When Sins are Retained // My Story

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.  John 20:23

In John’s Gospel, we read that Jesus gives the Apostles and their successors the authority to forgive or retain sins. So, does that mean a priest REALLY has the authority not to absolve someone from their sins and why would they do this?

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P. had this to say on the subject:

There are times when our sincerity needs to be challenged—for our own good. After all, his forgiveness doesn’t come cheaply. We need to remember that he paid the price of shedding his own blood for us.

Fr. Hugh Barbour, O. Praem. said this when asked, “What if a sin is not absolved?”

Denying absolution is rather rare, since usually, even if the penitent is weak and frequently falls back into sin, at the time of confession he or she is willing to keep on trying, making use of the means of grace and the advice of the confessor. If the confessor perceives that this is lacking, he might refuse absolution, or “retain” the sins confessed. The penitent should use this as a helpful experience and pray for the grace of a true purpose of amendment and real contrition so as to be absolved.

So, the answer is  — yes, they can retain sins because Jesus gave them the authority to do so.

While it is rare, as Fr. Barbour pointed out, it can happen and I know this because it happened to me!

As I have mentioned before, I lived a less than virtuous life for many years. I made so many bad choices. I partied a LOT! I drank a LOT! I lived a miserable existence stuck in the muck of my sins and thought that I would never add an ounce of good to this world. Thanks be to God,  I finally woke the heck up. I was sick and tired of being sick and tried. I didn’t want to be known as the screw-up anymore and got sober at the age of 23! Although that didn’t cure all my bad decision making, it put me on the path back to God.

Fast forward several mistakes, bumps, and missteps later. I married the man I had been praying for all my life. That story in and of itself is a complete miracle from God which I will happily share some time in the future. At this time in our lives we were trying to start our family and  had been trying to conceive for about a year. I prayed constantly. I slowly began to rediscover the treasures of my Catholic faith, which had been carelessly forgotten, like calling upon the intercession saints.

One day, possibly during Lent, I decided it was time to get back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. My heart wasn’t really in it but it seemed like something I should do. I went to a parish near my home to attend confession for the first time in probably 13 years. I was not a regular Mass attender, but had been going more often with my Mom.

I stood in line trying to think of what I would say. Looking back, there were so many things I should have said but I don’t think I ever truly made a “good confession” before. Honestly, I didn’t even know how. When it was my turn to go, I went face-to-face because that’s just how I roll!

Actually, I now prefer face-to-face confession but on that particular day I wasn’t meaning to do it that way — but that is just the door I went into. I walked in to see the familiar face of the Parish pastor. I had been to that church for Mass a couple of times before, so I recognized him and he seemed like a nice enough guy.

As I sat in front of him, my eyes down, the words that I had learned so many years ago slipped fluidly off my tongue, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been…probably…about 13 years since my last confession.”

After that I honestly can’t remember what I said – but I KNOW that it only scratched the surface of what I needed to be confessing that day. I was ill prepared and didn’t want to take up too much time because there were a lot of people waiting, so I tried to touch on the main things.

 If I had it to do over, I would have scheduled an appointment and sat down and did a thorough Examination of Conscience first, but I really had no idea how steeped in sin I was and all that I needed to do to work my way out of it.

With my eyes still fixed firmly on the ground, I also explained that I had been married briefly (that is another story for another time), not in the Church and we didn’t have any children together. BUT (I finally looked up) the great news was I was now happily remarried (not in the Church) and doing my best to be a good person. I think I ended by saying something like, “…and that’s all I can think of right now.”

The priest looked at me and said, “I’m sorry but I cannot absolve you.”

I was stunned for a second and thought, “Wait…What? Did he just NOT absolve me? Can he even do that? How am I supposed to get absolution then?”

I asked what I should do next and he told me that I needed to get my first marriage annulled — which I promptly did. Thankfully, the Annulment process for me was fairly painless but it took me a few more years to get up the courage to go to confession again. I still had a lot of work to do. I still had a lot to know. I was still in a state of mortal sin for a long time and didn’t realize to what extent until my husband went through RCIA and even then, I still had a lot to learn.

So, not being absolved that day was a blessing. I realize that there was no way that any priest could have absolved me. As much as it stung at the time, it set me on the path that I am on today. It lit a fire in me.

There was always a tiny little flame burning, but I thought I had snuffed it out long ago with my sin. Thankfully, that flame was beginning to grow. With every book I read, every Mass I attended, every Catholic apologist I listen to, every conversion/reversion story I heard- the flame grew brighter and stronger.

Today, I have an insatiable thirst to know all I can about Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Church. I also have a strong desire to share what I have learned with others, which is why I started this blog.

Wondering how to make a good confession? Here’s a video from Fr. Mike Schmitz with some great advice on Making a Good Confession:

May the Lord bless and keep you!

 

What Stops You From Letting Your Light Shine?

I had the pleasure of reading a book recently by Matthew Kelly, entitled Resisting Happiness. We attended Mass at my mom’s parish after Christmas and it was handed out there. It was excellent! I highly recommend it and I am quite certain that I will refer to it in future blog posts. The book really spoke to me, because I recognize that I give into resistance a lot. I suppose that is why I haven’t posted on this blog since August!

I have things I would like to write about. I know that those things have the potential to help or encourage other people. Yet, I busy myself with so many other things. It’s not that those things aren’t important. Some are – but some aren’t.

Here’s the thing though. I have spent most of my life running from or resisting God – and that holds me back from being the person God created me to be. I do not resist out of lack of love for Him – I do love Him! I don’t resist because I doubt his existence –I know He does. Not even because I think I am better off without Him – I know that I am not.

For years, I resisted his gentle pursuit because I didn’t truly believe in depths of His love and mercy. I  didn’t feel worthy and I was afraid to trust Him with everything. I also didn’t understand how He lavishes grace upon grace (JN 1:16) and allows the Holy Spirit to work through those who call upon Him. It wasn’t until I started reading and meditating on scripture – those God breathed words – that I began to understand a bit more  and to rest in His promises. I began to realize that I don’t always have to know where I am going, because the Lord is in all my days. Also, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called”.

In Chapter 32 of Resisting Happiness, Kelly asks

Are you letting your light shine?

I like to think that I do. I try to always greet people with a smile and to be kind, supportive, and positive. I try to use my knowledge and talents to glorify God. This is not something I have always done, but I really try to think about what I am spending my time doing and make sure that most of what I do aligns with what God asks of me.

Except…except this blog and my writing. Not so much my personal journal writing or the writing I do for my clients – but I know God is calling me to more. So what is stopping me from writing those books I have been thinking about? What stops me from producing the tools I know can help Catholic families connect and strengthen their faith and knowledge? What stops me from writing the many blog post ideas that I have?

Matthew Kelly tells us that God created us to let our light shine and that resistance doesn’t want that to happen. Resistance doesn’t want us to share the light of Christ with others through things we do or say.

I started thinking about this. What stops me from letting my light shine?

I determined that it comes down to a few things. Maybe you can relate.

Fear of Failure

What if I spend all this time on something and I pour myself into it and no one likes it. No one notices it. It doesn’t help even one single soul.

Fear of Rejection

What if I create something and it is met with criticism? What if it isn’t as helpful as I think it will be? What if I write a book, spend hours doing the writing and research necessary, and no one wants to publish it – or read it?

Comparison

There are so many talented individuals out there creating great resources for Catholic families. Sure, I see a need or a hole my content can fill – but it will never be as good as the things I see others doing.

Here’s the thing that I am am realizing and that I must remember. Doing these things is not for me. God created me for His purpose and I have work to do. The things I want to accomplish aren’t meant to make a light shine on me.  What they are meant for, is to share the light of Christ with others. These things I am called to do are not for my glory but for the glory of the Lord. It is all to lead others to Him; who is the way, the truth, and the life. (JN14:6) If it is truly his purpose for me to do something, he will make my path straight and regardless of outcome all efforts will be used for His good.

Don’t look back. St. Paul said, “I press forward.”You and I have work to do and we must do it together. Every man, woman and child must know Jesus. God has created you with a fire, a spirit, to inflame others. You can no longer sit, waiting for something to happen. You make it happen. You’re the only one God has.

-Mother Angelica

Each one of us is here for a unique purpose. How will you use your gifts? How will you multiply God’s Grace? What is stopping you from letting your light shine?

Let Us Love and Encourage One Another!

Yesterday, while picking up a prescription for one of my boys, I overheard an exchange between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Tech.

As the Pharmacy Tech was looking up the prescription I needed, she turned to the pharmacist next to her and said, “So what are you doing for your birthday tomorrow? I know your husband isn’t going to do anything for you,” she chuckled, “but how about your mom or your kids are they doing anything?”

“Well, tomorrow is my kids’ end of the year baseball party, so that’s what I’m doing.” She said with a smile, “When you have kids, that’s how you spend your birthday some times.”

With a snarky snort the Pharmacy Tech said, “Yeah! When you have kids, you have no life!”

The Pharmacist paused for a moment and then replied, “I have a life! My kids are my life but I have a life”

“Yeah, your kids are your life.” said the Pharmacy Tech as she moved to the shelf to grab my prescription.

Joy Filled Catholic

Parenting is SO Much More Joyful than You Think it Is! Be positive and tell her, “Spending the day with your family sounds perfect!”

That’s what I wanted to say to the prickly pharmacy tech when she brought my prescription…but I didn’t. The exchange has been running through my mind since yesterday afternoon. I wanted to tell her that kids are a HUGE joy and she should be an encouragement instead of Ms. “Debbie Downer”! I wanted her to know that when a parent says that our kids are our life, that doesn’t mean we don’t exist anymore – our existence is transformed into something much greater.

My children are also my life! If not for them, I believe that my world would look quite different! I know I would be much more selfish and self-centered. I know, because that’s how I lived for many years. My children and my husband are helping me to become a better person.

I think about those many times when I was so tired, and one of my boys would wake in the middle of the night. I would shuffle into their room, praying as I went, for him to fall asleep quickly, so I could go back to bed. I remember so vividly rocking each of my babies back and forth, while humming a song to get them to sleep. I was forced to slow down, to be patient, and to do something for another person who was completely dependent on me.

It was amazing how the frustration and exhaustion would transform. It was still there but as soon as I looked at that sweet face in the glow of the nightlight and kiss those plump soft cheeks, I could feel myself changing! As I gazed down at my child, you might find tears streaming down my face from the mix of exhaustion and JOY.  If not for my children, I would never experience the juxtaposition of these emotions during such a precious moment.

Joy Filled Catholic

I wanted that tech to be an encouragement – but am I? Why do I sometimes assume the worst about people’s lives?

As my mind begins to marinate on the exchange I just described, I imagine that the lady (without kids, I am assuming) has a picture in her mind of how life sucking having children must be. She probably envisions kids running around wild, breaking vases, the mother screaming, while all the kids are shooting each other with silly string.

Meanwhile, I am picturing how lonely her life must be. Sitting in a darkened room that is bouncing with shadows and flashes of light created by the glow of the television. Each night, I imagine, she nestles in her recliner with a TV tray in front of her, while stroking one of her 15 cats and eating Chinese take-out straight from the box.

The truth is, when we don’t know someone’s life, we can only assume what we do not know, until we do – and even then we still don’t really know. What I mean is, that woman can’t possibly know the joy of parenting and all of the precious moments and love it provides and what it means when a parent says that their children are their life – and in turn, I don’t know how fulfilling all the activities and events she experiences without children truly are. After all, not everyone is called to marriage and family, and there can be extraordinary joy and great satisfaction in those vocations as well! I know, because I have seen it happen for people I know and love.

But do we have to know these things to love and encourage others? I don’t think so. We can love people right where they are and if being encouraging doesn’t come to us naturally, we can ask the Lord: “What can I do to be an encouragement to this person?”

So, what can I do? I can start by thinking positively about the person and their intentions, instead of assuming the worst.

Joy Filled Catholic

 

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{{YOU}} Can be a Joy Filled Catholic!

www.joyfilledcatholic.com

I don’t always enthusiastically jump into the air, while walking through a flowery meadow – but when I do, it’s because I am a Joy Filled Catholic!

Actually, that’s not even me, but that is how I feel inside when I think of the awesomeness that is the Catholic Church. It really truly is – but how did I get here?

Today, I am going to share with you 10 things that have helped me grow closer to God and multiply my joy! If you follow these steps, I’m sure you’ll soon find yourself becoming a Joy Filled Catholic!

Joy Filled Catholic

Step 1: Choose Joy Daily

It is as simple and as complicated as that. Happiness fades but true joy that comes from turning your life over to God and seeking to do His will daily, will endure even through hard times. When you wake in the morning, shut out those negative thoughts and instead count all of your blessings – no matter how great, or how small.

Choosing joy provides a sense of peace that no one can steal. The evil one will try everything to take it from you. He will tell you that you are not good enough — that you aren’t attractive enough, smart enough, funny enough, faithful enough. He will tell you that you are not enough until you start to believe it and repeat it to yourself over and over again.  Your anxiety will rise. Worry might over take you.

Do NOT believe those thoughts! Not for even one second.

YOU are a child of God. He made YOU! He loves YOU! He has amazing things in store for YOU – if you will only let him work in you. He wants to use YOU to spread His word and touch people’s lives. He has a purpose for YOUR life!

‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11

This verse doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials, we will. It doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering, because there will be. BUT if we take up our crosses and abide in Christ like he said (MT 16:24-25, LK 9:23-24, JN 8:31, JN 15:4-5, JN 15:10 2 John 1:9 – just to note a few) He will give us the grace, peace, and joy to endure and thrive!

So, when you wake up in the morning, don’t instantly turn on the news, or reach for your phone. Take a moment and make a morning offering to God. Dedicate your day to Him. Say whatever you like; it is your morning conversation with God.

Listen, I know that it might feel a little awkward at first, but I promise — the more you pray and converse with the Lord, the more natural it will become.

Here’s an example of something I like say in the morning:

Dear Lord, today I choose to be a joyful witness of your love! Guide my hands, my feet, my thoughts, and my actions to build up your kingdom here on earth. Allow your most Holy Spirit to inspire my words to glorify you, and you alone. Please help me to notice those who are hurting, so that I may be a vessel of your love – to bring hope, comfort, and light to them. Thank you for all of the graces, blessings, and mercy you pour out on me each day. I am not worthy of any of it, which makes it all the more precious to me. Today I choose joy! In Jesus’ name, Amen

If you want something a little more formal, or you would like to have a variety of morning offerings to choose from, I invite you to visit the website OurCatholicPrayers.com. The link I provided is for their morning offering page, but they are an excellent resource for Catholic prayers of all kinds.

Also, on the Relevant Radio app, in the audio prayers section, there is a beautiful Morning Offering there that you can pray along with as well.

 

Step 2: Dive into God’s Word

The Joy Filled Catholic

 

I always struggled with this. I am not an avid reader (though I would like to be) and thinking about reading the Bible seemed to be quite the daunting task.

However, when I was invited to be part of a (Protestant led, but mostly Catholic attended) Bible study, I reluctantly agreed. I had a strong desire to know, read, and understand the Word of God – but I was worried that my lack of Biblical knowledge would be very evident and I wouldn’t have much to say. Was I ever wrong. I had a lot to say and I learned a lot too. I would find myself reading, taking notes, and looking things up for hours after the study was over.

My thirst to know the scriptures and know Jesus more, grew – and it continues to grow all of the time. I now own several bibles but my favorite is my Didache Bible that offers commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not sure what the Didache is? Check out this video “What is the Didache?” from Catholic Answers Apologist, Jimmy Akin, who briefly explains it.

One of my favorite things to do recently, is to listen to an audio bible (I purchased the new testament from my EWTN app) with my family in the evenings. We all pull out our bibles and follow along. My children actually look forward to it and seem to retain much of what they are hearing/reading. I make notes and underline as I follow along because that helps me understand and remember things better.

Bible Journaling is also something that I very much enjoy. While I do take notes in my Bible, I typically write verses out in another journal that I have. Check out my post on Catholic Bible Journaling to see what I am talking about.

The other thing that reading the bible has done, is to confirm the Church’s teachings. I’m sure I learned most of this growing up but there was some sort of disconnect where I either didn’t remember – or didn’t want to remember what I had been taught.

Step 3: Partake in the Sacraments

I cannot imagine anything greater than participating in the sacraments that Christ gave to us. In recent years I have grown more and more in love with the sacrament of reconciliation. I was even more delighted when (through my bible reading) I knew that this wasn’t just something the Church made up, but Jesus told the apostles to do it and gave them the authority to do so.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  John 20:22-23

My husband and I were not married in the Catholic Church (or in any church for that matter) but we had our marriage Convalidated when my husband went through RCIA. Convalidation is the process of making our marriage sacramental. I cannot even begin to tell you about all the graces that were poured out on us and on our family after that happened. It has been a magnificent blessing our our marriage, family, and our faith lives.

Also, having the ability to receive Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, each week at Mass (and more if we like) is also something that I appreciate. It all really changed for me when I read John 6. I have a LOT more to write on this topic but will save it for a future post. It is just too special to try to cram into a paragraph or two.

Step 4: Tune Out Noise of the World

Ah, yes! Tune out the noise of the world. The more time I take for quiet prayer and reflection, and the more I seek to know and do God’s will – the quieter the voice of the world becomes. I used to be so fearful of saying, or doing the wrong thing. I was afraid of the backlash and that the world would not love me. This produced a lot of anxiety and insecurities.

However, since coming back to the faith, I have taken some very deliberate actions to help retain my sense of peace, keep my joy, and shut out quite a bit of the negativity and hate that was causing me so much worry and anxiety. I am very selective about the music I listen to, the programs I watch, and I have cut WAY back on my personal social media time. In fact, have made several modifications so that what I see in my news feed, for the most part, is uplifting, educational, and helps me grow closer to the Lord.

In making these changes, I find much more peace — but in those moments when I lift my gaze away from the Lord and doubt Him, I am like Peter, falling helplessly into the sea. The anxiety builds, fear, hopelessness, doubt, and anger rise within me. When I finally turn to Jesus for help. I imagine a warm loving smile on His face as he says affectionately,

“Christie, I got this silly girl! I’ve got YOU, if you will only learn to trust me. Why do you doubt?”

Of course, we can’t tune out everything and unless we are called to a life of solitude and prayer (which if I’m being honest, some days, that just sounds amazing!), we still have to be in the world. We also need to know what is going on so we know where God needs us and how we can help glorify Him and also bring His Word and love to those who need it the most.

Step 5: Attend Eucharistic Adoration

Speaking of tuning out the world, I just have to tell you that going to Eucharistic Adoration has been something I have learned to love and look forward to. Even though I am a lifelong Catholic, went to CCD and Catholic school – I did not know what Adoration was. It wasn’t until my children started kindergarten at a Catholic school that I heard about it. I asked them, “Is it just a prayer service?” and they said “yes”. However, I discovered that it is much more than that.

It came unexpectedly when I watched a reality show on Lifetime called, The Sisterhood. The show followed the discernment process of about 6 young women. One of the things that stuck with me, was when the women would attend Adoration. For some it wasn’t the easiest thing, for others it was something that they would “thirst” for. One young woman would get very emotional and in at least one episode prostrated herself in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I thought, “Wow! I really need to check out Adoration.”

It took me a little while to work up the courage to go, but I did. At first it was awkward and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do or say. Sometimes, I still don’t – but I can tell you that I find a great sense of peace when I go.

Is it the same for everyone? No, but if you you open yourself up to having a real conversation with Jesus, He will make His presence known and lay things on your heart. These may be good and enlightening things, or hard things that perhaps you have been running from – but have courage. He is with you! You will be filled with peace and joy!

Step 6: Rediscover the Beauty of the Catholic Faith

Knowing my faith has certainly increased my joy a thousand fold. Finding tons of Catholic resources to help me along that journey has been SUCH a blessing. I was always worried that if I learned too much I would find out something that would lead me away from what little faith I had. However, I have experienced just the opposite! The more I know, the more I absolutely LOVE being Catholic! The more I LOVE my faith, the easier it is to spread the truth.

I have mentioned many times about how sheepish I was about standing up for the Church and Her teachings. Mainly, because I didn’t understand them myself and I wasn’t prepared to defend them. However, the more I know, the easier it is to share and defend the faith.

The most eye-opening thing I have learned through my journey, is that Jesus wanted all Christians to be one. The thing that was leading me away from Jesus, is all the division among Christians. I often wondered, what makes them so sure that they are right?

Once I started to realize that Jesus came to establish a Church, one Church, His Church – the more I realized that I need to know more and share that information with others! The truth is Jesus wants us to be united through Him, with God the Father. He even prayed for that very thing right before His Passion and death! He prayed for His Apostles and then He prays for His Church:

I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be within us, so that the world may believe that y ou have sent me. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.    – John 17:20-23

The more I learn about the Catholic faith, the more “on fire” and Joy Filled I become.

Step 7: Get to Know the Saints

I thought learning about the saints would make me feel terrible about myself. I mean they are the holiest of holy, right? I thought that their lives, would make me feel like the biggest failure on earth. While there are plenty of saints that led very holy virtuous lives, throughout their entire lives – there are also plenty of saints that did not start out so holy! I mean, if Saint Augustine of Hippo could turn things around, surely there is hope for me.

Want to start learning about saints? Try this fun Saint Name Generator, a project by Jennifer Fulwiler, to randomly discover new saints. I love using this tool and have learned about many different saints!

Step 8: Pray! Pray! Pray!

Why should we pray? The short answer is because God wants us to. It is how we communicate with Him and discern His will for our lives. In the Gospels we see Jesus praying often – having conversations with God the Father. Jesus teaches us to pray and even gave us the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 7:9-13

Imagine knowing there is someone who loves you more than you could ever comprehend, that they want to lavish graces upon you, grant your requests, give you wisdom and peace to get through troubling times. Would you just ignore that person? Never talk to them – not even to send a text?

Of course not! If we are to be Joy Filled Catholics, we must converse with God. He wants to hear from His children – and not just on Sunday. The more you pray, the easier it is to pray.

Can’t find time? I used to think that too but I remember hearing Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle say on a program, that mothers “pray as they go.” I just absolutely LOVED that and I think of it all the time. When I am doing laundry, cooking dinner, sitting in line – I try to do it prayerfully. There are times that I am better at this, than others but it is something that becomes a part of all you do, the more you do it.

Step 9: Serve Others & Get Involved

Serving others brings joy because when we do it, are doing God’s will. It is a beautiful way of thanking God for all he has blessed us with.

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another,
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10

Getting involved in your parish community is very important too. When I came back to the Catholic Church, I had an intense desire to know the people in my parish community and to allow them to get to know us. I didn’t just want my family and I to show up Sunday after Sunday without really feeling like we were part of the community.

I participated in a few vibrant Protestant communities and I really wanted that, but I wanted to find it in a Catholic parish. I wasn’t even sure that these types of ministries even existed – but they do. I know that ministries vary from parish to parish – but we found our place in ours.

My family and I started by staying after Mass for coffee and donuts and we participated in other parish events. Our pastor, would take time to talk to us whenever he saw our family, and we also starting meeting other families in our parish. I became a Lector and over the years we have all become very active members in our parish and parish school.

Being around other Catholics who are happy to be Catholic and are active in living out their faith, has been a HUGE blessing to us and has enriched our faith lives tremendously.

Step 10: Evangelize

Once you are a Joy Filled Catholic, you just can’t help but want to share what you know with others. My main focus has always been on evangelizing myself and my family – but I have a growing desire to reach others as well! That’s why I started this blog.

For my family though, I really want them to know and understand why we are Catholic. I also want to prepare them to answer objects that they will get from non-Catholics and non-believers. I want them to have the courage to stand up for what they believe in and not back down, just to “fit in”.

Evangelizing doesn’t always mean having heated debates. Sometimes your best witness as a Catholic is being a good example, and joyfully living out your faith.

 Joy Filled Catholic

I have so much more that I could write on each of these steps and I have so many other tips to share as well — but I will leave that for future posts. Please check back soon!

 

May Christ’s Peace be with you always!

 

 

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Welcome to the Joy Filled Catholic Blog

Welcome to The Joy Filled Catholic

Hello! Welcome to The Joy Filled Catholic Blog.

I am Christie, a joy filled Catholic, who, after being raised Catholic, attending CCD, and then Catholic School 7th-12th grade, drifted away from the Catholic Church and her teachings. I was what some call a “C&E” (Christmas and Easter) Catholic for many years and I slowly made my way back to the fullness of the faith, shortly after our twins were born. You’ll be able to read my story soon on the About Page, once I write it!

The reason that I decided to begin this blog, is because God put it on my heart to do so. This blog has been in my heart and on my mind for the past year. In fact, I created all of my social media accounts last year but put my blog on the back burner. However, this blog is constantly on my mind. I hear something or I read something, and I think – “That would make a great blog post.” I sure wish I had written all those ideas down at the time – though I don’t think I’ll run out of topics any time soon!

So what can you expect to read on this blog?

Well, I’ll share a little about me and my journey – but more importantly I hope to provide YOU with information and resources to help you along your journey toward the Catholic Church.

I also hope to provide information that will clear up some misconceptions that people have about the Catholic Church and her teachings. Though I have always identified myself as a Catholic, I didn’t adhere to, or think that I even agreed with the teachings.

In those days, you might have heard me say things like:

I’m Catholic but….

  • I don’t really go to church.
  • I don’t agree with all of the teachings.
  • I still like to have fun.
  • I just stay Catholic because that’s what I know.

…and on and on it would go. I shudder at the thought of things I said. The ways that I may have unknowingly lead people astray or gave them a false impression of the church. Looking back, I think I said these things in part because I believed them and partially because I wasn’t prepared to defend my faith against those I knew would challenge my beliefs.

www.joyfilledcatholic.com

Back then, I was FAR from the church. Goodness, I sure hope no one judged the Catholic Church based on me, my words, and my actions – but I’m afraid they may have. That is another reason this blog is so important to me. Maybe I can’t go back and tell anyone who I may of spoken to just how wrong, and uninformed I was – but I can share all that I have learned and continue to learn. I can joyfully evangelize and as St. Peter instructs us:

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15

I know why I’m Catholic now. I know that the Catholic Church is the one Christ founded 2000 years ago. I know so much more than I did and I’m learning more about my faith than I ever thought possible – and I’m so excited to share it with you!