19 Comments

Book Review: “Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal” by Sarah J. Richardson

 lifegreynunneryWhen one gets a glimpse into the evils of Romanism perpetuated in the name of Jesus throughout history, words are hard to find to express the tempest of emotions roiling within.  Here, the account of Sarah J. Richardson and her years spent in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal are no exception.  Incredulity, shock, grief, loathing and more will flood your heart as you read the incredible account of her years spent imprisoned in this whitewashed sepulcher, which indeed appeared outwardly beautiful, but inwardly was full of all manner of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.

The book starts by providing a little background on Sarah’s earliest years and how her partially intoxicated father, in an act he thought for her best interests, gave his daughter away to the nunnery.  Sarah recalls this painful time of parting from her father by writing:

I am sure my father did not realize what he was doing. Had he waited for a little reflection, he would never have consented to such an arrangement, and my fate would have been quite different. But as it was, he immediately sent for the priest, and gave me to him, to be provided for, as his own child, until I was of age. I was then to be allowed to go out into the world if I chose. To this, Priest Dow consented. … Though I was at that time but six years old, I remember perfectly, all that passed upon that memorable occasion. I did not then comprehend the full meaning of what was said, but I understood enough to fill my heart with sorrow and apprehension.

But reflect on what he was doing was not to be for Sarah’s father, for his mind was made up and for his rashness he would never again see his daughter.  And so Sarah was torn away from her family and the world at large and carried away unto the world of the convent from which the eyes of most are prevented from venturing too deep into its hidden recesses.

From here Sarah begins the recollection of her life and the strict discipline and monastic life she was subjected to.  Something for which Roman Catholics are well known for where self-denial and beating of the body are held in high esteem.  As far as discipline is concerned, the nunnery was marked by it where the slightest infringement of the law of the land could yield the harshest of penalties.  One such law was that the children were not to speak, nay not even to groan or turn on their sides at night lest they cause the least bit of disturbance to the “holy” silence so cherished in convents.

This “holy” silence was to be observed throughout the convent where the nuns had to walk on their tip toes, and upon opening and closing a door had to do so with the utmost of care so as to not disturb the “peace.”  A rule which Sarah found herself mistakenly breaking when one morning in haste, she closed the door much to quickly where “it came together with a loud crash.”  We pick up her story where she writes about what happened next.

On entering the room, I found the Superior waiting for me; in her hand she held a stick about a foot long, to the end of which was attached nine leather strings, some twelve or fifteen inches long, and about the size of a man’s little finger. She bade me come to her, in a voice so cold and stern it sent a thrill of terror through my frame, and I trembled with the apprehension of some impending evil. I had no idea that she was about to punish me, for I was not aware that I had done anything to deserve it; but her looks frightened me, and I feared,–I know not what. She took hold of my arm, and without saying a word, gave me ten or twelve strokes over the head and shoulders with this miniature cat-o’-nine-tails. … But when I began to cry, and beg to go to my father, she sternly bade me stop crying at once, for I could not go to my father. I must stay there, she said, and learn to remember all her commands and obey then. She then taught me the following verse:

   I am a little nun,
The sisters I will mind;
When I am pretty and learn,
Then they will use me kind.
I must not be so noisy
When I go about the house,
I’ll close the doors so softly
They’ll think I am a mouse.

And so began the life of Sarah in the convent.  A life which would be filled with torments and griefs that far surpassed her beating for closing the door too loudly.  Beatings not for her alone though but for all within its walls who dared to violate the orders of the Superior and priests, not matter how inane or petty they were.

More can be said but the reader of this post is encouraged to take the time and read this book for themselves.  In posting this I know many will outright dismiss Sarah’s account as the ravings of a lunatic or the ramblings of yet another anti-Catholic conspirator. To this charge the reader would be well advised to study the history of Rome before making such a hasty verdict.  For we only need to look back a few years to recall the horrors and abject wickedness of Romanism brought into the light as the “sex scandal” became headline news.  Horrors that if protested against before this story broke, would have met with the same denial, incredulity and ridicule.

Or, one should peer back a little into history at the time of the inquisitions to find that men were of such hardened hearts that they could inflict the most horrible of terrors upon those who would not submit to the Papacy.  All of which that Rome would assiduously deny until there was so much proof she could do nothing but slink back into her corner.

19 comments on “Book Review: “Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal” by Sarah J. Richardson

  1. Amen and may the Lord bless you for bringing this demonic practice into the light.

  2. Of course, this was written in the 1850’s. A different time, a different culture.

  3. Ted – the culture of the cult of Rome has not changed. Their gospel and theology are demonic and that perspective works it way into the lives of people who buy into it in myriad ways.

  4. I didn’t know they had such draconian punishments like that against nuns. Just goes to show that no matter how “clean” they are on the outside they really are full of dead man’s bones~

  5. Did she become a believer of Jesus Christ?

  6. I had to attend catholic school from 1957 to 1966 and those nuns were a miserable lot. They were harsh, rude, prejudice and plain ol’ mean. There are no “fun” memories of my early education. I would never subject any child to what I even had to endure. I’m sure that Sarah had to endure hell to survive such darkness. I pray that she finally was able to meet the real God of the universe who is full of tender mercy and kindness. (the Psalms provide a more wonderful description of the attributes of God), Before I was called out of darkness, I imagined God as an older man dressed in white, with long white hair with a sword in his hand ready to slay anyone who was in a state of “mortal sin.” (mortal vs. venial sin/ a catholic belief). I never knew the love of God until I started to devour the word of God (something that is not encouraged in Catholicism). The Truth will set you free. Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life.

  7. awesome testimony juile. It just grieves my heart that people who are Catholic don’t really know the tender mercies and love of God in Christ. Until our sins are taken away by the ONLY ONE who paid for our sins by the shedding of his blood in our place, that wall of enmity of rebellion of being separated from God and His love pouring in our hearts cannot be known.

    I remember when God saved me that was the most profound truth that became real the moment Jesus came in my life, there was a flood of witness of God’s love. I was able to forgive a person in my life who had hurt me so badly for the first time. I could not before then.

    When I talked to my sister in law who was Catholic and had been hurt really badly similarly, she could not understand how I could EVER forgive. She said she could with her lips but she could never forget what the person did. I told her that we cannot truly forgive anyone until we are forgiven FIRST by GOD through the only way to recieve such forgiveness. Now she goes on in life imprisoned and tortured and full of anger bitterness and hate and it just grieves my heart~

    Jesus is so so gentle and has NEVER done me wrong ever! If there’s pain and hurt and anger in a person’s life it’s symptomatic of SIN. I pray people would stop trying to placate their sins with band-aids such as traditions of men but would go directly to JESUS~

  8. very interesting, and i will certainly be praying for this abused person, my hope is that the prayers that i make today will some how, in eternity, make it to this woman and that she may be comforted by the one who offers His own sufferings for our sake.
    it would be foolish of me to believe that i can break through strong prejudices and difficulties, but i would like to let you all know that i am a faithful Catholic and have been my entire life (well, maybe not always faithful, but always Catholic, but i’ve worked on that, and i am still working on it, in the hope that Our Lord will help me get to Him in the end) and, quite frankly, i can’t immagine a more intimate relationship with God the Father, His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit (you may have thought that i have already contradicted myself, because earlier i mentioned that i’m still working on being better, but that’s just the piont, Christ is with me on my journey to the ultimate Home that He calls me to, and each step of the journey leads to a more intimate relationship with my Lord as i get to know and love Him better, and as He reveals more and more about myself to me, you see, He already knows me perfectly, it’s i who need the lesson, but i digress). one may say in retort: of course you cannot immagine, because you’ve never witnessed the joys and freedom of a true Bible Christian. to which i would reply, i am a true Bible Christian as a Catholic. i come here to give a voice and a witness to a, seemingly (at least on what little i have read from this paricular blog), demonized and unrepresented section of Christianity (yes Christianity, not cult, not idol worshipers, or even saint worshipers).
    let me say this about some of my fellow Catholics: i would be lying to tell you that the atrocities represented in this book, and even, to go further, the atrocities of several priests throughout the past decades can be reasonalby explained and examined and found to be a mere mishap of history, or bad psycholigical situation, or any other type of sweeping under the rug statement, those things happened, they were evil, wrong, bad, sinful, etc. what i can say, is that as sinful, evil, bad, wrong, etc that these things are, they are but a drop in the ocean of Our Lord’s Mercy, and i pray for the victims of these sins, and those who have committed these sins, and may God reach them, and make them (the sinners, not the sin) into His image.
    with that, i have already written far too much, i am here because i like dialog, and who better to speak with than folks that SEEM to not like anything about my Catholic Faith which has borne in me a fantastic and true relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    God bless you and God love you

  9. Matt,

    You say “well, maybe not always faithful, but always Catholic, but i’ve worked on that, and i am still working on it, in the hope that Our Lord will help me get to Him in the end” – – – this statement says much about what you believe. You are working towards earning God’s favor in hopes of gaining eternal life, correct?God is waiting for you to work hard and long enough to get to Him, which is what your statement implies. You are misinformed as to what salvation actually is…a gift. Salvation is not humanly attainable by works Matt, that is where the Roman Catholic church leads you astray. You simply can never win God’s favor on your own, and Christ does not need your works to help get you to heaven. All our works are like filthy rags – Is. 64:6 – which is comparable to something that is very disgusting, female monthly soiled rags.
    What your religion fails to teach is that salvation is by grace, through faith, that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast, this is found in Ephesians 2:8-9. A gift is something given to someone without merit, you do not earn this gift. Faith is given as well and is part of this gift. When you try and earn your way to heaven, you go directly against what is being stated in these verses. Be forewarned, Christ warned repeatedly of false teachers deceiving; a false teacher disguises themselves as priests, pastors, popes, forms of religion.

    You must be born again Matt, and that is not humanly attainable either, read John 1:13

    My intent is not to attack you, but to give you the truth in hopes that God will open your mind to this truth.

  10. Well said, sister! Pray that the Lord gives Matt ears to hear.

  11. unworthy1 & and Manfred: thank you for our very chartible and Christian response. Praise God, for good discussion and dialog.

    now, i’d like to clarify my position that was misunderstood. first, let me assure you, as one who is has been Catholic my entire life, that nowhere does the Catholic church teach that salvation is something that can be earned, and, again, Praise God for the abundance of Truth found in His Holy Word and thank you for bringing these Truths to light in your response. your name on this comment sections says it all, unworthy, i, along with everyone else, am extremely, ultimately unworthy to receive the grace of God, but in His perfect and abundant love He took up His cross for me and has made His most Holy and Saving grace available to me, completely free and independent of any action or work of my own. So, in summation, Christ’s Saving grace is always and forever freely available for me to accept and receive. The only, and for lack of a better term, condition to receiving this grace is that i accept it. So to be clear, there is nothing i can do to earn Salvation, it is soley on the merits of Jesus Christ that i am Saved.

    allow me to clarify the mentioned statement in your comment. let me start with the first part, “well, maybe not always faithful, but always Catholic” my intention was to be honest to my current imperfect and sinful condition. being “faithful” (that is to say “faithful Catholic”), in this context, is to pursue the perfection that Christ calls us (inclusive, as all people, especially Christians) to (Matt 5:48), by being the best reflection of Christ in my thoughts, words, and actions, and as a sinful man, i fail in my thoughs, words, and actions frequently, and in that sense i am not being failthful to the Catholic faith, and thus unfaithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ. and as far as the last part of that statement “but always Catholic” i was simply mentioning that i have never not been a member of the Catholic Church.

    let me continue, “but i’ve worked on that, and i am still working on it, in the hope that Our Lord will help me get to Him in the end”, after reading your comment i can see how one could interpret this statement as you did. when i said “i’ve worked on that” meaning, there was a time when i was very apethetic to my faith and my relationship with Christ, and to say that “i am still working on it” is to say that i am not yet perfect (again, in the light of Matt 5:48). and finally, “in the hope that Our Lord will help me get to Him in the end”, this is the most confusing, and i admit, very poorly atricualted point, i am not trying to say that i have to work toward earning Christ’s grace and maybe He’ll lend me hand on the way. i am trying, again, to recongize and honestly present myself as a sinful man, and to recongize my capacity to reject and disgard the glorious free gift of Salvation that Christ has given me. now, Christ in His abundant love is continuously giving me this gift, but until i again turn from my sin and accept the gift once more, i am in a state of sin and not a state of salvation/grace. also, in the last part of this statement my intention was to convey a belief that i have of heaven. i believe that there is no sin, that is to say that there are no imperfections, in heaven; a way that i, and the Catholic church, have used to describe heaven is Perfect Communion with God. so by saying i hope “Our Lord will help me get to Him in the end” is to say that i hope that in the end i will be perfected (agian Matt 5:48) in Him and with Him in heaven.

    agian, sorry for the lengthy response, i thank you for the dialog and for hearing what i have to say, please keep me in your prayers, you will be in mine.

    God bless you and God love you
    ——
    quick fix, i made a typo in my salutation, “our response” is supposed to say “your response”

  12. Matt,

    I appreciate your kindness in discussing your beliefs. I do wonder why every Catholic first and foremost pledges allegiance to the Roman Catholic church and tells others they are Catholic; I do not adhere to any denomination because I am a follower of Christ , that is of utmost importance.

    You hope to be perfected in Him and with Him, how does that work? Do you understand imputed righteousness?

    Do you understand total depravity, that we are all dead in sin {Ephesians 2:1, 5}, in bondage to sin {John 8:34}, therefore, we are unable to accept Jesus and His offer of salvation without the regenerating work of God {John 1:13}?

    I look forward to hearing back from you Matt.

    Lyn

  13. Lyn, thanks again for the dialog,

    i can’t speak for others (even other Catholics), but for myself to be Catholic is to be a follower of Christ, and i would say that mentioning Catholic and following up by saying that i am a Christian or i am a follower of Christ, the first part (i am Catholic) is a pronouncement, an identifier, and the follow up is a definition of terms, because not everybody knows that Catholics are Christians.

    as far as i understand imputed righteousness, it is God from whom all righteousness comes and it is a gift freely given and must be accepted as such (you can lead a horse to water…). i believe that the difference here is ontological (the account/study of being). i believe that the righteousness that God offers changes my very being from one of a fallen nature to that, in the end (that is to say at the end of this life), of a Holy and Glorified (or perfect) nature that will, in eternity, be a Blessed Son of God with Him forever in heaven.

    in response to total depravity, i would apeal to the reality of free will that God has endowed man (inclusive, not chauvinistic, but in reference to all humans) by virtue of being made in His image and likeness. i do believe in original sin and concupiscence. original sin being man’s fallen nature and concupiscence being the inclination to temptation (what makes temptation tempting). i believe that the will of God is by definition “good” or “right” and i believe that God is the source of all love (desiring the greatest and best for another, agape), and any expression of goodness or of love finds it’s origin in God. so, what does all that mean? it means that we have the capacity to choose to allow God to work in and through us or to deny Him. this is what i mean when i say “to be perfected in Him and with Him”, i am changed through my relationship with God, nothing i can do can change how God sees me or feels about me, He always sees me as His beloved creation and He always loves me perfectly, but the more that i come to know Him, through prayer, worship, reading the Bible, etc. the more open i am to the work that He does with and through me. i am perfected insofar as i participate/accept in His saving work, alas i still have many temptations that i choose to act upon and by acting on those temptations i freely choose, in those moments of fraility, weakness, cowardice, etc and deny the work that God does in me and i am in need of repentence and forgiveness. Praise God for His Mercy in allowing the best that man has to offer into His great splender of heaven, let alone offering that same reward to a man as frail as me.

    i do tend to rant, and i hope that i stayed on topic, if not, please call me to task and i will do my best to do better.

    God bless you and God love you

  14. Matt,
    Can you point me to Scripture that commands us to profess being Catholic? I ask because Christ does not call us to be Catholic, or Baptist, or Presbyterian, etc…He calls us to repent and believe solely in His finished work-completely.

    Righteousness is not freely given Matt, nor is it something you can take or leave. This is where the Catholic Church fails to properly teach, to be delcared righteous is a legal term. The Catholic Church teaches this is something attainable, but that is not what the term actually means. God ‘declares righteous’ those who have been born from above, by His mighty power {this is called regeneration}.
    “To be justified before God {declared righteous} is a legal term indicating the process of declaring righteous. Justification is composed of two Latin words, justus, meaning just or righteous, and facio, meaning to make. According to an understanding of justification found in the Latin Vulgate Bible, it is a process in which the individual becomes intrinsically holy. The Medievel Church taught this process was brought about by the sacraments and if that wasn’t enough, purgatory, where punishment for sins that have not been adequately confessed and forgiven may be worked off and a true intrinsic righteousness may be attained. Martin Luther discovered that this accepted understanding of justification was mistaken. The Greek term, which is quite different from the Latin translation, does NOT refer to intrinsic change in the individual at all, but rather a declaration made by God. It is what a judge does in court when he declares a person to be a right standing before the law.” – by Dr. James Boice, from his book ‘whatever happened to the gospel of grace?’

    As for your understanding of total depravity, to correctly understand this biblical truth means you understand there is NO free will. In Ephesians 2:1 we read ‘And you were dead in your trespasses and sins'; let me ask you this Matt, do dead people respond to anything? It is impossible, which is why we cannot choose anything concerning Christ, the Gospel, or any biblical truth. We are all unable to respond because we are all dead in sin, in bondage to it. It is only when God rebirths a sinner {the doctrine of regeneration} that one can respond to the Gospel message and spiritual matters. Go on a little further and you will read this in verse 5, ‘even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ’. God is the one who makes us alive, we do not do because of some free will.

    Yes Matt, God is love, BUT, first and foremost, He is HOLY. He must punish sin because of His absolute holiness, and yet, Christ made atonement for sin for those who would believe. You must trust only in Christ, not in churches, denominations, religions, etc. Christ atoned for sin, the sins of those who understand their own depravity and wickedness. Remember this Matt, Christ died for the ungodly {Romans 5:6}.

  15. Lyn, thanks agian for the dialog, i am truly loving learning more about the your relationship with Christ and i love the opportunity to go deeper and deeper into my faith and continue to grow closer to Christ by pondering His work in my life and in others. Bless His Most Holy and Righteous Name!!

    I know it’s the last thing that you mention in your response, but it stood out to me the most. and i would disagree that God is Love first and then all other things fall into place. it is because of the love that He has, is, and gives that He can be called HOLY, GOOD, RIGHTEOUS, JUST, MERCIFUL, etc. the Love that God has expressed since before always in the relationship and unity of the Trinity was (to put in temporal terms for our understanding) around long before any creation. God the Father so perfectly Loves God the Son, and God the Son so perfectly receives that Love and returns that Love to the Father, and that relationship of Love is so perfect that it in itself is another person of the Holy Trinity. God is the one who Loves (Father), the one who is Loved (Son, Jesus Christ), and the very relationship of Love (Holy Spirit), since before any creation, in perfect unity. and it was out of that Love that He created. AMEN!

    As far as the profession to being Catholic, or any other denomination for that matter, it is not in the Bible. one could point to Christ praying in the garden before His crucifixion in John 17:20-ff, where He prays that all who believe in Him will remain one as He and the Father are one, but all we get from that is call for unity. i don’t see why the term Catholic (both terms Catholic and Christian were meant to identify a smaller group of people based on a relationship that they shared; just as American or Greek or Italian or Southern etc) or any other identifier is such a stubling block, for instance, you say that you belong to no denomination, that you identify yourself merely as a follower of Christ, that is what you identify with. it is very broad, but it is an idenifier and a look into the way that you believe. i identify what i believe with Catholic, which is to say that i am a follower of Christ who believes that the in the teaching of the Catholic Church is found the truth about Christ, and through which Christ normally relates to humanity (God is so much bigger than the Catholic Church, and His ways are far more vast; He may work and reveal Himself to others not in the Church).

    So where is the Catholic Church in the Bible, here’s how i see it (feel free to disagree): Christ founded the Catholic Church on Peter and Promised that that church would never die (Matt 16:18-19), i believe that Christ sent His church out into the world to preach the Gospel (Matt 28:18-ff), with the very same Authority that the Father had given Him (John 20:21-ff), i believe that Christ intended that this chruch be the ultimate authority in matters of faith and morals (Matt 18:15-20), i believe this church survived by the passing on of sacred traditions, word of mouth, letters, and study of scriptures (2 Thes 2:15; 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Tim 3:16; btw the scriptures that St. Paul refers to here cannot include the New Testament because it had yet to be assembled at the writing of this letter to Timothy), i believe this church is the pillar and bulwark (defender) of Truth (1 Tim 3:15), and finally, i believe that only one Church has existed as long as described above and operates as described above, and that Church is the Catholic Church. the first people to be named/identified as Christians (not a title they gave themselves but a name their persecuters gave them) and later in their history when other traditions broke away from this Chruch they then labled/identified those who belong to that Church as Catholic (meaning universal; not bound by a region but open and available to all; and again not a self imposed title but a title given to them by others, and it caught on).

    i have just returned from lunch and i must admit that i have lost my train of thought/momentum in answering your latest response so i’ll end with this. i do very much believe in free will, we are free to choose many things and i believe that freedom is the ability to choose the good. from an outsiders perspective, to deny the existence of free will in the very creations that God made in His image for Himself is to deny the perfect love that God has. yes, we are dead to sin in our fallen state, and yes we are reborn in Christ and made a new creation in Him, but ultimately it is our choice to choose Him instead of something else (most of the time, i would imagine this second choice is ourselves) as my favorite author C.S. Lewis (a non-Catholic) says: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”

    may the Lord’s peace be with you this weekend, i’ll check this post again on Tuesday, have a wonderful day and weekend.

    God bless you and God love you

  16. Matt,
    Let me give you an example, you said God is love first and foremost, so if unbelievers die without Christ, will God punish them because He is holy and just and must punish sin, or will He lovingly let them off the hook? Which attribute is the one that all others flow from?
    I must warn you, you can give your opinions and views on what you think and believe, but if they are not backed by His word, they are worthless. The Bible teaches that the human heart {mind} is deceitful and desperately wicked {Jer. 17:9}, such a mind is not trustworthy when it comes to spiritual matters. We all have minds like this, and we all are depraved in our thinking. That is why we cannot trust our own thoughts, feelings and understanding on what the word of God says. The Spirit of God illuminates the word of God in those who are born from above.

    As for adhering to and professing to be a Catholic, where is your scripture to back the necessity of such a claim? You name your loyalty to your church FIRST, which is very telling. You defend it with a slew of opinions and beliefs, but no scriptural support…interesting.

    Let’s tackle this…’Christ founded the Catholic Church on Peter and Promised that that church would never die (Matt 16:18-19)’…more lies taught by the RCC. Christ is the head of the church, not Peter. Due to limited space, I will give you a link to read concerning this http://vintage.aomin.org/Epitetaute.html
    Let me ask you this Matt, can you point me to a verse that speaks of the office of popery?

    As for the word ‘church’, this is from ekklesia, meaning ‘called out ones’.
    That is not a reference to any one denomination, certainly not the RCC. If Christ’s church were limited to that single denomination, then why doesn’t He speak of it? The reason is because His church is made up of sinners saved by Him from all walks of life and all parts of the world.

    This is enough for now, I do hope you read the article I provided in the above link. If you still insist on believing Christ built His church on a sinful man after reading the article, I would ask you for a scripturally backed response with more than just one verse taken out of context.

  17. Dear Matt,
    I was a devout Catholic for all my life until 2 years ago. Like you, I was always Catholic and not always faithful. I tried to follow the rules. Attending mass every Sunday, holy days of obligation, I said my rosary, prayed to the Saints, even went to world youth day to see the Pope. I was in a Catholic charismatic prayer group, a rosary group and attended Franciscan University.I didn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent and read the Catholic Catechism. I always felt I was in the “right” church founded by Peter. I also truly loved the God of my understanding.
    Then a crisis hit in my life.. My devout Catholic friends told me I was lucky to be in crisis because I could save a lot of souls by offering up my suffering. They thought God would listen to my prayers because I was sick, so they would call me and ask me to use my suffering to get their prayers answered. This is a common Catholic thought. This started to irritate me big time. My idea of God and consistent with Catholic theology is that suffering is good, and the more you suffer, the closer to God you are. I started to resent God. He wanted me to suffer and I felt like he just didn’t like me or would not here me.
    During this time I tried to put my son into catholic school, they refused to help me in the crisis. I tried three times. I then put him into a Christian academy in which the school bent over backwards with love to help me. I met wonderful Christian people. They recognized the crisis in my life and reached out to me. They helped meet our needs and their love overwhelmed our family. I did not get this response from Catholic friends and not from my church. This started my search. Are these the people I was supposed to bring into the “holy catholic church and convert?” The ones who witnessed Jesus to me??
    I started to read the bible, reformed theology and the catholic church, Martin Luther, and what the Inquisition was about. I read for a year about 30 books. I found huge contradictions to the Catholic church and the bible. Ones I could not ignore. I realized I was an idol worshiper, I bowed down to bread and I knelled before statues and prayed to created beings-Mary and the saints. I realized the apostles never did any of this stuff and it was all added later with the help of tradition and Constantine. My family and I through out our statues, relics, rosaries and trusted in Christ’s finished work on the cross. It was liberating and scary at the same time. My family is Irish Catholic, and you just don’t do that. But Joy replaced all fear and my husband and I were filled with unexplainable joy in our salvation. We realized there was no ladder high enough to climb. HE PAID IT ALL FOR US. THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO TO EARN SALVATION. This brought us so much joy, Matt. To be born again is to realize you can’t do anything ANYTHING, to save yourself. What a Savior!! You can’t add anything to His blood. Not holy days, not abstinence from meat or rule following. For this is the GOSPEL OF JESUS AND THE GOOD NEWS. Good News is just that! I pray you can come to an understanding of this FREE gift. Because He loves you that much. You will never have to work at being good. You will find freedom from sin and live for Him knowing that when you die, the Father will see Jesus’ blood when He sees you. His blood is enough to cover you completely. In Passover, the blood that covered the door was what was needed to pass over the house.No one knocked on the door asking for a list of sins. Stand under the cross and that is what the Father sees.
    Blessings to you Matt. Grace and Love, Sue

    PS. Please ignore my spelling errors! :)

  18. Wow such an incredible testimony sueliz1. Makes me have that renewed JOY in my heart for Jesus.. Hallelujah!!!!
    Thanks for sharing~

  19. continued thanks to all who have responded out of love, and all who are reading this conversation, i hope that it intrigues you as much as it continues to intrigue me.

    Lyn, you wrote: “Let me give you an example, you said God is love first and foremost, so if unbelievers die without Christ, will God punish them because He is holy and just and must punish sin, or will He lovingly let them off the hook? Which attribute is the one that all others flow from?” and i stand by my assertion that God is Love first and formost. as to your question about punishment, in this case eternal punishment, i would answer that it is because God is Love that there is a hell. that statement could seem very curious, if not scandalous, but let’s investigate it. God Loves all of His creations perfectly, and if a person, through his/her thoughts, words, actions, etc, has made him/herself into a creature that does not adore God first and chooses to adore another thing/s in God’s place, in other words, this person desires most something other than God (or in your words, dies withouth Christ), in the end, God loves them so much that He gives that person what s/he wants/desires, which is not God, and in the depravity that person has chosen hell over heaven. that was the point of the quote from Lewis, the heavenly being (made heavenly with/through/in Christ) comes to the end of his/her life saying to the Lord, “Thy will be done” and the hellish being (without Christ) comes to the end and the Lord tells them, “thy will be done”, and He does say that out of Love. one of my favorite speakers today is Dr. Peter Kreeft, and he likens the heaven/hell decision/state to prefernece in music, he himself enjoys classical music and dispises heavy metal. if he were to attend a symphony and brought a metalhead, so to speak, this experience would be heavenly to him but hellish to his friend, and if they were to attend a metal concert, he would be in hell where his friend would be in heaven. here’s what Dr. Kreeft is trying to convey. like the music being played in either of these circumstances, the person in audience is surrounded by the Love of God, and the person who chooses to love God first, finds his meaning in God and His Love throught Christ, he could not be filled with more joy, where as the other person who desires something other than God in the place of God and is without Christ, that person is tormented and the experience is hell. all analogies are imperfect, but i think this conveys the major point that God gives those who do not choose Him what they want, and True Joy and Blessedness can only be found with God and to be without Him is hell. which is, agian, why i beleive that God gives us a free will that we may freely choose to follow Him, and it is that choice that changes us, that makes us a heavenly being, but it is a choice that we struggle with throughout our lives because we are a fallen people and it is only with, through, and in Christ that we are made into the people that He created us to be, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

    thank you, Lyn, for the link, i found it interesting, but, to be honest, i know a word here or there of Greek, and for all i know the author of that article could have told me that this verb or tense meant that Jesus was talking about a specific rock that he was pointing to when he said “on this rock” and i wouldn’t know the difference, it is truely all Greek to me (i’m sorry, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, i felt punny). with that said, i don’t want to dismiss this information, but i do want to learn more and investigate the issue with the authorities that i have, friends and such, that did study Greek and help me better understand both the text and the arguments.

    one thing that i can respond to is that, as you so beautifully put it, “Christ is the head of the Church not Peter” and to that i say AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!! Christ is the head of the Church and if i ever misrepresented that i, again, beg your forgiveness. without Christ at the center, as a matter of fact, without Christ as the center and summit of the Catholic Chruch, it would be all the things that many accuse it of being, if not worse, but the fact of the matter is that Christ is at the center and it is Him that we Catholics flock to. as for the office of Pope or even Bishop, these titles are not used in the Bible, but the offices are mentioned. notice how in Acts that whenever the apostles and presbyters meet (also notice that when they meet they meet on their own, away from the “church”) that a teaching is brought forth, and who is it that leads those meetings, or atleast to whom do they stop discussion to listen to, Peter. was Peter perfect, one can read any Gospel or basically any book/letter in the new testament to see that he isn’t. but, “AH-HA!” you say, “don’t you claim that the Pope is infallible, and now you just said that Peter was fallible, so even by your definition of Pope, Peter doesn’t fit” (sorry for the childish banter, i mean no disrespect, i’m just feeling a little goofy right now). to which i reply, you’re mistaking infallable for impeccable, and you’re broadening the term further than any Catholic would. we believe that the very fallible person/sinner who holds the office of Pope, when instructing the faithful on matters of faith and morals speaks/teaches/instructs infallilby, in other words, we (the faithful, the Church, ekklesia) get quite and listen (i hope you are not scandalized by this, and i anxiously await your response).

    also, on the matter of a “single denomination”, first off there were no denominations when Christ founded His Church. to be Christian meant you belonged to this community of believers, lead and instructed by the apostles and presbyters (others who were not apostles whom the apostles ordained/passed on/gave authority to; aka bishops, teachers/instructors who were seperate from the greater ekklesia to make pronoucements on faith and morals, led by Peter; Acts 15 for one example). the “Catholic Church” as a title for Christians didn’t exist, neither did the term Christians for that matter, the people who followed Christ at the time were known as followers of “The Way” (“derek”, not the name of a person, but a Hebrew word, see earlier comment about the title “Catholic”, alas, you find that title in the Bible either).

    i don’t want to be one of those guys who spouts off a hundred differnt things that aren’t mentioned in the Bible, soda, America, cell phones, toilets, etc, but to a certain degree they have a point. and whats more is that the Bible wasn’t even put together until the 4th century, by whom you ask, well a council of Bishops in the Catholic Church (i know if you’ve ever spoken with a knowlegable Catholic that you saw this coming, so don’t be surprised, get read for some more go-to Catholic stuff… ready… go!). there were Christians for hundreds of years before a Bible was put together, and to say “that the assembled books we now have were the essential books that everyone basically used so you don’t know what you’re talking about” is false, if that were the case then there wouldn’t have been so many heresies that had to be squashed, and who properly stood firm and defended the faith, councils of Bishops in the Catholic Church (btw, to assume that any assembly of books were being used by the populous or the greater “ekklesia” is also false seeing as how most, and by most i would say a conservative estimate would be 80%, of the population was illiterate). i’m not trying to deminish the importance or the validity of the Bible, i, as a Catholic, believe that the Bible is the Word of God, that these scriptures are God-breathed, but i also believe that God left us with a way to interpret His Word, to sustain His people and always come to the proper meaning of His Word, and that way is the Church, more specifically the teaching body of the Church, the Magesterium (that’s right, you guessed it), aka the Bishops in union with the Pope, “the pillar and bulwark of Truth”.

    Wow, sometimes you just type and type and type, Lyn, how you feel about writing a book together, showing the differnt perspectives of faith, and an example of how to hold a charitable discussion amongst someone you may not agree entirely with. it may be about 1000 pages long, but it would be interesting, lol

    as always, God bless you and God love you
    ————
    Sue, thank you for your testamony, i’m deeply sorry for the pains and suffering that you have gone through, and i hope that you are found deep in the love that Christ offers, and i wish you and everyone else the grace and peace of our Lord.

    i pray that you are able to forgive those who made you feel unwelcome in the Catholic Church, and i pray for them as well, that they may be open to receive as Christ received.

    God bless you and God love you

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