Page 5, 3rd June 1977

3rd June 1977
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Page 5, 3rd June 1977 — What I have learnt in three years as a Catholic
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What I have learnt in three years as a Catholic

IT IS NOW three years since my reception into the Catholic Church. The reactions from many good people varied at the time. "Fancy joining that lot" ... "It will take your family a long time to recover from this shock" ... "My husband would not let me join them". None could accept that it was my place, that God motivated my conversion. That nobody can stop what God wants. Six years ago I was almost dead. I did not want to live, but God wished it. I was sustained by love. God's love, through priests, nuns and congregations. The sustenance continues and my joy increases. Many people thought me lucky to have gone all "religious" instead of taking to drink or drugs, None could see that I had always loved God, that luck has no place with Him. It was my good fortune to be sent to my place. 1 relinquished my "wants" and accepted God's wishes. In some ways I am not privileged as were my Protestant parents. I may not speak from a pulpit; I, too, have my personal knowledge of God and a desire to share it.

However, there arc places other than pulpits. I may not serve at Mass or take up the collection. I can, however, read at Mass, and sometimes have the joy of taking the Holy Meal to the priest,

I am a poet, and rejoice when I am asked to write Bidding Prayers. God uses all our gifts and speaks to us through people, places, and things. These, then, are some of the joys of being in my place.

I also feel somewhat of a missionary. I bring with me a knowledge of all those other denominations to which I belonged in my search for peace. Being accustomed to receiving communion in the hand presents me with no problem of acceptance.

As I see things, I am

motivated by God. He is in the hand I extend or the mouth I open. I only breathe by His Grace, so I take, eat and am thankful for freedom in my place.

There is a personal knowledge of the fine dividing line between all the Churches. This will easily be overcome in God's time. All the denominations have their difficult phases. All zealously guard their familiar way of worship. Many are not sure of their place, and change only adds to their confusion. By God's Grace I can accept change, while not liking it. My whole existence has changed through a personal experience of God, transmitted through suffering and the coming to my place.

At first I was drawn to the Latin Mass. Later on I realised that worship for me is in silence. I learned to become enclosed at the heart of the Mass. To shut myself off from all distractions.

There is the sure knowledge that the words enter my soul whether I hear them or not: the understanding that no matter how the Mass is said it helps me to relate to the Masses.

The transition has not been easy. I have had to conquer my intolerance of noise. To stop

muttering about children being kept in order, or contained in a Sunday School. I have with God's help learned to rest in His inner peace even among noise and bustle. I am also profoundly thankful for quiet weekday Masses.

I view the whole Church as a tree. By God's Grace 1' am resolute in the stem. Once I perched precariously in the branches. I can speak for no other; I know I am in my place.

I have learnt to be still and know ... to rest in the knowledge that without God I am as nothing. That fretting about institutional matters only serves to separate myself from Him.

May Coombes




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