As we review the year, like in any job, Heather and I can sometimes take it for granted that seeing Jesus do miracles on a weekly basis, is what we do. It is an enormous privilege to partner with Jesus, watching him do the most amazing interventions. Healing people that the church, psychiatrists and psychologists, the New Age alternative approaches, and the medical profession cannot help.
A highlight this year was running our first training school within the Catholic Church. It happened to be in the US. This is the second year we have spent time counselling exclusively within a Catholic context. After 6 months of counselling in Nebraska and Missouri, here are some observations that we, as protestants, could benefit from.
Because catholics have a stronger appreciation of the suffering of Christ, it makes it easier for them to quickly and intimately connect with Jesus in the midst of the trauma.
Many went to Mass daily, receiving communion, and this makes a noticeable difference in the ease of counselling. Breaking bread daily, as the early church did in Acts 2, is something the catholics just don’t talk about but have the formal structure available to allow believers to put it into practice.
Awareness of personal sin is another advantage they have over us protestants. Some went to weekly or monthly confession. James exhorts us to confess our sins to one another. The catholics do it, us protestants don’t. The hyper grace movement within the protestant church de-emphasizes dealing with personal sin on a daily basis.
As protestants we must not make the mistake of believing that Catholics are not Christians and need to be converted. It has always been clear to me, but it was re-emphasized during this time in America, that many Catholics have a deep, vibrant and personal relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and this relationship has a depth that contrasts with our sometimes more shallow protestant approach.
“This is mainly to say thank you again for coming (as hard as it was to minister here I am sure). My life, however, will never be the same! I so appreciate what happened in my life as you presented truth. I have been to so many amazing conferences, meetings and services but have never in all my life had anything bring such a shift in my being.
It was like a total shaking (good one), a literal undoing of so many unhealthy and wrong beliefs I’ve dragged around for so many years. I now find myself feeling a little anxious when I go back into the norm, knowing I will be making major changes in my actions and choices. At the same time, I feel excited to see what this new freedom looks like. I can say, It feels like a huge stone has been rolled away from the place I had escaped into (religion), like the grave clothes were ripped off, and the “Son” is streaming in, warming me as He shines into my eyes. I feel Him encourageing me to come out of the tomb and into the light. Wow! It’s true.
Although I have taught others, had amazing times with the Lord Jesus, watched Holy Spirit work through me setting others free, I had never realized the prison I was personally in. This has naturally helped me see the frustration my husband has had as he relentlessly pushed away (in self protection I am sure!) from my “god”.
Wow!!! Love you, Clare