But I do love the Roman Catholic Church and as is said in the Nicene Creed “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Protestant religions such as Anglicans, Lutherans, Episcopalians, United Methodists, and some Presbyterians believe the same thing. Some replace the word “Catholic” with “universal”.
I was born in St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, TX. A hospital named after the patron saint of the universal Church, Prudent Guardian of the Holy Family, and Protector of God’s Holy Church.
By baptism, I was raised in the loving arms of the Southern Baptist church. By my senior year in high school I began drifting away from the Baptist church because their beliefs seemed antiquated to me. I was 18. Through college and into my 40’s, I tried different churches, mainly Baptist and Methodist, but not on a consistent basis. It was December 2009 when I gained a sense of purpose from the Lord and I began attending a Catholic church in Katy, TX. I eventually became an usher and made a genuine effort to attend Mass every Sabbath. After 18 months, my son and I moved from the greater Houston area to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NY. I love New York City because it’s a melting pot of people from “many nations, tongues, and kings”, and because people are still proud of “their neighborhoods”. Our former neighborhood has a wonderful church. I still say it’s the best church I’ve ever attended and had some of the most wonderful priests who could positively affect you with very thought-provoking homilies. It was so good that I signed up for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and began the conversion process to Catholicism. In some cases, if a Catechumen has been baptized in another faith, the Catholic Church accepts the baptism. I was told this was not my case as a Baptist, which didn’t bother me. We had meetings every week. The room was typically full of people but mostly practicing Catholics, rather than prospective converts. Because I was in the midst of writing my book, I occasionally asked questions about the Book of Revelation since it comprises most of my book. There was one evening when I brought up the Revelation and the response from the RCIA director was one of preterism (that the Parousia had already occurred) and one of humiliation (that this was the type of question typically asked by people of the Baptist faith). Maybe the director was just having a bad day. Maybe he just didn’t like my questions. Regardless, I still loved the church, but I felt that it might be better for everyone if I withdrew from the class and postponed my conversion. My decision was not about the church, rather individuals in the church. That seems to be the very issue we have today with scandal in the church. After my withdrawal from RCIA, we started attending St. Patrick’s church, which is a gorgeous cathedral. Several years ago, I lost a significant amount of hearing in my right ear, so I have difficulty with the building’s acoustics. Regardless of my bad experience with RCIA, we occasionally attended the previous church.
In my book Tribulation I repeatedly deem the Roman Catholic Church as the Church of Philadelphia:
From Revelation 3:7-11 7“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this: “‘The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open, says this:
8“‘“I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you. 10Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.
To many, The Roman Catholic Church is the “bellwether” of Christianity, being that it was the first Christian church to be created from, but not limited to, the Passover Supper, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. St. Peter the Apostle served as the first pope. Their members have kept the Word of God through the centuries, through persecution, through wars, and through scandal. “Little power” means the primary source of income to the church is through charity. They have held fast to the commandments and the canons of the church.
Tribulation only contains Scripture from The New American Bible, the official Bible of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and one of the most comprehensive bibles with its biblical notes. I eat fish every Friday. I observe Lent. I do my best to make Mass every Holy Day. We typically drive back to New York City to attend Mass, but because we are not Catholics, my son and I do not participate in Communion. I enjoy Mass mainly because it is an uplifting experience for me and because it is structured: The Introductory Rites, The Liturgy of the Word, The Liturgy of the Eucharist, The Eucharist Prayer, The Communion Rite, and The Concluding Rites. Having an autistic child, structure is very important. He really enjoys Mass, especially if we celebrate it over a sandwich at Subway.
I believe in and have experienced Angels and Demons as I explain in my book. In the book The Rite by Matt Baglio, he speaks to the Rosary Prayer and quote: “The Marian prayer, especially the rosary, is a very powerful weapon in the fight against Satan” “That is why [Mary] insists so much that we pray the rosary; the rosary is a prayer that really whips the demon into a frenzy.”
With the emergence and growing numbers of occult practitioners in religions such as Wicca, I pray the Rosary and the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel on a daily basis. I can’t always see evil, but I can darn sure feel it. Prayer is the only way to defeat evil. Around my neck, I wear a Celtic cross, a St. Michael medal, a Miraculous medal and a St. Edith Stein medal.
With this week’s Roman Catholic conclave, the top news has been the election of St. Francis I as the new pope. One who appears to be a humble man who wants a “poor church for the poor.”:
2Corinthians 8:9 For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This is a man who appears to be dedicated to the 1.2 billion Catholics and in helping them to Hold fast to what they have, so that no one may take their crown (Rev.3:11). Many critics of the church wanted a new pope to reform (modernize) the church. What these journalists don’t realize is that Scripture is the fundamental guide for the church and as is in said Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I finalize this blog preparing to drive to New York City with my son and attend Saturday evening Mass at one of many, holy, catholic and apostolic Churches.
I don’t know if the words, “I AM A CATHOLIC” will ever cross my lips. Regardless, I will always love the sound of: “I AM MERELY A CHRISTIAN”.
Have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day.
Author G.R. Miller, utilizing his engineering and project management experiences in the fossil fuels energy sectors and guidance from God, takes a pragmatic approach of part preterism, part symbolism and part literalism in decoding the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He exhibits a Climate Change connection through scripture, commentary and illustrations.