The email surprised me. My parish priest had invited me to read a book along with he and three others from our church. The book, ” Forming Intentional Disciples” was to be read one chapter at a time and with discussion in between. I for one open a book and read till my eyes need a break. I accepted the invitation to join the group.
The surprise came because I had not attend mass at the Catholic church three city blocks from our house for more then a month. My wife was not a regular church goer for more then a year. All that time I had attend mass by myself.
Then when I attend the Catholic church across the river from where we lived in the evening she came with me. Those evenings were when our grandchildren returned home before Sunday evening mass.
My wife is old school Catholic, compared to my liberal Catholic beliefs. The best way to explain it is, after Vatican II many Catholics didn’t like the changes the church had made. So she disagrees with the church’s changes after Vatican II.
To get back to the subject at hand. There is a growing concern that mass attendance is low among Catholics, that they are leaving to other Christian denominations, that millennials leave the church in their late teens and others are non denominational.
As I read the introduction in our group’s book something struck me that never occurred to me before. That is that many Catholics have no personal relationship with God. I for one didn’t either until this year. How could I have when the Church didn’t ever as far as I could remember suggest that we have one. When reciting the creed we speak of beliefs. We adhere to those beliefs. We are taught that God loves us from an early age, that we obey the ten commandments, follow the precepts of the church.
See there is something missing. A true relationship with our savior. Before we can be disciples we must have a personal relationship with Jesus. He became my friend, my confessor, my teacher.
I can see now that the path of knowing and following Jesus is what my church needs more then anything. My personal relationship with God came about through a non denominational Jesus movement. I Am Second convinced me through personal stories that I too could have that personal relationship with Jesus. A day doesn’t go by when I am called to read God’s Word, to pray, to reach out to those searching for His love, to give testimony how He saved me.
I can see a great conversion happen within my home parish. A conversion need long ago.