One of the most aggravating situations I’ve dealt with recently involved a Christian music festival I recently attended. Several people tried to convert me to their faith. What especially annoyed me was the fact that they didn’t try to convert members of other Protestant denominations but the Catholics and those who didn’t go to church at all.
There’s seems to be an acceptance of other Protestant denominations but not of Catholics. As long as you belong to a Bible believing church and have a relationship with Christ you’re okay. It is annoying because the Catholic Church is the original Bible believing church to begin with. We cover the whole Bible at daily mass every three years. We do not cover only the scripture that the pastor likes to preach on but the entire Bible including books that the Protestants deleted.
Secondly, this is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and passed on by the disciples. Our mass is based on the prayers and words that He said at the Last Supper when He celebrated the Passover. Protestant services can’t make that claim. We are also the only ones to have all the Sacraments He instituted. We don’t receive Him symbolically we receive Him physically in Communion.
They make a big deal of being saved but exactly what does that mean? It means that you admit to God that you are a sinner and that you cannot be saved on your own. You believe that Jesus died for your sins and that you accept Him as your savior and invite Him to be Lord of your life. You ask Him to have a relationship with you.
Does this mean that you never sin again? Not really, but you are called to confess your sins as soon as possible. Often at these festivals, people pray this prayer for the second, third, fourth or fifth time because they’ve fallen away from the fervor of their first conversion and feel the need to recommit themselves.
What about Catholics? Can they say this prayer? Yes there are several published by Catholic organizations. There is the miracle prayer which basically says the same thing and has a bishop’s imprimatur. The Marians of the Immaculate Conception have a prayer titled “Dear Lord Jesus, I Need You” which basically says the same thing. (The Marians run the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts) Many Catholics say these prayers not once but daily.
The big thing is to accept God’s grace for salvation. Without God’s grace no one could be saved. Both Catholics and Protestants agree on that. Many people don’t realize it. There is a misconception that Catholics try to earn salvation through works. Our works are really our response to God’s love. If God loved us so much to die for us then we should return that love by our actions. We do so by loving His children.
As I said the big thing is accepting God’s grace. We do that every time we go to Reconciliation. We do that every time we go to mass. We do that every time we receive Communion. We do that every time we pray or read Scripture. We may not realize it or think of it that way but every Sacrament; every prayer is an opportunity to open ourselves up to the graces God wants to give us.
Every time we receive the Eucharist is an opportunity to ask Jesus again to be our savior and to work on our relationship with Him. Every Eucharist is an opportunity to open ourselves up to Jesus and to allow Him to change our hearts. Every time we devoutly receive Communion we ask Jesus to have a relationship with us whether consciously or subconsciously. The very act of walking up to Communion is a form of responding to an altar call. The difference is that we go to Jesus not a human.
Jesus, help us to be aware of all that we do in our faith of all the graces You pour out on us through Your Sacraments. Help us to understand so that we can explain our faith to others and be strong in our faith. Amen