07/08/19 Jessica Ptomey, Ph.D.

Posted By on July 15, 2019

good evening and welcome to the journey home I'm Marcus Grodi your host for this program once again I have this wonderful privileged to here with you a story of conversion and there's lots of layers of conversion some people seem to wonder if they've ever had a conversion because they've known the Lord all their life on others it was a drastic awakening to the Lord and to his church so that's often what the focus of our program is our guest tonight is Jessica told me right yeah former Evangelical Protestant she's got a website Jessica Thome zappy in their patrol told me if I were to say it the way it looks like yeah yeah but the sound P and she's author at Catholic mom dot-com Jessica wonderful to have it's great to be here thank you are good yeah it's great to have you here and I'm just gonna be real quiet I want I'm anxious to hear your story so once you start us way back sure I grew up in a Christian household so from the earliest time that I remember I knew Jesus and love Jesus so that's just something a relationship with him was always part of my life and so your parents then already brought a home for you to be born had already a good faith they had although my parents themselves came to kind of radical conversions themselves and so you know in their 30s with little kids raising them in the church was a new thing so it was I remember always they had this zest for they wanted to introduce us to Jesus they wanted us to have personal relationships it was it was a blessing to have that and they really wanted to get it right they really wanted to know okay what are the right things what does the Bible teach you know they were learning and they were they were zealous about you know being faithful with their kids and introducing their kids to Jesus I actually had time to reflect on on this recently because our oldest just received First Communion in and as I got a little emotional of course as he's coming in with the other first communicants and as they were all processing into the church they were seeing a song about suffered suffer the little children to come into me I just started but I got so emotional because I realized when they walked my son and these other kids walk in the grace involved in someone bringing these kids to Jesus and you know the wait on as a parent you're like only by God's grace have I done I had a role here in bringing these this my son to Jesus and at the same moment as I was saying the pew I just had such thankfulness for my parents that my life was always connected to Christ I was thinking as you said earlier that they just wanted to do it right yeah that desire is Grace it is it really is an awakening that's definitely great it's it's God's and it may have been an answer to prayer some sort that he gives us grace it's a kind about you to both the end yes but then that you would have it too mm-hmm yourself it's also interesting that often that's when young families come back to the church right when they get their kids all of a sudden it's like yeah wait and that grease starts to blossom one especially for my dad it was pretty soon right you know before they got married that he really had his conversion experience so I grew up in a Christian home and a Bible memory Oh Juana's and youth group and the whole typical evangelical church I say evangelical and I probably would I describe myself as coming from the evangelical tradition because in my parents desire to get it right we jumped around to a lot of different churches so I have seen it all I have probably every denomination ain't not every denomination concern about thousands here so not every denomination but a lot so everything from charismatic churches to fundamentalist Baptist churches to Southern Baptist churches probably most recent thing where we landed when I was in high school youth group before going to college what were your parents looking for things we moved a lot so sometimes sometimes it was just the best Church in the town we move too but other times there were Church scandals there were pastors having affairs they went to once I think prominent church for a while and the pastor had an affair or there were there was you know which was typical some sort of conflict in the church church if not split whatever or there were simply them I remember a lot an issue of interpretation of Scripture Oh what is the right teaching would come up and there might be a difference of opinion between them and the pastor or a group of people in the pastor whatever it might be I definitely saw my parents desire to get it right now and they just kept they kept searching for the truth to the best of their ability and that led us to a lot of different churches what I think that did and I wouldn't say that I was conscious of this as a young child and an adolescent but definitely the older I grew the more and more I was aware of the lack of unity in Protestant circles in the body of Christ and how fractured it seemed to be and how many disagreements there seemed to be Catholicism was not at all on my radar at that point so I probably couldn't even even told you much about the Catholic Church I didn't really even hear it talked about that much but there but I did notice man it seems like this isn't the way it's supposed to be this this like disunity this doesn't seem to be what Christ meant to leave us with but I think that was just something in the back of my mind for many years so it didn't sound like it was an issue that was on your parent's radar I don't recall having you know they're looking at their gonna find the church but the fact that this one might be a Baptist and this might be a Pentecostal or this might be Presbyterian or this one might how many went to a Lutheran Church but you that the behind that big scene is this issue of completeness unity yes then I started noticing as a child and an adolescent and sort of this is interesting I don't know how deep but I think as I got older the more and more I recognized that there's something wrong with this and certainly once I got married so I would say there's a few not too much eventful in the spiritual life growing up I mean of course there they're the things but I never had I never walked away from my faith I never had an experience of rejecting Christ I always remember having a relationship with him and at different points you know being baptized as a very young child at eight years old I recall having a moment of a real conversion of heart if you will I mean my parents had already told me that I made a profession of faith and was baptized when as a young young kid but I didn't quite remember that was a little hazy I was so little so eight years old I really remember having this moment that the Holy Spirit spoke to me and just I wanted to articulate my own acceptance of him like at that moment at a tide just said I just want you to know that me myself and I like all by myself I'm saying yes to you and I had I recall having those moments that through junior high in high school and in youth group on one youth group retreat I do remember a moment that's stuck with me through the years it's funny because I don't think I knew what it meant then but it was kind of intense moment there was praise and worship and you know it was as a lot of these youth retreats are you know trying to get you excited and get you passion get you committed to Christ and I know and I very much was but I had this moment where I felt called in that moment to full-time Christian ministry now at that time that's sort of have you said that it looks like a certain thing probably looks like you were gonna marry like a youth pastor or a pastor or via pastor's wife maybe like that's what some people said but I just had this sense that God wanted to use use me in some way to minister to people interesting I wasn't sure what I supposed to do with that went to college went to a small Christian school which is a good fit for me I done early so I was a little I was two years ahead basically went to graduate school Regent University and Virginia Beach which is where I met my husband and we were both in the master's program for journalism in the communication school but he was also he was doing two masters degrees he was in theology because he was kind of considering being a pastor anyway we met in the journalism program friends for a year the second year of the program started dating we were engaged three months later we were married that we graduated in May and then that summer we got married and we were you know of course there's a question he was like I got to get a job I'm getting married doesn't look like any pastoral doors are opening I and he had gone to DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville Maryland that's where he'd gone to high school and kind of on a whim contacted this school and and you know and he got a job there so he wasn't a Catholic no no he was not and actually that was probably the only maybe Catholic reference point that he had at that at that time in his life growing up was that he went to a Catholic school but no was not Catholic no one you know in his family was Catholic he was actually raised Assemblies of God so he conversely for me had a very consistent denominational upbringing whereas I was a little bit more oh all over the map but in college graduate school we both went to non-denominational churches probably a lot I don't think it was such an emphasis like the denomination it was a little bit more for him because he'd grown up with a charismatic background and and been very comfortable and well it just sort of raised in that in that environment so get married he starts his career as a teacher at that at that time he was teaching in the literature and maybe the history department and I immediately continued on into my PhD with Regent University and Communication Studies but I did a distance so I was working in retail and doing my classes online he was teaching and we decided that we would just go to the church that he grew up in you know right away first couple years so we did we did that the first couple years were married and I would say at this point is where both he and I started to have questions about our evangelical faith and we started to ask things like we start to notice the Sunday morning service what was emphasized we started asked questions like what is so named what's the purpose of Sunday morning anyway because I mean do you have to come to a building house church movements were sort of big you had at that time simultaneously – all this during called my college years I would submit college and graduate school years I started to see the beginning of a lot of maybe friends or people I went to high school with or youth group with and high youth the youth group in high school start to step away from the faith or distance themselves a little or at least stop going to church which I think was I mean obviously happening Colton and in mainstream culture a lot more than that our guess is just good told me yet today it's so vividly apparent when they're doing rule of poles oh yes that the increase of the nuns yes is off the chart absolutely yeah so you're starting to see that yeah just with the millennial generation that's just younger than just you know just barely younger than me I'm starting to see people not going to church anymore and I think it's or it was a response to a lot of questions they were having that I was having as well but I wasn't going and I never doubted that Christ existed that he was true that he came that he came to say that the gospel was always the gospel but I said do have what are we getting this wrong and so the questions I think my husband I started asking were more stylistic maybe oh maybe we're just we're not maybe we just haven't figured out like the right way we're supposed to do worship or things like this they were more stylistic questions than substantive questions but as we started digging we realized that there are really more substantive questions we were asking good they were getting out under the surface for example where did scripture come from and we started realizing that we had kind of missed out on about 1,500 years of history not just church history I mean it's church history but it's history right the monastics and preserving Scripture copying it in caves right and and even when Scripture became canon like it's not like Jesus before ascending to heaven dropped the by it you know Holy Bible down and said here you go see you figure this out these are questions you just hadn't asked before no and we started asking ourselves why we hadn't asked them before because they seemed like big problems and we said surely we're not the first people to come up see some dude this does fascinate me and I never talked about this on the program that much when I think about conversion and I've heard a few stories about conversion but it does seem like there's Pat you know stages and and you talk about at some point you said you had to say it's me I make that commitment so you made that yeah but that was your relationship to Christ but then there often is another stage that happens and it was symbolized a number of years ago when people would wear these little bracelets Jesus do and there's good and bad in that yeah but but that's an additional question it's one thing to believe in the reality of him but then it goes that next step is all right what I wasn't gonna make a difference in my life and what would he do in this circumstance it's almost like those are the kind of questions you guys are starting to ask yeah Jesus's view of worship our Lord's view of Scripture in other words where did it come from all these other questions that don't really come up at first yeah and we related to that what was going on because we were friends with a lot of pastors we were involved in ministry discussions and what we've what people kept coming up with this well we gotta get this was very common we to get back to how they did it the Apostles did it in the early church so there were all these postmodern Christian writers who were kind of hypothesizing about what that looks like right and so we're reading these people and talking with friends and you know there's lots of lots of these questions for coming up okay we'll make so how do we get back to that like what did that look like and where did we go wrong and of course that just led to some more questions and more new information and at this time we had kind of discerned for other reasons but in addition to the questions we were asking that we were gonna stop going to the the church he'd grown up in we'd been going up for two years this is we'd been married two years this was 2007 and we just kind of needed to step away for a little while and maybe was a couple months that we just didn't even go to church at all and then found a place to go for a little while but we were just wrestling with all these questions of what is church supposed to look like at the same time my husband was still discerning I have these speaking gifts and these preaching and teaching gifts him am i doing the right thing should I this call to being possibly being a pastor had always been there so he we just we discerned that we would go to California for a year and he would go to Fuller Theological Seminary and take some classes and he was discerning whether or not to take through the whole like PhD or doctoral program there and I was at that point finishing my dissertation for my PhD and I said great I can work on that for the year you take your classes figure this out so we go there for a year and as it turns out he took a few classes some of which got into some of some of the questions of good things and bad things like postmodern Christian question to postmodern Christianity but also questions of yeah where does scripture come where did we get scripture it didn't just land in our laps and he had to start wrestling with certain things and simultaneously as I'm working on research for my dissertation I came across James K Smith Jimmy Smith's work in cultural liturgies and he wrote a book called who's afraid of post-modernism he also wrote a book on a series of books on what on what is worship basically that we're beings that are made to love we're desiring beings not just primarily thinking beings and that we are made to love God and what we love we worship and it was this very embodied idea of faith that I was becoming connected to so I started to ask okay well if worship is the practice of loving someone that has significant connect implications for what we do on a Sunday morning and there's like some sort of embodied thing that's very important here and a lot of the things we do in worship I'm just questioning what is this leading to right in terms of formation of the person at that time we had our first taste of like a liturgical service we decided to try out because we're in this searching mode for a couple years try out this angle can was an Episcopal Church in Pasadena California we go there this is my first time I had been in a lot of different denominations growing up never once had I been in a little charcoal service and I was moved to tears I was just sitting there and one of the big questions that we had been wrestling with in a lot of modern church services that we had been in was this feeling of a production and that church was like this entertainment thing that was going on on the stage and we were all like the audience in fact people were talked about the audience like the people you're giving a sermon tour the audience and it was like it seemed to be quite a lack of participation in worship it seemed in a lot of ways like this performance or this show or this thing we were watching but not participating in and as I sat in that liturgical service and I noticed this call and response I mean it was totally new to me so like everybody had parts like that they speak and and and this music and the chant that they had and and of course the sacraments and this was all totally new to me but light bulbs were Granoff I'm like why hasn't everyone told me that this is here this exists so it was we went to that church a few times so we looked there we also Church top around Church hopped around a little bit two went to Erwin McManus Church who was there so we kind of were we had had this door open of what the liturgy looked like and what electrical service and so for the first time we considered maybe that angle can thing that people are doing like maybe you maybe can just become Anglican but we also had friends back in Maryland by this time we had discerned that we were supposed to go back to Maryland after after this year I graduated we went home we knew what we wanted to start a family and and so the next year and this was 2010 that we came back to Maryland and student became pregnant and we're gonna have a baby the next spring we got involved it's kind of like what I call our last hurrah with the evangelical movement we got involved with an evangelical church plant but we kept noticing that all these attempts to fix a problem just kind of be ended up repeating the same issues that that the people coming out of the church plant we're just sort of repeating the same problems whether it be in leadership structure or common conflicts that come up with the church and we kept having this question that this is just so this doesn't seem to be if this is not rich this is not you know this is just this is not it um and so at that point we actually had it was a nut another Anglican Church plant friends of ours and we said okay let's go here because at this point we had really gotten we had really gotten to the point of saying let's let's try it maybe we can just become anga k-cap catholicism was still not on our radar so we had sort of heard the Church Fathers and I should back up to this point to say growing up and like my husband's only Catholic connection was going to Catholic high school growing up I knew no Catholics so I really had no I had heard of Catholics coming to Protestant churches like leaving Catholicism and I did have Sunday School teachers in high school say that Catholicism was a cult we studied all the cults of the world and that was the other cult so I definitely had been given a quite a misconception of what Catholicism was so had your husband had a good or bad experience in his Catholic high school or was it just destroyed yeah there was he had not encountered any dynamic Catholics that I mean well yeah that's a sad story that's all he certainly hadn't been impacted for the faith he kind of viewed is maybe it maybe even a mission field I don't know you know kind of certainly nothing significant had been on his radar either so at this time my my husband come back he had given been given a sabbatical year at DeMatha so he's back teachings you know literature and history again and that year our friend father Matt fish it was not father Matt fish then who was a priest in the Washington archdiocese was teaching at DeMatha and he had been discerning that year that he was going at the priesthood that fall that fall but he had been telling us he and he and Mike would have conversations and they would talk about these things and father Matt would say Mike you're more Catholic than most Catholics I know we would have these theological conversation she's like your zeal your zest for Christ what you have we're really on the same page and he also told us about some friends he had he went to Steubenville was where he went to college and he said you know we've got friends in this area who I went to school with you got you got to meet these families they're great so at this point we had our first son and one night we we got invited to a go away dinner that these two families were throwing his friends were throwing for him because he was getting ready to go off to Rome to study for the priesthood I had never been in the Catholic home around like devout Catholics before so I had no idea what to expect I guess people are just like you know are devout shot you know Protestant side I was like I don't know I don't know what they're like I know these Catholics are like well it was amazing to walk into a domestic church that was living an authentic Catholic life and I can tell you as soon as I stepped in there with my new three-month-old baby I said whatever this is this atmosphere in this home this feels like home and I think much of my story this is called become the journey home much of my story is about coming home to a home I didn't know I was that I had for many years and I think I got my first taste of it that night at this lovely dinner with these all these kids who were so genuine so dear had such great spirits about them and it wasn't like it was Catholic because of the iconography on the walls or beginning though that was there or whatever it was the spirit in the home and I just said there's definitely something here and we got in the car to go home after a wonderful evening and I just got kind of teary-eyed because I had been experiencing I and my husband's are you okay I said you know I just whatever is there I want this you know we had a new baby we I had this probably the same sense that my parents had I want to get this right I don't want to jump around from church to church with my kids I really I want to know where home is and I would say from that point on that was he was born in 2011 and we came into the church in 2013 so from that point on we started to have this earnest look for the first time it could pollicis him let's pause there okay because I want we'll come back and say okay let's look at those couple years what were the things you were going through that really turned both of your hearts at the same time that has always happened that way you know I look at that and when I think about you doing a website Catholic mom calm well it sounds like that was the seeds of that were already fruit in fruition that led to why you would want to focus on something like this we'll talk about that later do we come back so let's just pause for a moment and let's take a break and we'll come back in a moment with more of Jessica story welcome back to the journey home I'm your host Marcus Grodi and our guest is Jessica told me and before we get back into the conversation I just want to remind you of the coming on networks work that works with people like Jessica on the journey all different people coming from all different angles all different baggages all different assumptions exploring the Catholic faith and we'd love to have you check us out CH network.org especially if you're on the journey maybe a similar journey to what jessica has been gone through we'd love to hear from you to see how we can help you hear how the Lord might be calling you in your life to walk deeper with our Lord Jesus Christ in His Church all right Jessica so you you saying you've kind of cut to the chase you know in two years from this point you're going to become Catholic and you said well we're on the escalator sort of I mean I think was gradual you know at that point you know he has to be had it three-month-old baby where we had met some Catholics we had a friend who is going to be a priest in Rome so the question of possibie an option Catholicism be an option was now on the table so that meant okay well what do they actually believe at some point we probably come across something that'll be like well you know maybe we'll just remaining okay because we can't quite make that jump which some people might not some people growing up Catholic might not realize what a big jump it is and even for us – it wasn't connected to her livelihood it's not like my husband was a pastor it's not like he would lose his job if he became Catholic or we would have some huge family meltdown it still was a huge thing to do for most products well just the fact that you said when you and your family were growing up you jumped all over the place you know you go to a new town you go to but the one thing that never crossed your mind oh now the Catholic Church yeah that would that would be be but gonna be a big jump so it wasn't we're just you know we're really thinking that was gonna happen we need to do our due diligence here I need to start looking looking into this question and there are a couple books that are member reading that were very impactful for me and I'm not gonna remember the exact title – Christian Smith's book something like 19 steps for a good evangelical to become a committed Catholic I think I'm pretty close it's a long title yeah he basically takes you through some broad questions down to more narrow ones of maybe if you've been noticing this dissonance and that one and so gradually breaks down all the questions you might be having to get to some really specific ones and I couldn't put this book down because it was like he was reading my mail I was I was like he was giving voice to all of these things that had bothered me for years that I don't think I'd even been able to give voice to I didn't really know were under the surface issues and one that came up again was that disunity the fractured nests of denominations split after the denominations split after denominations what which just I knew instinctively my soul there's just no way that this was Christ's will and if this wasn't Christ's will but he left us to do Church he had to have something in mind and maybe the Catholic Church is what he left us with so we kept breathing I read Rome sweet home in that two year span – it's what my husband did to read both these books we watched Bishop Robert Barron's then father robber barons Catholicism series we binge watched it the way you would binge watching Netflix show nowadays and that was profoundly impacting for us because as Bishop Baron does he gives you the beauty and the beauty tells the story itself and I remember just him unpacking the Saints the sacraments the mass purgatory some people are like was purgatory really hard for you I said no purgatory was easy your toy made this make more sense because growing up I always thought that okay yeah you could like on your deathbed ask Jesus to save you and be like I'm a sinner help me I don't want to go to hell but what where's the sanctification that you know I was just saying well how does this all work just seems like this in or out mentality that I sort of learned that a lot of people talk about growing up by selling this doesn't seem to be the whole picture here we're missing something so for me when I watched his the video that dealt with you know purgatory and explained it so beautifully I said wow okay tell me more and in the Saints and then reading more about the Blessed Mother and what Mary's role is and of course coming to understand that common Protestant ideas of worshiping Mary and mixing up veneration with adoration that you know no we don't worship Saints we don't worship Mary they we honor them because they lead us especially the Blessed Mother to Jesus their lives are profound examples to follow and actually Protestants have Saints they're called like missionaries like Amy Carmichael I remember getting in like different mission hats or like other Bible school like programs or sunday-school you know we'd had this like biography to read and it was about this you know this missionary who banja list you know who was just this glorified person who was very honored and revered for the life that he or she led for Christ and really it's not any different than the way that we talk about Saints they were just recognizing the same thing they shouldn't have sort of the same vocabulary and so I starting to learn you know see all these things and one by one we're kind of running out of reasons not to become Catholic but it still feels like a jump and at the same time so we're going to this Anglican Church plant and what you see happening at this time is you see different parts the Anglican Church because of a lot of the cultural and political issues within the Anglican denomination the ones who are more conservative and wanted to hold on to Orthodox teaching and more moral teachings started splinted splintering off again and becoming like their own so that was what was happening with this one church plans they were trying to they were part of this conservative group that was trying to maintain orthodoxy amid a sea of of contention about certain moral and theological issues so part of that still was you know the issue of authority and when does that stop when where and we again kept coming to the Catholic Church and saying here's consistency this hasn't changed for thousands of years and at the same time we were asking the question of what is the Eucharist so we had the Eucharist at the Anglican Church what we mean we thought okay we we're in the liturgy this is like this is like a Mass this is like this is like the you know we're involved in worship here in a way we're participating like all of these those elements are there but the sacraments were what we were asking what did these what's the significance here especially the Eucharist and at the same time my husband was actually my husband said to the pastor you know if it turns out that the Catholics like Catholic teaching in the Eucharist is true we're gonna become Catholic and he was even exploring the option of becoming ordained in the Anglican Church at that time but he said last night if this if this you first thing is real that's where I'm gonna have to go and he had started having mystical experiences he tells the story at the mouth in the chapel when he didn't know what the tabernacle was he didn't know what was captain hey joke so he said I thought that's where the money was kept like I don't know I don't know but whenever he would sit next to us he he had no idea what was in it whenever he would sit near it to pray because sometimes he would go into the chapel to pray he would get feel warm all over the closer he was to the tabernacle well then he finds out was it a Tavern act and he's like okay we have to consider this more seriously so we and also and looking at all the sacraments we got to the point where there was enough we just said we believe that what the Catholic Church teaches and we were reading the Catechism on all of these issues and you sometimes you get to the point but both my husband and I you know we're researchers were readers and you read enough and you know enough that you have to take action how long are we gonna keep doing this we've we know this is true so we can't we got to that point and I was very pregnant with our second child's is April he was due at the end of April so was the Easter right around Easter time so everyone in Aris RCA had was just coming into the church so we kind of missed that boat you know so I'm thinking oh maybe like next year fall you know we'll get into our CIA my husband comes to me one day and he says I'm becoming Catholic and I hope you're ready to do this with me because we've been on which I come to find out it is not typical for couples to often be on the same page but we were on the same page the whole time you're having conversations daily about these things but he was ready he's like okay we're doing this we're jumping in I was like okay well let's just have this baby and then you know and then you know well fine contact someone about the classes we're supposed to do is ignorant I'm not waiting around for the words it's time so he father Matt gets him in contact with Monsignor Charles Pope who is a priest in the Washington archdiocese and we go down to his parish and meet with him and I think we had three meetings and kind of like once a month for maybe two or three but I think it was in the second month he just kind of looked at both of us after you know talking things through he says so I don't see why we should delay this any longer I think you're ready so just let's pick a date and we'll have a mass we'll bring you guys into the church confirm you will baptize your two boys you just had I'm thinking that there's some Catholics wonderful way to said what about our CIA well the point is that our CIA is for non-baptized primarily for non baptized we're baptized baptized and you don't get remarried there are marriages recognized so you don't have to get remarried um so we just needed to be confirmed and we needed to receive the Eucharist and our kids needed to be baptized and it was a beautiful private Mass we had those two Catholic families the Nortons and the Pollack's who he had met a couple years before through father Matt be the godparents for our two sons and they were there and a few people that Mike worked with and our our family and it was just a beautiful day it was on 20 seconds the feast of st. Thomas More who's a hero of ours and that's about you know that's our Catholic University it's continent you know and it's it's been six years since then and quite a lot has happened in this in those six years but lots of grace lots and lots of grace at that point well let me ask you a couple things that was the church you found the church you were looking for oh definitely and it's we came in wide open we were not ideal izing the Catholic Church we knew all the problems we knew all the issues just like any church we weren't looking for the perfect church we were looking for the church Jesus Christ established before he left which he said would have good fish and bad yeah yeah wheat and tares yeah and and and we found it and and like I said it really was like coming home and I often think that some parts of our conversion stories for those who come into the church the really poignant parts can often be after the conversion because you realize that there's this grace that happened to you the grace of coming into the church before certain things in life happened that were really hard and that same summer my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it was a very hard journey for a few me and has been and has been to this day and and I just remember telling my husband you know I'm just so glad for for the sacraments through this I'm so glad for just as as hard things came I realized what I didn't have before in the sacraments and in a sacramental theology the grace in my marriage I came to view in a new light the grace of baptism the grace of of course receiving the Eucharist but not just receiving it as like this it's not this power pill it's like I'm entering into the sacrifice of Christ and being United with the father we're all involved in this act of worship and sacrifice in the mass and that ultimately answered those questions that I had of what is worshiped this is worship answering entering into Jesus sacrificing the mass every Sunday or every time we go to Mass that is worship and so they ultimate ultimately the questions that we started off asking in very superficial ways really almost looking at stylistic things we got answered and ultimately we came back to really understand what worship was and find it in the mass and in the sacraments and the church tradition you were saying earlier that when your husband and you began to be awakened to certain questions I mean it you know like for example where did this Canon come from the scripture right where did this come from well I think one of the reasons that our separated brother and I was there too didn't know very much about how this Bible came about was that because we had rejected the necessity of liturgy yes that we were we were blind to the very thing that the Holy Spirit used to determine which books should be in this right because of liturgy and because of church tradition and and having and shortly thereafter like in that first year becoming Catholic I actually came across the coming home networks Bible and catechism reading plan how to read through the Bible I found this I said this is perfect I just got started immediately I think it took me a year and a half and in reading through the entire catechism I was so moved and the first thing when senior Charles Pope did when we're meeting with him that first meeting he plopped two big green catechisms down in front of both of us here this is yours and this is yours and I immediately I said oh we only need one that's we don't have to take two of these I'm so glad he gave us two because mine is all mine it's marked up my husband can't touch it it's so precious to me because it is this is a guide for how I interpret Scripture how I interpret any question of faith that comes up and I don't I felt I started rambling this is like poetry this is so beautifully powerfully written and it's it's combining the scripture we haven't what we have in scripture with early church fathers what they would say these letter these early letters and as I would start reading early church fathers letters I was it's like this sounds just like the letter to the Ephesians this sounds just this is like this is like this oh those were letters and it's all sort of dawning on you that yeah you need church tradition because before we even had a Canon it was handed down by mouth by letter and and then a few hundred years later we finally had this found book but it didn't drop out of nowhere and you realize the gift the privilege that you have of reading scripture the church gave us through these councils and through the whole power of the Holy Spirit and I think as in these last six years I'm just moved by God's grace and the gift of his church is using flawed people many times very flawed people we're all flawed but just that this the grace of Scripture has been preserved over the centuries it's just always a wonderful thing realization to come to I'm so glad that you're you commended and recommended the Catechism there's when the catechisms came out there were so many people in the church saying that's only for the bishops to read too difficult for the lay idea bla bla bla and no it's an absolutely beautiful gift that we've received in our lifetime and and on the one hand I don't want to say like you know when we put that that reading guide together you start at the beginning it reaches a little bit every day and the truth is just like Scripture you read a little bit every day and then you get to the end you start over again you do it every day for the rest of your life a little bit every morning as a part of your devotions you learn something new every time and and because you mentioned the importance of the sacramental life one of the most eye-opening parts of the Catechism is the beginning of the second section first part you know is about you know scripture and tradition and all that and the second section is the sacramental life of the church when you read that first page you realize the sacraments are just an add-on oh yeah that is the age of the church and the way God communicates his grace to it to us which is the reason we want people to come home to the church so they can have the graces that you said you experienced absolutely such a difference and I think that's a huge part of going back to that that word I felt like I got in high school like you're supposed to be a full time ministry and only God knew that I was going to be a Catholic writer and author and come into the church and minister through my writing and without what you said about the sacraments is it's totally what my heart is because the whole point of entering into the fullness of what we have this home that we have in the church it's actually meant to be lived out it's not meant to be something static that we observe we're to be participating and in that participation we're changed and we are made fit for heaven the whole our home is the church because she is leading us to our home in heaven my book which is coming out next year is called home and that's home in the church living an embodied Catholic faith and that's the whole message that I felt called to write about to tell my story it's part conversion story but also to encourage other people who maybe have been raised in church or maybe you were Sikh you're seeking like me but this is a home that and the reason it's a home is because it's making us fit for the place that is our eternal home our eternal destiny and if we really enter into the life of the church if we really enter into the life of the sacraments we will be changed people and that's the whole goal God does it isn't bringing us into the to create some safe Club of people were to be changed right and to be made fit for heaven and and that's why the churches at home to me not because she's perfect not because she makes me feel comfortable quite the contrary she makes me feel uncomfortable she shows me where my life looks too much like this world you know I was thinking you said that because that's exactly what my mind was leading into ask you a question about the after conversion yeah that I do believe that one aspect of our trying to live the Catholic life that's different than the kind of life we would have lived before in our obedience to in love for Jesus Christ before is that it does force us to dig deeper into who we are and you know it's one thing to be cleaned up on the outside but to meet the Catholic faith it's just it's just designed in so many ways to force us to examine who we really are absolutely in fact that's why the Catholic Church wants the most flawed people there are in the world to come home so that by the work of grace we can start dealing with all that messes in our this is why we have the wives at the stands right and if I could tell anyone anything especially even if people are especially if you're searching but even if you've grown up in the Catholic Church if you don't know the Saints that is such a key to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit because boy do they show us ourselves cuz they're just sinners who got their stuff figured out through the power of the Holy Spirit you know they just surrendered they're like they're on a path and surrendered their life to the Holy Spirit and and we have their examples we have their stories and we know what they were like before hands and and we know where they are now and to me the Saints there's just one of them one of the most powerful testimonies of Christ yeah but they're still like someone like Saint Francis and what he was like before and then how the Lord you know awakened him and then what God called him to do I think the one problem that we do with Fritz st. Francis is we think the radicalness of saint Frances life is only for those few people that are in robes and hidden away and no no no the model of st. Francis is for all of us it's just that we have all of us have so many things that stand in the way of us really following in that footsteps of what God wants for us but that's our journey yeah that's what the sacraments provide the grace for us lives of the saints provides images to follow hopefully our brothers and sisters in the church also follow provide images for us to follow as I said before there there were a few moments after shortly after converting that I had such thankfulness that I was in the church like we were going through and one of the things in the last chapter of my book I talk about suffering and I'm still I didn't really have I grew up understanding the suffering was in the world but I didn't have a theological structure to really know how it could be redeemed and it was something that once I became Catholic and started to understand redemptive suffering and how you could just give your suffering and let let Christ redeem it it's not the Protestants don't necessarily believe this but I really had a sacramental understanding of how this took place and how I could be united to Christ in his suffering in his sacrifice an altar and that anything could be United there in that sacrament and for the glory of God and with our our third pregnancy we was a moment that we really had the opportunity to surrender to Christ I was we are at the 20-week ultrasound and that's what you know when you reveal to find out if you're having a boy or girl so that's what we were thinking well as it turns out our doctor came in said there's some there's some issue with the your dates here because this baby looks like it's two weeks behind shouldn't be the case so we're gonna have to you have to come back in ten days you have to we'll have to have to check it out as it turns out we came back in ten days and he said yeah your baby's four weeks behind now and he's actually gonna he's not gonna live we're gonna have to or have to just keep you in quit no he was still the heart still being but he had not grown and so he's not growing so we're probably just gonna have to cabbie you keep coming in for altra sounds – check it see when the heartbeat stops and then he'll have to be induced and deliver my dead baby and I go in – in the book the full story but the grace that was in that moment and it and at that doctor's office I just I heard and what we experienced the next two weeks long story short we had a miracle take place and we go back in two weeks I mean prayers I have a chapter on it in the book about what can took place we go back two weeks later after all this and mass healing prayer senior you name it and the doctor my amniotic fluid had been going down I mean everything the doctor said this is weird because you're a meiotic fluid it's like almost back to normal level and the baby has doubled in size and I said we've had a lot of and I knew I knew he was about to say that and we've had a lot of people praying for us and uh and he said well whoever is praying for you can they pray for me too and it was this amazing testimony but in that month in that and it was Lent of of that year and what we had gone through what we had in the church in that time of crisis I just cannot speak to you the Grace and now that little boy is about to turn four and he's huge but out guys brought us through some tough times and had some amazing opportunities to trust him to live our faith in Him in the church and experience the grace of the sacraments in practical real ways life-changing ways since then you know I think about a lot of people talking about you know the Lord's Prayer whether we should say lead us not into temptation that whole issue but what you just talked about is sometimes the Lord does allow into our lives difficult times oh yes so that it challenges us to examine our our faith the founding of it we are we gonna deal with the crisis and the interesting thing is not only did it strengthen your faith but that incident may have helped strengthen the faith of a doctor and undoubtedly undoubtedly I've got one minute what would you want to tell the audience about how they can find out what you're writing sure you can you can go to Jessica Tomac ah my blog there primarily but I'm also blogger for Catholic moms calm so once a month and if probably the best way to connect with me is go to my website and you can even join my email list and like I said my book is at home in the church it's gonna be coming out next year but if you get on my email list you'll find out about it when it comes out so you can cats probably the best way to connect with me there yeah Jessica thank you so much thank you so much for joining us what a pleasure and you know I do ask that the audience would enjoy your writings and take a challenge from your own journey of accepting the graces you know that opens God's doors for the way you can blesses bless you in your life and even when the challenges come the graces are there strengthen you and you brought your husband you at the same time it doesn't always happen thank you sure you can join you with us and thank you for joining us on this episode of the journey home I do pray that Jessica's journey is an encouragement to you god bless you see you next you

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 3 comments

  1. Now she needs to become a TRADITIONAL Catholic bc the whole Novus Ordo Realm is NOT all that catholic. So she’s not quite arrived yet.


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