Joy is not the same as pleasure or happiness. A wicked and evil man may have pleasure, while any ordinary mortal is capable of being happy. Pleasure generally comes from things, and always through the senses; happiness comes from humans through fellowship. Joy comes from loving God and neighbor. Pleasure is quick and violent, like a flash of lightning. Joy is steady and abiding, like a fixed star. Pleasure depends on external circumstances, such as money, food, travel, etc. Joy is independent of them, for it comes from a good conscience and love of God. ~ Venerable Fulton Sheen
Hi! I am Christie Walker, founder of The Joy Filled Catholic. I am wife to an amazing man and the mother of three; sweet, faith-filled, hilarious boys. Our older boys are fraternal twins, and our youngest is a spunky, noisy, ball of joy! I am so blessed to work from home as a freelance writer and digital marketer. I am also aspiring author.
My Faith Background
I was baptized Catholic when I was three months old. My family attended church often, but irregularly. I attended Faith Formation until I began my studies at a Catholic School, during the middle of my 7th grade year, and my Catholic education continued through high school. After graduation, you probably wouldn’t see me at Mass unless it was Christmas, Easter, or Mother’s Day. Though I did still make rare appearances from time to time.
My relationship with and involvement in the Catholic Church for the next 10-12 years was nominal at best and non-existent at worst. During those years I lived contrary to the Catholic Church’s teachings however, I always identified myself as a Catholic. I hate to even admit it, but anytime I was confronted with some objection to the Catholic faith or the Church’s teachings I would say things like, “Oh yeah, I was raised Catholic and went to CCD and attended Catholic School. I know all about what you are saying, and I can tell you that this Catholic doesn’t believe….”, or “I love my Catholic faith but there are so many teachings that I just don’t agree with.” So yes, not only was I a mostly “C&E Catholic” – I was also a “Cafeteria Catholic” because liked to pick and choose which teachings I would adhere to.
Then I decided maybe I should do a little church shopping. This way I would hopefully find a religion that really spoke to me and didn’t make me feel so bad about my sin, both past and present. Also, I really wanted to find one that was more fun! Maybe better music, more activities, dynamic young adult programs, great coffee, etc. While I attended several other churches, I never stayed long enough to delve deep into their theology or participate in programs. I stayed just long enough to discover that something wasn’t right – but I couldn’t tell you what exactly. Don’t get me wrong. I met some fantastic, faith-filled individuals. I even met a few Catholics who had fallen away from the Church. When I asked why they left, all the ones I talked to said they left because they didn’t like the “stuffiness, rules, and ritual”. At the time, I kind of got that, because I was drawn to the energy and sermons that I enjoyed at a local Baptist Church.
I started thinking that this might be THE church. Not in terms Biblical of truths but where I thought I might fit in and like to spend my Sundays. I knew nothing about the Baptist church, but it seemed fine. I envisioned my future family and I attending together. I thought that my future kids could participate in the children’s programs, while my future husband and I went to the church service. I liked the people, the Pastor, the music, the programs – I was almost ready to just call this my new church home…until…
Coming Home to the Catholic Church
Until that one Sunday. I’m not sure what they call it, but I’ll call it “Communion Sunday”. Until that day the Eucharist had not even crossed my mind. I mean, why would it? I had reduced it to just a symbol. A representation. A reenactment of the Last Supper. I had forgotten all I had been taught. I received it unworthily for years. But on this day things began to change for me. On this day there were beautiful silver trays filled with saltine crackers being passed between the rows of the large church. I took one but wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. Then came another silver tray with tiny plastic cups filled with grape juice. While I always felt like there was something missing at the end of each church service, I just chalked it up to it being a more relaxed setting. There wasn’t any real ritual. However, this is the day it hit me like a ton of bricks as I held the saltine in one hand and grape juice in the other – there was more!
While I loved so many things about the other Christian churches I attended, and look fondly upon most of those experiences, I realized that day that I was missing the sacredness and two-thousand years of tradition that can only be found in the Catholic Church. Most importantly, I was missing the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist – body, blood, soul, and divinity.
I’d love to say that I ran back, on fire and ready to embrace everything about the Church – but the truth is, it has been a long process. Two steps forward one step back. Always gaining ground but very s-l-o-w-l-y. However, I am happy to report that over the past 7-8 years I have lovingly embraced the fullness of the Catholic faith. I have worked to understand why there are certain doctrines in place, why Catholics believe what we believe, and what proof we have that the Catholic Church is in fact the Church Jesus founded upon Peter – “the Rock” – our first Pope. After my husband went through RCIA and we had our marriage Convalidated – everything changed again. It has been an incredible blessing that I am thankful for each day. Putting Christ at the center of our marriage and family has been the best decision we have ever made.
Why the Joy Filled Catholic?
Initially, I wasn’t sure why I was starting this blog, only that I had a calling to do so. I knew that I fell away from the Church, because I never truly understood the faith I professed. I didn’t appreciate the richness, beauty, and joy of the Catholic faith – but I sure do now and want to share that with others.
As parents of 3 boys, it is important to my husband and I that they know and live their faith. Our goal as parents is to ensure our children will grow into young men who can charitably and articulately share the truths of the Catholic faith; and defend the sanctity of life, the Church, and Her teachings. We pray that they will be evangelists for Christ, allowing His light to shine through them into the darkness of the world.
I will also do my part to let the light of Christ shine through me, not for my sake but for His glory. This blog is one way that I do that. I pray that it will help families grow closer to God and experience the joy of the Catholic faith – together! So, we can raise up our children to be steadfast followers of Christ and we can all go out into the world confidently, as Joy Filled Catholics!
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