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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Faith

Conviction: Starting over with a new religion


When psychology senior Saira Ramirez lived in California, she went through a divorce and a transformation of faith.

She decided to start attending church. The only being that it would not be a Catholic church, the religion she practiced growing up — she never felt anything from the weekly mass.

“It was very repetitious,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes I would get something form a sermon, but it was so far-fetched and I didn’t really feel like I could apply it to my life.”

Baptist Student Ministry Director B. J. Ramon said that religion is often an attempt people make toward making “ourselves approved or disapproved by others and, or, God.”

“We throw ourselves into the competition and work so hard to obey the rules and rise to the top of that certain religion, only to fail or have our emptiness resurface,” Ramon said. “It seems (that) others find contentment in religion, so we jump to another religion because somewhere in there must be happiness or validation.”

Ramirez was 23 when she first stepped into a Christian church, and when she entered, she said it had a homey feeling.

“There were a lot of happy people from very different backgrounds, and it was a very new age-type church,” Ramirez said. “They had a live band, and nothing at all to what I was used to.”

Ramirez said that is when she felt the conviction.

“Every time I went to church, the first song would start playing, and it didn’t matter what song was playing — I would be in tears,” Ramirez said. “I (wasn’t) able to sing along the first couple of weeks.”

Ramirez said that every time she went to church, she felt like the pastor was speaking to her.

“It was the same thing, spot on, every Sunday,” Ramirez said. “It was something we could apply to our lives that could help us change and actually start showing something from it.”

Ramon said some people will leave religion altogether, finding it just as empty and un-fulfilling as life without religion.

“Maybe they think, ‘Hey, without the constraints of religion, I can truly pursue personal happiness,’” Ramon said.

But for Ramirez, the conviction hasn’t stopped.

“You feel the joy, the love, and just goodness,” Ramirez said. “Going to a Christian church, it’s like ‘Woah! That’s what I’m missing.’ It’s like a stirring of a lot of emotions: it’s joy, it’s sadness, because you know that there’s something missing.”

Ramon said one issue that comes up a lot is the difference between condemnation and conviction.

“Condemnation is more like the cloud that covers (and) says, ‘You are bad,’ where conviction is more specific and says, ‘You did something bad’,” Ramon said. “I believe upon belief in Jesus we receive His spirit which begins to convict us of things that do not align with the decision we made to trust in Him rather than ourselves.”

Ramirez held off on her Christian baptism until she felt she was ready. Leading up to her baptism, there was a sermon that she said radiated through her.

“It was, ‘Yes, now’s the time,’” Ramirez said. “It’s like, ‘I’m done with all this conviction. It’s drowning me. I need that baptism’.”

And Ramirez said the baptism came at a perfect time, as she was feeling pressure from her family, who continue to practice Catholicism.

“They were like, ‘You were already baptized, you were raised (like) this,’ but I said, ‘Yes, but this is my walk with God,’” Ramirez said. “And no one can take that way from you.”

Right before Ramirez was baptized, she was already in tears.

“It was such a good experience,” Ramirez said. “As soon as I went out there, they have you do the good confession, which is ‘Jesus is the Christ, and he is my Lord and savior. So you say that, and (you’re) accepting him into your heart. They take you down into the water, and (bring) you rising up.”

Despite the clean slate after baptism, Ramirez knows she and others will still stumble and fall.

“You’re going to feel imperfect, and the thing is, everyone can still turn away from that,” Ramirez said. “And accepting that and taking that into your heart gives you that hope; that refueling that you need to be able to move forward.”

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  • Confused

    I don’t get it. Are Catholics not already Christians? They believe in Christ, so they’re Christian, right?

    • new age deception

      apparently she thinks they are not, but people who go to her “new age” church are.

  • atheist democide

    If she really was a Catholic in the past, she would know that Catholics are Christians. Catholicism is not for everyone. Some people prefer prosperity gospel

    • Riverboat

      Catholicism IS for everybody. That’s why “catholic” means “universal.” Is diversity your thing? Read over the lives of the saints.

      • ace

        Exactly, and, I might add, that the one thing the woman got correct is that Christian faith is a relationship with a person – Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

        Paragraph 108 of the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) says:

        “Still, the Christian faith is not a ‘religion of the book.’ Christianity is the religion of the ‘Word’ of God, a word which is ‘not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living.’ (St. Bernard). If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ the eternal Word of the living God, must through the Holy Spirit, ‘open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.’ (Lk 24:45) ”

        At Catholic Mass first we break open the Scriptures then we eat the consecrated bread broken and shared at Holy Communion which is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. John 6:53-54 says: “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.’ ” John 6:60 reads: “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?'” John 6:66 reads: ” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” — And there you have the first Protestants.

        The Catholic religion is NOT about the New Age or about a feel good worship experience (although, yes, like anyone else we do like it when we experience the consolation of God’s presence, yet by faith we believe even when our emotional experience is dry). It is about obedience to Jesus who told us that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom and that if we want to be His disciple, we must daily take up our cross and follow him. When we get convicted of our sins, we go to the Sacrament of Reconcilliation (Confession). We follow the successor of Peter, the Pope, to whom God gave the keys of His Kingdom, making the Pope the Chief steward (Just like in the OT – Read the formula used when God is giving the stewardship to Eliakim in Isaiah 22:20-22)

        1 Tim 3:15 tells us that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. 2 Thess 2:15 tells us to hold fast to the traditions we were taught whether by word of mouth or by letter. The Catholic Church is the Church Jesus Christ established and it decided the books of the Bible and is the keeper of the traditions.

        “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
        ― Saint Augustine

        With God’s grace, I hope this post will convict some one or ones.

  • ace

    1 Peter 3:21 explains that it is Baptism which now saves. Catholics believe that the gift of faith is wholly a gift of God and you see in Acts of the Apostles that whole households were baptized, which would presumably include children and servants. Baptism is analogous to circumcision in the OT. No Jew would have thought it strange to circumcise an infant or that the circumcision would make an infant a Jew. Then there are other Protestants who believe that Baptism is not necessary, just ABC; you know, Announce the Gospel, then someone Believes, then they Confess their sinfulness and belief. Why do Protestants pick and choose their Bible verses (proof text)? Why to they go from church to church hoping “to be fed”. Jesus prayed that all would be one and he put Peter in charge and gave him his authority – an authority which was recognized in the early church which subsequently appointed successors. What is the oldest Christian Church which can trace itself back to the apostles. Who are you going to believe and whose authority?

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