weaknesses, for that is where we are able to radiate His glory the brightest. Others in our life are perfectly aware of our failings and when we use Jesus' power to overcome we bring glory and honor to God.
While we attended there I wondered if taking communion every week would lessen some of the specialness of it. Maybe I only craved it because I previously had only received it four times a year. But my draw to the Lord's supper did not lessen, in fact it seemed to become stronger the more often I partook of it at that church. I attended Mass for three years before being received into the Catholic Church. One of the hardest things about the wait was to be in the Lord's presence but not be allowed to receive His Holy communion. Through His presence at Mass I received the grace to endure the separation, but it was bittersweet at times. One of my greatest joys was to be able to finally, finally receive my Lord in the bread and wine at Easter Vigil. It seemed like I had come full circle to the time I first received the Lord's supper as a 13 year old youth. I finally physically received my Savior as I had spiritually received Him so many years before.
|My awesome sponsor Ann (holding 6 week old Toddler Boy)|
and me after Easter Vigil Mass 2011 when I joined the Church
I'm getting a bit ahead of myself in the story, in my next installment I'll write about what first opened my eyes to the Catholic faith and what brought me to step foot into what was to become my new Catholic home ten years before converting...
Conversion Story - Part 3 (NFP)
Read Part 1 here