Saturday, February 27, 2010

TO FATHER MIKE, WHEREVER YOU ARE



Dear Father Mike,

I was very sorry to hear of your death this past week. I realize that you probably won't be reading this where you are right now, but thinking of you has brought back so many memories from when I was a member of the Roman Catholic Church that you pastored that I thought I would write.

You were a good and gentle man, Father Mike. You always had a smile for everyone, and you were there to lend a helping hand. When I asked for a discount on my kids' Catholic education, you agreed to it in a heartbeat. Several years later, after first communions and confirmations for the kids, as well as a conversion to Catholicism by my then-husband, you agreed to see me on short notice when I came to your office and told you that I had placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, based on what I had read in the Letter to the Romans, and that I could no longer remain a member of a church that did not preach the simple gospel of salvation as a free gift for simply believing that Christ died for the world's sins, was buried, and rose again. I was hoping that you would see this great truth as well, and the light would dawn in your eyes; and you would follow me in trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation, and stop trusting the teachings of your church. But it was not to be.

As a brand new believer, I was no match for the sophistry of a priest who had been thoroughly schooled in the works of Augustine, Aquinas, and Ignatius of Loyola; and you had me weeping with frustration in no time. You, of course, went back to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, and reminded me that Jesus said, “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19). “Which of the thousands of Protestant denominations was this church,” you asked me, “if not the Roman Catholic Church founded nearly two thousand years ago?” She may make some mistakes but she's the only church with the successors of Peter, and see how she has endured the test of time?

I had no good answers for you that day, Father Mike. I gathered up my husband's King James Bible and my other books and papers and thanked you for your time; but despite my feeling that I'd been bested by the best, I never again set foot in your church to worship, but only to attend a funeral or two. Your advice that I should perhaps consult a psychiatrist to help me deal with my “obsession” still stings after all these years.

Seventeen years and much study of God's word later, I've come to realize that the words of Christ in the four gospels are addressed exclusively to the nation of Israel, as the Lord himself proclaimed, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24). Our own apostle to the Body of Christ, Paul, wrote, “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Israel] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” (Rom. 15:8). The church that Christ founded upon the rock of Peter's confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah sent to save Israel was set aside following that chosen nation's rejection of him and his kingdom. (Acts 28:28). The Roman Catholic religion, based on these interrupted promises and doctrines, was on a mistaken path from its inception, leading countless souls from the truth of the no-strings-attached gospel given to Paul. The church which is his body,” has an inheritance in the heavenly places in Christ according to the revelation of the mystery the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ from heaven gave exclusively to Paul for us today found in his post-Acts period epistles.

Father Mike, wherever you find yourself this day, do you remember, either with thanks or with regret, that tearful housewife armed with the simple gospel of faith for salvation? I came to see you that day, not just to tell you that I quit your church and all its man-made traditions and commands, but to give you the key to escape from it yourself. Only God knows your heart, Michael; but the fact that you said the Sacrifice of the Mass and administered the Catholic sacraments to the “faithful” every day since that time speaks volumes about whether you ever used that key. Like the rich man in Hades, do you now long to send a message to those who wrongly trusted in the doctrines you taught? Abraham's declaration still holds true today, that if men don't heed the scriptures, "neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Jesus Christ told Israel, “the truth shall make you free,” and that's a truth for all ages, but only for those who are alive when they hear it, and not for those whose fate is now sealed.

Farewell, Father Mike, wherever you are.
Here's the whole story of my conversion.

3 comments:

Mark said...

Thank you Deborah I enjoyed reading that.

Deborah Collins said...

Thanks for reading it, Mark, and for your kind comment.

I just wish I could be sure that Fr. Mike is enjoying his afterlife experience, you know?

Deborah

lady said...
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