I am a first time poster here on this forum…..and have been praying about the following testimony….I have decided to put it in this category as I feel it may be found by those Catholics who have come searching for answers….
I came to know Jesus as my Saviour when I was 17yrs old, but stayed within the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) until this past year as I genuinely believed it was the “one true church”.
We are taught that from an early age and believed that our Protestant Christian brothers and sisters had sadly strayed from the one true faith and continue to keep “protesting” against one another and creating new churches….
Yes we viewed them as “Christians” but they sadly did not believe in the Eucharist nor the spiritual nourishment that it provides…along with a number of other rich “traditions”.
After my conversion, the Holy Spirit did what He does best….slowly convicting me of areas of sin in my life and guiding me in my search for truth.
I was very involved in the RCC…my entire school education was in Catholic Schools, I was involved in various Catholic ministries and so on…
Doctrine by doctrine I searched thru the RCC teachings to gain a better understanding of living as a Christian. The trouble being that the more I searched, read and prayed…the more Catholic conferences and leadership seminars I attended….the greater my doubts became.
I have also travelled to Rome and been in St Peters, visited the Vatican museum and so on….
I write this because I want to make it quite clear that I was not a non-practicing Catholic nor was I one that was un-educated in the teachings of the Catholic faith and the catechism….
One by one I found myself disagreeing with the RCC teachings – eventually I realised that there was more I disagreed with than I agreed with.
In essence I stopped being “catholic” as to be truly catholic one needs to be in agreement with all the churches teachings - submitting to the magisterium of the church in regard to dogmas and doctrine.
I have always strived to live an honest life with integrity…I realised that I could not really call myself a Catholic when I disagreed with so many of the Churches teachings.
I had seen many of my Christian friends “Church hopping and shopping” and that lifestyle did not really appeal to me or seem at all encouraging….
I prayed that God would convict me and lead me….
The 2 things that I had always believed was 1. The Papacy and 2. the Eucharist.
Therefore I had stayed in the RCC…..
But God was about to remove the final scales from my eyes…..it is amazing to me now when I look back on it. You know, for years and years I could read thru John chapter 6 and could only see it for the Catholic interpretation of it….and for many years I failed to understand how my Christian friends could read thru the “I am the bread of life” discourse and not see the truth of the Eucharist in it!!
Perhaps the Holy Spirit decided at what time it was best to remove those scales …or perhaps me not attending the RCC consistently over a period of 18 months was a catalyst….maybe both.
You see I have 3 young children. Following the birth of my youngest I have had a number of health problems…that coupled with littlies getting childhood sickness – meant that I was not attending church as frequently as I would have liked to.
When I could not attend church – I would spend some time at home in prayer and praise and reading God’s word – in an attempt to unite myself with my brothers and sisters in Christ who were attending church.
It was my desire to be fellowshipping and I believe God honoured that – He took me by the hand and fed me Himself from His word.
Then one day when I was reading the scripture from Matthew 16 13-20 ( this is where Catholics believe that Christ made Peter the first pope and thus began the papal succession).
However I read that particular passage and the Holy Spirit peeled the scales off my eyes and showed me that this verse does not mean that at all!!
Wow – what a revelation…..so now if I could not trust the papal succession and it’s “authority” what else of the RCC teachings could I trust? Surely the Eucharist is based on truth???
Well I opened up my Bible and read the whole of John 6 (in fact John 5-7) and the Holy Spirit set to work removing the scales from my eyes again……I was dumbfounded at first…..I could not believe that I had read theses passages so many times over the years and suddenly I saw them for what they truly were….
And I realised that the truth of the Eucharist is – that it is not transformed into the body and blood of Jesus at all…..this came as quite a shock for me…..as a catholic I had always shown great reverence and respect for the Eucharist….I believed (as all good Catholics do) that we had been given this gift by Jesus himself to strengthen us in our spiritually journey here….
And here came the biggie…..if I was worshipping the consecrated host as Jesus (which we are taught and which I did) and it is not Jesus…..then I am worshipping a false idol!!!
I repeat…worshipping the Eucharist as God - if it is not – is idolatry!!!
Well you could have blown me down with a feather!!
I find it rather interesting that many Christians take Catholics to task re idol worship and statues and so on…..the truth is that whilst there may be some Catholics who use religious artwork/sculptures as idols…most actually do not….all Catholics however do participate in the Eucharist! And when I say all – I mean those who are practicing Catholics as opposed to nominal or cultural Catholics.
So after reading these scriptures with eyes opened – I had a serious think about what the teachings surrounding the Eucharist involve….and I was brought to great sorrow.
I repented and asked God for forgiveness for participating in this and I thanked the Holy Spirit for convicting my heart of this….and then I realised…I must have no more to do with this falsehood….God convicted my heart to leave the catholic church.
In some ways it was easy to do – one does not argue with God when He gives marching orders lol!!
However – this had been my “spiritual place of belonging” for so long – people I had grown up with since birth…people I regarded as my brothers and sisters in Christ….wonderful, kind people who I believe are genuinely seeking after The Lord as best they can….even the parish priest was a lovely man with a huge heart of love and compassion….
But God is so very kind and merciful…and He provides the strength we need when our own fails us!
I have reason to believe that there is indeed a “spiritual” nature to the Eucharist….only I don’t believe this spirit to be that of God!
I believe that one of the reasons so many Catholics who find Jesus as their saviour – but stay in the church – is because of the spiritual blindness inflicted by participation in the Eucharist….
When I broke the news to my devout Catholic mum about my decision – she asked how did I get on without the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist as she believed this had been so beneficial to her in her spiritual life…..I told her that God is so good and faithful and loves me so much that His word provides me with the spiritual nourishment that I need….that indeed Jesus has chosen to live in me and because I am sealed with the Holy spirit I can trust in Him and the promise of salvation that He has given me so freely!
So I would say to those Catholics who are reading this…be not afraid….ask God to guide you with His Holy Spirit….
There are many who speak very ill of Catholics and the RCC….and even though I have left – I want to say this …..despite what some may have said on this board or elsewhere…the Spirit of God is moving in and working in the hearts of many within the RCC….leading people to the knowledge and joy of salvation, convicting people of their sinfulness, strengthening and guiding those who are genuinely seeking after God!
Just as He is working in all Christian Churches despite their false teachings and sinful greedy practices….it is the Father’s desire that no one be lost and that all would come to repentance and belief and trust in who Jesus is and what He accomplished on the cross for us!
Yes there is false teachings in many churches….some minor ones and some very serious ones – we must all ask God to guide us in His truth and be open to His leading in our lives.
I thank God for setting me free from falsehood and my prayer is that many others will also come to have their spiritual blindness healed