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The Short Version (the Way International convert)
Coming Home Network ^ | Nov 22nd, 2006 | Aaron

Posted on 05/05/2008 2:22:52 PM PDT by annalex

 

The short version:

 

I was one who ignored God for some time after leaving The Way.  When I got married I decided to join my wife’s church—Presbyterian.  At the time I didn’t know or care what the Presbyterian Church taught or believed.  It was a little weird sitting in a church with wooden pews that had stained glass windows.

 

Our first child came into our lives and I decided that we needed to find a church and raise our children as Christians.  But this meant we needed to start living as Christians as well.  I had never lost the desire to know and love God, I simply ignored my heavenly Father for a period in my life.

 

I started church shopping.  Because I was raised in a “non-denominational” setting, I decided to openly investigate the various denominations in Christianity to see what I was getting into.  Because of my past, I was a skeptic towards church authorities.

 

I ended up at a Baptist church and I felt more comfortable here than I did at my Presbyterian church.  The Baptist organization was closer to “The Way” model I thought.  I moved to a different city and had to leave my Baptist church.  I ended up at a Lutheran church of all places and I really enjoyed it.  After all, I was into Jesus and fellowshipping with other Christians, but I thought Lutherans were leaning a little too Catholic.

 

A good friend of mine asked me one day if I had ever heard of “The Eucharist.”  I had not.  Saint John chapter 6, plus Communion was never taught to me.  I was blown away by what Catholic’s were taught regarding this.  I started an intense 2 year study of church history, the reformation, the sacraments, the early church fathers, a Pope here a Saint there, and all that comes with Catholicism.  I consumed Apologetics books like crazy (on both sides—Protestant and Catholic).  Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, EWTN , Relevant Radio, Father Corapi, and the list goes on and on.  I remember one late night watching EWTN and this guy came on and started preaching like a Southern Baptist—in your face truth.  I thought “who is this guy with a Roman collar?”  It was Father Corapi.  I was hooked.  Man can he preach!  I looked him up on the internet and I could not believe he was coming live to my city.  It was as if God gave me a gift to nudge me onward.

 

Most importantly, the teachings of the Catholic Church are—BIBLICAL!  I had so many prejudices and misconceptions and falsities to forge through.  I reached the point were I had felt left out.  I desired the two things the Israelites squabbled over in the Old Testament—Authority and Food.  I found both in the Catholic Church.  I am in awe at every Mass to this day!

 

I reached a point were I needed the Eucharist; I needed ALL of the Sacraments; I needed the deposit of faith and fullness of truth.  I had to come home to the Catholic Church (I say come home because as it turns out—when I was an infant, my mother had me Baptized Catholic!  I cried when I received my Baptismal papers—I never knew).

 

I reached a point in my journey where I was actually evangelizing other Catholics.  A few don’t know or don’t live their faith well enough in my humble opinion.  I was attending Mass, but not receiving our Lord’s body and blood.   It drove me crazy—especially watching a few other Christians take Holy Communion in such a cavalier way.  I often wondered why the Confessional lines were so small, but the Communion lines so large.

 

I was going to skip RCIA and get right to it but I had one problem—my wife.  I wont go into her journey here but I will say one simple thanks and praise to our most beautiful, loving, and example to all of Christianity—Mary.

 

I decided to wait for Confirmation and complete RCIA because my wife agreed to at least “look into things.”  I was willing to give her the time she needed to absorb everything.  RCIA was great!  I am so thankful I didn’t skip it and my wife joined me this last Easter (2006) for our first Confession, Confirmation, and Communion.  I should say, we were even blown away that to Catholics, marriage is more than a social contract, it’s a beautiful Sacrament.  So we were re-married into the Church prior to Easter.

 

Now being open to life and God’s plan rather than our own, we have our third child due in January.

 

That is the short version of my journey home.

 

Take care, God bless, and keep up the good fight.

 

Aaron



TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 05/05/2008 2:22:52 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; CTK YKC; dan1123; DogwoodSouth; FourtySeven; HarleyD; ...
Tonight's guest on the Journey Home is Stephen Budd, Former Baptist Evangelical.

LINK

50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration ping, dedicated to converts to the Catholic faith. If you want to be on the list but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

Alex.


Previously posted conversion stories:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Hauled Aboard the Ark
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation
The Crisis of Authority in the Reformation
Our Journey Home
Our Lady’s Gentle Call to Peace
A story of conversion at the Lamb of God Shrine
Who is Mary of Nazareth?
Mary and the Problem of Christian Unity
Why I'm Catholic
A Convert's Response to Friends
My Story
Courage to Be Catholic
Finally Catholic! My Conversion to the Catholic Church
Southern Baptist Pastor Leaves Everything for the Eucharist

Also see:
Sheep That Go Astray
Pope Benedict Goes to Washington Ecumenical Meeting at St. Joseph's Church, New York
Orthodox and Catholic Churches are allies, (Orthodox) Bishop Hilarion says

2 posted on 05/05/2008 2:26:00 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

A converted Lutheran here. Pinging for a read tomorrow.


3 posted on 05/05/2008 2:28:26 PM PDT by ladtx ( "Never miss a good chance to shut up." - - Will Rogers)
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To: ladtx

Welcome home. God bless.


4 posted on 05/05/2008 2:29:10 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

What a wanderer. At least he’s into a trinitarian church now.


5 posted on 05/05/2008 3:15:04 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("Think of it as...an eschatological intrusion." BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM!! BOOOM!!)
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To: Lee N. Field

Looks like he tried every major trinitarian denomination except Methodist, too.


6 posted on 05/05/2008 3:23:11 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
I desired the two things the Israelites squabbled over in the Old Testament—Authority and Food. I found both in the Catholic Church.

I like this observation very much.

7 posted on 05/05/2008 3:55:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Curtis Blackwood for State Rep! Jeff Gerber for County Commissioner! Vote early and often!)
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To: Tax-chick
This entire piece brings a smile to my face each time I re-read it. A high-brow treatise it is not, but it touches the heart.

my mother had me Baptized Catholic

There is no other way, really. One is either baptized Catholic or not baptized at all. "We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins". Still, it is intriguing how his mother baptized him in a Catholic Church. So, who got him into the Way?

8 posted on 05/05/2008 4:06:36 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Good point about baptism. Maybe the “long version” of his story explains what “The Way” is and how he became involved.

I liked his comments about Father Corapi. I feel the same way - I could listen to him forever.


9 posted on 05/05/2008 4:22:33 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Curtis Blackwood for State Rep! Jeff Gerber for County Commissioner! Vote early and often!)
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To: annalex

I love this part:

“I reached a point in my journey where I was actually evangelizing other Catholics. A few don’t know or don’t live their faith well enough in my humble opinion. I was attending Mass, but not receiving our Lord’s body and blood. It drove me crazy—especially watching a few other Christians take Holy Communion in such a cavalier way. I often wondered why the Confessional lines were so small, but the Communion lines so large.”

Reminds me that we Orthodox aren’t the only ones plagued with “Oh So Very Holy Converts!” :) This character seems to have a full blown case of crazy convert disease. Luckily most of them straighten out...or move on to find holier people.


10 posted on 05/05/2008 4:46:03 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: Tax-chick
The Way International is a religious organization founded by Victor Paul Wierwille. It claims a founding date of 1942, the year Wierwille began his Vesper Chimes radio program, a.k.a. the Chimes Hour Youth Caravan. The Way describes itself as a Christian biblical research, teaching and fellowship ministry that teaches others how to understand the Bible and operate the "9 manifestations of holy spirit". Critics accuse the group of being a cult; some point out inconsistencies between The Way's doctrines and orthodox Christianity. This group is non-trinitarian and believes Jesus Christ is the savior and the Son of God, but not God Himself.

Wiki

One way to NOT baptize your children...

11 posted on 05/05/2008 5:04:11 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Kolokotronis

I hear you.

Bear in mind, however, that the Protestants largely leave the Orthodox alone, while we Catholics receive a lot of attention and tensions run high in both direction.


12 posted on 05/05/2008 5:07:26 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Please take me off your ping list. Your arrogance and ill towards other Christian repulses me. I’ll pray for you to be delivered from such.


13 posted on 05/05/2008 5:15:35 PM PDT by Always Right (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
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To: Always Right

You are off and prayed for. Thank you for your prayers. Where do you see ill will on my part?


14 posted on 05/05/2008 5:34:18 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Okay, thanks. There sure is a lot of different stuff out there.


15 posted on 05/05/2008 5:38:32 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Curtis Blackwood for State Rep! Jeff Gerber for County Commissioner! Vote early and often!)
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To: NYer

Catholic ping


16 posted on 05/05/2008 5:53:31 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
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To: annalex
The posting kind of reminds me of a couple threads from last year sometime. One where EWTN was crowing that they'd roped themselves a Calvinist. Come to find out, with a little bit of Google-ing, that this individual had been lots of different things -- Mason, Episcopagan, and I don't remember what-all else. In the other, the guy had left the Church of Rome, and spent decades being a preacher in (IIRC) various different, progressively more dubious varieties of American protestantism, from fundamental baptist, to Adventist, to some really deep end stuff Penecostalist sect .

It's not healthy to wander that much in one lifetime.

17 posted on 05/05/2008 6:26:22 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("Think of it as...an eschatological intrusion." BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM!! BOOOM!!)
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To: Lee N. Field

Chapter 1. He Proclaims the Greatness of God, Whom He Desires to Seek and Invoke, Being Awakened by Him.

1. Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and of Your wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Your creation, desires to praise You, man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou resistest the proud, — yet man, this part of Your creation, desires to praise You. Thou movest us to delight in praising You; for You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You. Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first, to call on You, or to praise You; and likewise to know You, or to call upon You. But who is there that calls upon You without knowing You? For he that knows You not may call upon You as other than You are. Or perhaps we call on You that we may know You. But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? Romans 10:14 And those who seek the Lord shall praise Him. For those who seek shall find Him, Matthew 7:7 and those who find Him shall praise Him. Let me seek You, Lord, in calling on You, and call on You in believing in You; for You have been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on You,— that faith which You have imparted to me, which You have breathed into me through the incarnation of Your Son, through the ministry of Your preacher.

Chapter 2. That the God Whom We Invoke is in Us, and We in Him.

2. And how shall I call upon my God— my God and my Lord? For when I call on Him I ask Him to come into me. And what place is there in me into which my God can come— into which God can come, even He who made heaven and earth? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that can contain You? Do indeed the very heaven and the earth, which You have made, and in which You have made me, contain You? Or, as nothing could exist without You, does whatever exists contain You? Why, then, do I ask You to come into me, since I indeed exist, and could not exist if You were not in me? Because I am not yet in hell, though You are even there; for if I go down into hell You are there. I could not therefore exist, could not exist at all, O my God, unless You were in me. Or should I not rather say, that I could not exist unless I were in You from whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Romans 11:36 Even so, Lord; even so. Where do I call You to, since You are in me, or whence canst Thou come into me? For where outside heaven and earth can I go that from thence my God may come into me who has said, I fill heaven and earth? Jeremiah 23:24

The Confessions (Book I)


18 posted on 05/05/2008 6:51:08 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

Good point. I suspect, though, that the individuals I was thinking about aren’t anywhere near as deep and reflective as Augustine.


19 posted on 05/05/2008 7:20:22 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("Think of it as...an eschatological intrusion." BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM!! BOOOM!!)
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To: annalex

Sounds a bit like the ‘Donut Man’ who bounced from group to group. In neither case is it likely that the current stop will be the last.


20 posted on 05/05/2008 8:24:19 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: annalex

“Bear in mind, however, that the Protestants largely leave the Orthodox alone,...”

They can’t find us. We’re hidden behind all that incense!


21 posted on 05/06/2008 4:15:41 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: Kolokotronis

You make it sound like the inky cloud a squid emits. Poof!, and the Orthodox have fled to safety in the haze.


22 posted on 05/06/2008 5:23:15 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ("Think of it as...an eschatological intrusion." BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM!! BOOOM!!)
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To: Lee N. Field; annalex

“You make it sound like the inky cloud a squid emits.”

Great analogy! :)

“Poof!, and the Orthodox have fled to safety in the haze.”

In a sense, yes. This past Great Lent, as I have for many years, I spent Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings inside the altar in a rasos swinging the thurible and chanting, mostly in Greek but some in English during the pre-sanctified Liturgies and the Akathists to the Most Holy Theotokos. It was a wonderful place to be, LNF, off the time line, where earth meets heaven, my chanting joined with that of the angels and the saints and our prayers rising like incense before God as an evening sacrifice. A very safe place to be, LNF, one my people have remained in for about 1800 years.


23 posted on 05/06/2008 6:28:45 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: Kolokotronis
where earth meets heaven

That's part, if I understand it correctly, of the Reformed understanding of worship. (Doing reading in that lately, being not as well taught as I would like to be and surrounded by generic evangelicalism and it's "if it feels good do it" attitude for many years.)

24 posted on 05/06/2008 10:38:31 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ("Think of it as...an eschatological intrusion." BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM!! BOOOM!!)
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To: Lee N. Field

St. Augustine did not make his comment on spiritual restlessness just about himself.


25 posted on 05/06/2008 1:18:44 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Lee N. Field; Kolokotronis

Tsk, tsk. Christ will come on a cloud, too.


26 posted on 05/06/2008 1:19:54 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Lee N. Field; Kolokotronis
where earth meets heaven

That's almost word-for-word how my favorite priest describes the Mass.

27 posted on 05/06/2008 1:22:45 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Kolokotronis

That’s beautiful.


28 posted on 05/06/2008 1:26:48 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: Kolokotronis

Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux


29 posted on 05/06/2008 2:33:12 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Lee N. Field
K: "...where earth meets heaven"

LNF: "That's part, if I understand it correctly, of the Reformed understanding of worship."

I wouldn't know about the theology of Reformed liturgics. My assumption is, and believe me that's all it is, is that Reformed liturgical theology would be rather dramatically different from that Of Orthodoxy if only because of the Reformers general rejection of Liturgical worship and especially of the Eucharistic theology of The Church. At any rate, Orthodox liturgical theology, indeed all Orthodox theology, can be gleaned from how we pray, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi as our Latin brethren say.

The Orthodox Divine Liturgy has always been an other worldly experience. Back in the 10th century, Prince Vladimir of Kiev, a pagan, sent his men out into the world to investigate the religions of the Mohammedans, the Germans and the Greeks. Here is what they said on their return:

In 987 Vladimir summoned together his vassals and the city elders, and said to them: "Behold, the Bulgars came before me urging me to accept their religion. Then came the Germans and praised their own faith; and after them came the Jews. Finally the Greeks appeared, criticising all other faiths but commanding their own, and they spoke at length, telling the history of the whole world from its beginning. Their words were artful, and it was wondrous to listen and pleasant to hear them. They preach the existence of another world. 'Whoever adopts our religion and then dies shall arise and live forever. But whosoever embraces another faith, shall be consumed with fire in the next world.' What is your opinion on this subject, and what do you answer?" The vassals and the elders replied: "You know, O Prince, that no man condemns his own possessions, but praises them instead. If you desire to make certain, you have servants at your disposal. Send them to inquire about the ritual of each and how he worships God. " Their counsel pleased the prince and all the people, so that they chose good and wise men to the number of ten, and directed them to go first among the Bulgars and inspect their faith. The emissaries went their way, and when they arrived at their destination they beheld the disgraceful actions of the Bulgars and their worship in the mosque; then they returned to their own country. Vladimir then instructed them to go likewise among the Germans, and examine their faith, and finally to visit the Greeks. They thus went into Germany, and after viewing the German ceremonial, they proceeded to Constantinople where they appeared before the emperor. He inquired on what mission they had come, and they reported to him all that had occurred.. When the emperor heard their words, he rejoiced, and did them great honour on that very day.

On the morrow, the emperor sent a message to the patriarch to inform him that a Russian delegation had arrived to examine the Greek faith, and directed him to prepare the church and the clergy, and to array himself in his sacerdotal robes, so that the Russians might behold the glory of the God of the Greeks. When the patriarch received these commands, he bade the clergy assemble, and they performed the customary rites. They burned incense, and the choirs sang hymns. The emperor accompanied the Russians to the church, and placed them in a wide space, calling their attention to the beauty of the edifice, the chanting, and the offices of the archpriest and the ministry of the deacons, while he explained to them the worship of his God. The Russians were astonished, and in their wonder praised the Greek ceremonial. Then the Emperors Basil and Constantine invited the envoys to their presence, and said, "Go hence to your native country," and thus dismissed them with valuable presents and great honour. Thus they returned to their own country, and the prince called together his vassals and the elders. Vladimir then announced the return of the envoys who had been sent out, and suggested that their report be heard. He thus commanded them to speak out before his vassals. The envoys reported: "When we journeyed among the Bulgars, we beheld how they worship in their temple, called a mosque, while they stand ungirt. The Bulgarian bows, sits down, looks hither and thither like one possessed, and there is no happiness among them, but instead only sorrow and a dreadful stench. Their religion is not good. Then we went among the Germans, and saw them performing many ceremonies in their temples; but we beheld no glory there. Then we went on to Greece, and the Greeks led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We know only that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty. Every man, after tasting something sweet, is afterward unwilling to accept that which is bitter, and therefore we cannot dwell longer here."

There is a wonderful story, Russian I believe, called the "Revelation of the Holy Liturgy to the Unbelieving Emperor". It lays out the epitome of an Orthodox Christian's experience while at a Liturgy"

"(At the conclusion of the Kairon) the priest prostrated in the middle of the church before the holy icons, entered the holy place to don the sacred vestments and wash his hands. Then, as he drew near to the prothesis, the emperor saw the priest’s face begin to brighten! It became brighter than the sun! It was like the face of an angel! Know ye that this is the appearance of all Christ’s priests when they perform the divine services.

Then the emperor saw a great multitude of angels arrayed in white robes, also with bright faces, descending from above. And in their midst was a Wonderful Child, whose beauty was beyond all heavenly and earthly beauties, and the radiance of His face brightened even more the faces of the angels surrounding Him …

The emperor could not believe his eyes, for he now saw that a great multitude of people had filled the church. They were so numerous that they even filled the holy place, surrounding the priest! The people reverently looked at the priest and they all began to pray. What the emperor was seeing was the countless number of people for whom the priest was praying, saints and sinner, living and departed.

The emperor saw the All-holy Virgin clothed in a robe of gold, adorned in varied colors, come and stand at the right hand of her Wonderful Child. He saw St John the Forerunner, severe and thin, clothed in a robe of camel’s hair and girded about with a leather belt. He saw the glorious prophets, the holy apostles of Jesus Christ the Wonderful Child, and all the wonder-working saints, the right-victorious martyrs and the venerable and righteous men and women.

Their faces were luminous and shining brightly, though some of them had wounds and mangled bodies, while others were very thin and gaunt because of their ascetic labors. All of them had joyfully offered their lives to Christ, the Wonderful Child whom they now surrounded to worship and adore."

30 posted on 05/06/2008 3:23:22 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: Petronski

“That’s beautiful.”

It has the beauty and reality of being True! :)


31 posted on 05/06/2008 3:24:08 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: ArrogantBustard

“That’s almost word-for-word how my favorite priest describes the Mass.”

The good father is right! :)


32 posted on 05/06/2008 3:24:45 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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