Catholics Come Home ep 4 – Lonliness & Suffering

By | September 11, 2019


>>IN RECENT DECADES, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE DRIFTED AWAY FROM JESUS AND THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH. SADLY, MANY MAY NEVER FIND THEIR WAY BACK. I’M TOM PETERSON, AND I BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS CALLED ME TO USE MY BACKGROUND IN MEDIA TO BE A CATALYST IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION. OUR ORGANIZATION PRODUCES INSPIRING AND CREATIVE EVANGELIZATION MESSAGES THAT HAVE HELPED LEAD HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF INACTIVE CATHOLICS, CONVERTS, AGNOSTICS, AND ATHEISTS HOME TO JESUS AND HIS HOLY CHURCH. JOIN US AS WE TRAVEL ACROSS NORTH AMERICA TO BRING YOU STORIES OF HEARTBREAK, REDEMPTION, AND TRANSFORMATION AS THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS HIS PEOPLE HOME. GOD HAS AN EXTRAORDINARY PLAN FOR EACH OF OUR LIVES. HE WANTS US TO SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN WITH HIM AND BRING AS MANY PEOPLE WITH US AS POSSIBLE. THIS IS CATHOLICS COME HOME.>>WELCOME TO CATHOLICS COME HOME. TODAY’S EPISODE COMES TO YOU FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA. HERE WE’LL MEET AN ACCOUNTANT. HE LIVED AS AN AGNOSTIC AND A VIRTUAL HERMIT FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS, BUT WATCH THE AMAZING TRANSFORMATION IN HIS LIFE THANKS TO GOD’S GRACE. LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE IN THIS SERIES, TODAY’S GUEST CAME HOME TO THE CHURCH THANKS TO CATHOLICS COME HOME AND THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET THOMAS MANN. [music]>>THOMAS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US TODAY AND WELCOME HOME.>>THANK YOU.>>THOMAS, I’D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY BACKGROUND. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>WELL, MY PARENTS DID HAVE A UNIQUE — THEY WERE AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE, WHICH, I GUESS, WAS COMMON IN ITALY AT THE TIME. MY GRANDPARENTS PICKED A HUSBAND, A SUITABLE MAN, FOR MY MOTHER AND FLEW HER BACK IN 1967 TO ITALY TO MARRY HER.>>THOMAS, YOU MENTIONED WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP YOU GUYS WERE THE BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY.>>MY PARTICULAR FAMILY WAS I WOULD CALL THE BLACK SHEEP BECAUSE THERE WAS JUST MY MOTHER, ME, AND MY HALF-BROTHER. OUR FATHERS HAD GONE THEIR OWN SEPARATE WAYS. I DON’T HOLD THAT AGAINST MY MOTHER. YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES. BUT WE WERE THE OUTSIDE, RIGHT? AND THAT ALWAYS LEAD TO, YOU KNOW, MY COUSINS BEING MY BEST FRIENDS. THEY WERE THE ALTAR BOYS. THEY WERE THE ONES GOING TO CHURCH. THEY WERE THE ONES THAT WERE INVOLVED HEAVILY INTO THE CHURCH.>>YOU HAD A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GRANDMA. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>MY GRANDMOTHER WAS AN OLD WORLD ITALIAN CATHOLIC. THAT’S THE BEST DESCRIPTION I CAN HAVE FOR HER. SHE BELIEVED HONESTLY YOU ATE FISH ON FRIDAYS AND YOU WENT TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN YOU BETTER BE GOOD OR ELSE. I REMEMBER, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS ALWAYS STATUES IN THE HOUSE. THERE WAS ALWAYS CRUCIFIXES EVERYWHERE. ON BIRTHDAYS, SHE WOULD LIGHT CANDLES AND, YOU KNOW, LIKE BIRTHDAYS FOR THE RELATIVES THAT HAVE PASSED.>>YOU AND YOUR BROTHER WERE KIND OF MISCHIEVOUS, WEREN’T YOU?>>I’M AMAZED THAT NEITHER OF US ENDED UP IN JAIL. I AM SO AMAZED AT THAT. HE ACTUALLY RECENTLY GOT MARRIED. I WAS EVEN MORE AMAZED ABOUT THAT.>>YOUR BROTHER GOT MARRIED, BUT YOU HAD A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP IN HIGH SCHOOL, DIDN’T YOU?>>MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART. I WAS WITH HER FOR FIVE YEARS. THIS WAS SOMEBODY THAT I HONESTLY DID SEE MYSELF SPENDING THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH EASILY. SHE WAS — SHE MAY HAVE BEEN THE ONE. AND, YEAH, I HAD A RELATIONSHIP ONCE. IN OUR FIFTH YEAR, SHE HAD AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN AT WORK. AND HER PARENTS BLAMED ME FOR IT. THEY SAID I WAS THE CAUSE FOR HER STRESS. AND I KEPT SAYING, “NO, WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT? YOU KNOW, THIS IS THE PERSON I LOVE. THIS IS THE PERSON I WANT TO BE WITH. THIS IS SOMEBODY THAT I WANT TO SPEND MY LIFE WITH. WHY WOULD I DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT?” RIGHT AFTER OUR BREAKUP, I WAS VERY DISTRAUGHT. I WAS VERY UPSET. AND I REMEMBER GOING TO SEE FATHER STAN. FATHER STAN WAS MY PRIEST. HE WAS — HE BAPTIZED ME. HE CONFIRMED ME. HE WAS PART OF MY LIFE AS WELL. AND I REMEMBER WE WERE WALKING DOWN THE PARKING LOT AND I WAS TELLING HIM WHAT HAPPENED. I’M LIKE, “WHAT HAPPENED? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? GOD IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT LOVE. HOW COULD THIS BE LOVE? HOW IS THIS PART OF THIS?” AND HE LOOKED AT ME AND HE GOES, “IT’S PART OF GOD’S WILL.” I’LL BE HONEST, I WAS DRINKING QUITE HEAVILY THAT DAY, THAT WEEK, AND I JUST SAID, “NO, THIS IS BULL. NO, NO, NO. NO, NO, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. THIS CANNOT BE GOD’S WILL BECAUSE GOD’S ABOUT LOVE. HE’S ABOUT CARING FOR HIS PEOPLE. HOW CAN — THIS ISN’T — NO.” SO I LEFT. I LEFT THE CHURCH AND I LEFT THE CITY AND I CAME TO VANCOUVER.>>SO YOU LEFT WINNIPEG AND YOU LEFT THE CHURCH AND YOU ALSO LEFT GOD?>>I WENT INTO AGNOSTICISM AND ALL THE OTHER FUN STUFF SHORTLY AFTER MOVING HERE. I GOT INVOLVED IN NEW AGE. AT THAT TIME, IT WAS CALLED NEW AGE. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S CALLED NOWADAYS. I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S STILL AROUND NOWADAYS. BUT IT WAS, YOU KNOW, LIKE TOUCHING THE CRYSTALS AND MEDITATING ON THIS. AND I’M LIKE — THEY SAID, “THIS WILL HELP YOU TO RELEASE YOUR ANGER. THIS WILL HELP YOU TO RELEASE THE PAIN. THIS WILL HELP YOU TO GUIDE YOUR INNER SELF TO A HIGHER PLACE OF BEING SO THAT YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.” DIDN’T WORK. I LOOKED AT PAGANISM. I LOOKED AT WICCA. I LOOKED AT NEW AGE. I LOOKED AT CROWLEYISM. I LOOKED AT ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT IDEAS, THESE METHODOLOGIES, THESE THOUGHTS. NONE OF THEM EXPLAINED GOD’S WILL.>>TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, YOUR LIFE GOT MORE COMPLICATED ON THE WAY TO WORK ONE MORNING. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>SO I’M ON MY WAY TO WORK. IT’S TEN AFTER SIX. I’M WALKING UP THE STREET TO CATCH THE BUS. IT WAS A LITTLE BIT FOGGY AND I SAW THESE HEADLIGHTS A BLOCK AWAY. AND I THOUGHT, OH, YEAH, LOTS OF TIME, NO PROBLEM. STARTED TO CROSS THE STREET, NEVER MADE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE. THE CAR HAD HIT ME, RIGHT OUT COLD. THE BUMPER HAD HIT ME PERFECTLY IN THE KNEE, AND IT DIDN’T BREAK ANY BONES, BUT IT TWISTED MY BODY. AND AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, THE BUMPER HAD CUT MY LEGS; NOBODY THOUGHT ANYTHING OF IT. WHEN I WENT TO THE HOSPITAL, I GOT MRSA. I CONTRACTED MRSA FROM THE HOSPITAL. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO GIVE ME NARCOTICS BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT ME TO BECOME ADDICTED TO NARCOTICS. MY LEGS WERE BURNED. THEY WOULD BURN. THE FLESH WOULD ACTUALLY, FROM THE INFECTION, WOULD ACTUALLY BE BURNING SENSATION FROM THE KNEES TO MY FEET EVERY DAY. AND I REMEMBER AT NIGHT TRYING TO SLEEP. I CURSED GOD FOR KEEPING ME ALIVE. I CURSED HIM FOR NOT LETTING THAT CAR KILL ME.>>TELL US ABOUT THE NURSES AND WHAT HAPPENED WITH THEM.>>I WAS QUARANTINED AT THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT ME TO INFECT THE REST OF THE PEOPLE. I WAS QUARANTINED FROM THE NURSES SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE CARRIERS OF MRSA. BEFORE THE NURSES CAME INTO MY APARTMENT — I WAS QUARANTINED IN MY APARTMENT, I SHOULD SAY. BEFORE THEY CAME IN, THEY WOULD PUT ON PLASTIC, PLASTIC GLOVES, PLASTIC SHOES, PLASTIC PANTS, APRONS, MASKS, EVERYTHING. AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, MY GARBAGE WAS MARKED AS BIOHAZARD MATERIAL. MY FRIENDS NOT COMING OVER BECAUSE, WELL, YOU CAN’T GO OUT FOR COFFEE, YOU CAN’T GO FOR DINNER; WHY SHOULD WE HANG OUT WITH YOU? THERE’S ONLY ONE PERSON, ONE THING, IS MY BIRD. HE WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT SAT THERE SQUAWKING, KEEPING ME AWAKE, KEEPING ME THERE. I WAS ON SUICIDE WATCH FOR A MONTH. I BECAME A HERMIT. I COULDN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE. MY CONNECTION TO THE WORLD WAS INTERNET. IF I WASN’T — THE ONLY TIME I HAD ANY HUMAN CONTACT WAS WHEN THE NURSE CAME OVER WRAPPED IN PLASTIC.>>WOW, HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?>>I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO BE HERE ANYMORE. I REALLY WAS UPSET. AND I REMEMBER THINKING, “WHY DID GOD KEEP ME ALIVE? WHY DIDN’T HE LET THAT CAR KILL ME?” I CURSED HIM SO MUCH. I HATED HIM SO MUCH.>>IN A MOMENT, WE’LL WITNESS A MIRACULOUS TRANSFORMATION IN THOMAS’ LIFE.>>THIS IS WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE. THIS IS IT. THIS IS HOME. WHERE HAVE I BEEN? WHAT HAVE I DONE?>>OKAY, I’M GOING TO MENTION A WORD THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU A LITTLE UNCOMFORTABLE, “SUFFERING.” NOW, WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, BUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO HANDLE SUFFERING WHEN IT COMES OUR WAY? WE CAN RUN AWAY FROM OUR TRIALS AND TRY TO ESCAPE THEM, BUT HERE’S ANOTHER OPTION: IF WE CHOOSE TO LOVINGLY ACCEPT THE PAIN THAT WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, WE CAN TURN ORDINARY SUFFERING INTO REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING. THINK OF IT AS SUFFERING WITH A PURPOSE. NOW, THIS ISN’T EASY, BUT IT’S WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH THAT WE CAN SHOW GOD JUST HOW MUCH WE LOVE HIM. WE CAN CHOOSE TO OFFER UP OUR PAIN FOR OTHERS AND EVEN FOR OURSELVES THAT MAY BECOME BETTER PEOPLE, MORE READY FOR HEAVEN. BY EMBRACING OUR SUFFERING, WE CAN TURN OUR PAIN INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL AND FIND A JOY THAT WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN POSSIBLE IF THE SUFFERING HAD NOT COME ALONG IN THE FIRST PLACE. NOW, OUR WORLD DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING, BUT THAT’S OKAY. WE CAN LOOK TO THE EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO DOES.>>MY HEART WASN’T REALLY IN MY FAITH. THERE WAS MORE TO LIFE THAN WHAT I WAS DOING. I WALKED INTO THE CHURCH AND I REALLY BELIEVED THAT BY PUTTING MY HAND IN THE HOLY WATER THAT IT WAS GOING TO BUBBLE OVER AND THE CHURCH WAS GOING TO COLLAPSE. I WAS REALLY NERVOUS. I COULDN’T IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT BEING A PART OF THE CHURCH. WHEN I WALK IN THE DOORS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NOW, I FEEL ALIVE, COMPLETE, AND AT HOME.>>IF YOU’VE BEEN AWAY FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, VISIT CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG.>>THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN EACH OF US WILL BE ASKED TO REVIEW THE MOVIE OF OUR LIFE AND GIVE AN ACCOUNT TO GOD. WE WILL SORROWFULLY RELIVE THE BAD TIMES AND JOYFULLY REVISIT THE GOOD. THANKFULLY, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE DONE, THERE IS HOPE SINCE JESUS CAME NOT TO CONDEMN THE WORLD BUT TO SAVE IT. SO IF YOU’VE BEEN AWAY FROM CHURCH FOR A WHILE, WE INVITE YOU TO COME HOME AND FIND THE PEACE THAT ONLY COMES FROM GOD. VISIT CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG. [MUSIC]>>WHEN WE SPOKE IN THE PAST, YOU MENTIONED CATHOLICS COME HOME LITERALLY HELPED SAVE YOUR LIFE.>>I WAS WATCHING TELEVISION AND I FIRST SAW THE CATHOLICS COME HOME COMMERCIALS. AND I GUESS IT WAS AROUND THAT TIME PERIOD THAT I SAW SOMETHING THAT JUST MADE ME GO, “THEY MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING,” AND THAT WAS I SAW THE CATHOLICS COME HOME COMMERCIAL CALLED “THE MOVIE.” AND I REMEMBER IT TALKING ABOUT WHAT LEGACY WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? YOU KNOW, HOW WILL PEOPLE REMEMBER YOU? WILL THEY REMEMBER YOU BEING A KIND PERSON? WILL THEY REMEMBER YOU BEING THIS TYPE OF PERSON? AND I JUST — I WAS IN THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND. I LOOKED AT IT AND I WENT, “WHAT WILL PEOPLE REMEMBER ME AS?” AND SO SOMETHING SNAPPED. IT MADE ME GO, “THERE’S GOT TO SOMETHING MORE. MAYBE I WAS WRONG.” AND THEN I SAW THE CATHOLICS COME HOME EBOOK ON AMAZON, AND I THOUGHT, “THERE IS THE BOOK. IT’S BEEN PUBLISHED. I CAN READ IT ON MY TABLET ON THE WAY TO WORK. I’LL WAIT A FEW WEEKS AND SEE HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. I’LL WAIT. I’M NOT GOING TO — NO, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW IF I’M READY FOR THIS STUFF. NO, NO, NO, NO.” AND SO FOR MY BIRTHDAY LAST YEAR, I BOUGHT YOUR BOOK. AND I READ IT IN ONE DAY. I THINK IT WAS THE FASTEST I’VE EVER DRANK A BOOK IN A LONG TIME. THERE WAS SO MANY POINTS THAT WERE JUST, YOU KNOW, DEAD-ON THAT I JUST COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. I ENDED UP SPENDING ALL NIGHT READING IT, YOU KNOW, 3 A.M. IN THE MORNING AND I’M READING THIS BOOK AND I’M LIKE, “I FEEL LIKE I’M A KID AGAIN.” AND I’M LIKE, “I HAVEN’T READ A BOOK LIKE THAT IN AGES.” AND THE ONE BOOK IN IT THAT YOU RECOMMENDED, TRUSTFUL SURRENDER TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE , I THOUGHT, WELL, IF HE RECOMMENDS IT, THEN IT MIGHT HAVE SOME INTERESTING IDEAS BECAUSE THIS BOOK HAD SOME GOOD IDEAS, AND SO I THOUGHT, “OKAY, I’LL SEE IF IT’S ON AMAZON.” AND I BOUGHT IT. AND AGAIN, I SPENT AN ENTIRE NIGHT STAYING UP READING THIS BOOK. AND THE POINTS IN THE BOOK JUST KEPT HITTING EVERY NAIL ON THE HEAD. I WAS LIKE, “THAT’S ME, THAT’S ME, THAT’S ME. I UNDERSTAND NOW.” LIGHT BULB, LIGHT BULB, LIGHT BULB. AND I JUST — I COULDN’T STOP. I WAS JUST LIKE, “THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE ANSWER.” FINALLY, YOU KNOW, I’D BEEN GIVEN AN ANSWER. AND THEN I REALIZED: I’VE JUST GONE THROUGH A STAGE OF MY LIFE WHERE I CURSED AND YELLED AND SCREAMED AT GOD, AND MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, “I’M GOING TO HELL.” I WALKED INTO A CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LIKE OVER 20 YEARS, AND I SAT ON A PEW AND THE SOUND OF THE WOOD, IT WAS LIKE I WAS TEN YEARS OLD AGAIN, AND I WAS LIKE, “THIS IS WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE. THIS IS IT. THIS IS HOME. WHERE HAVE I BEEN? WHAT HAVE I DONE?” AND ALL I COULD THINK OF IS, “I’VE GOT SOME EXPLAINING TO DO.” I WAS SO FULL OF ANGER AND I WAS SO FULL OF RAGE, AND ALL I COULD DO IS BEG FOR FORGIVENESS.>>YOU HAD AN EPIPHANY OF SORTS ABOUT FATHER STAN’S WORDS. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?>>I REMEMBER THINKING ABOUT FATHER STAN’S WORDS AND HOW HE SAID IT WAS GOD’S WILL. AND FINALLY, 25 YEARS LATER, I COULD LOOK AT THOSE WORDS. I COULD REMEMBER THOSE WORDS AND I COULD SAY, “YES, I UNDERSTAND NOW. I DO UNDERSTAND. THERE IS A BIGGER PICTURE.” AND ALL I COULD THINK OF WAS YOU TELL YOUR CHILD, “DON’T TOUCH THE STOVE, DON’T TOUCH THE STOVE, DON’T TOUCH THE STOVE,” AND THEN WHEN THEY TOUCH THE STOVE, THEY HATE YOU FOR LETTING THEM TOUCH THE STOVE. IT’S THAT SIMPLE. DON’T TOUCH THE STOVE. YOU DO AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS, RIGHT? THAT’S NOT GOD THAT’S — IT’S NOT GOD’S FAULT. IT’S YOUR FAULT FOR BEING STUBBORN. IN MY CASE, STUBBORN.>>SO YOU STARTED COMING BACK TO MASS, BUT YOU HADN’T BEEN TO CONFESSION IN A WHILE, RIGHT?>>AFTER BEING AWAY FOR SO LONG, I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER BE ABSOLVED, OR I HAD A LIST A MILE LONG AND I JUST, “WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?” DO YOU START AT A, B, C, D, E? OR DO YOU GO CHRONOLOGICALLY, 1992, ’93, ’94? OR DO YOU GO BY, YOU KNOW, WHICH CLASS OF SIN? HOW DO YOU DO A CONFESSION ON 25 YEARS?” BUT THE PRIEST, HE WAS VERY KIND. HE WAS VERY UNDERSTANDING. YOU KNOW, HE JUST, “IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU REALLY DO REGRET DOING?” CURSING AT GOD. THAT’S LIKE BEYOND BEING MAD AT YOUR DAD OR YOUR FATHER OR YOUR MOTHER OR YOUR GRANDPARENTS, YOU KNOW, AND HATING THEM. AT THE END OF THE DAY, THEY’VE ONLY GOT THE BEST IN THEIR HEARTS FOR YOU. IT’S THE SAME THING.>>WHEN WE RETURN, YOU’LL FOUND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THOMAS’ LIFE TODAY.>>NO MATTER HOW BAD YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS, NO MATTER HOW BADLY YOU SCREWED UP, THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY TO COME BACK. THERE’S ALWAYS A DOOR OPEN.>>SO OFTEN THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS TO US AND SPEAKS TO HUMANITY THROUGH SACRED SCRIPTURE. OFTENTIMES, THOUGH, GOD ALSO USES BOOKS WRITTEN BY GOOD CATHOLIC AUTHORS TO TOUCH OUR HEARTS AND TEACH US THINGS THAT WE NEED TO KNOW IN OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. IN TODAY’S EPISODE, WE SAW HOW A MAN’S LIFE WAS HELPED THROUGH HIS DEPRESSION AND STRUGGLES OF LONELINESS THROUGH THE RECOMMENDATION OF A GOOD BOOK. IN CATHOLICS COME HOME: GOD’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE , THE APPENDIX IS FULL OF GREAT BOOKS THAT I RECOMMEND AND PRAYERS. THESE ARE PRAYERS AND BOOKS THAT HAVE HELPED ME ON MY FAITH JOURNEY AND CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER. YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES READING A BOOK CAN BRING US FURTHER IN OUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, IT CAN HELP ANSWER QUESTIONS WE’VE HAD, IT CAN HELP GIVE US THAT FREEDOM THAT WE’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. SO PICK UP A GOOD BOOK TODAY WRITTEN BY A GREAT CATHOLIC AUTHOR AND GO DEEPER IN YOUR FAITH JOURNEY, AND THEN PERHAPS RECOMMEND IT TO SOMEBODY WHO’S STRUGGLING OR SOMEWHERE ELSE ON THEIR FAITH JOURNEY TO HELP EVANGELIZE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.>>IT STARTED LIKE IT DOES FOR MANY PEOPLE, QUESTIONED MY FAITH AND QUESTIONED AUTHORITY. I FEEL THAT THE REASON WHY I LEFT WAS THE DRAW OF THE WORLD. THE WORLD WAS PULLING ME AWAY. SOME PEOPLE WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, SATAN, YOU KNOW, SATAN WAS WORKING ON ME. HE DID NOT WANT ME IN CHURCH. HE WANTED ME TO BE DESPERATE. HE WANTED ME TO HAVE THE THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE. I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT I EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE WERE A RESULT OF MY REBELLION AGAINST GOD AND AGAINST AUTHORITY. COMING BACK TO THE CHURCH IS THE FIRST STEP IN HEALING FROM ALL OF THE HURTS OF THE WORLD. I WENT FROM BEING DESPERATE AND IN DESPAIR TO FINDING HOPE AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE FUTURE. I’M ON GOD’S TEAM. I KNOW WHO I BELONG TO AND I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING, AND THERE’S NOTHING THAT CAN SEPARATE ME FROM GOD’S LOVE.>>TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. VISIT CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG TODAY. [MUSIC]>>SO MANY OF US CARRY SUCH HEAVY BURDENS.>>YOU’RE CRAZY.>>DEEP WITHIN, WE STRUGGLE.>>COME ON, BABE, IT’LL BE FUN.>>BECAUSE SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD.>>SHE’S GOING TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH GEORGE.>>BUT THANKS TO THE GRACE OF CONFESSION, GOD COMPASSIONATELY LISTENS, FORGIVES, AND SETS US FREE. SO IF IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE YOU’VE BEEN TO CONFESSION OR MASS, COME HOME AND EXPERIENCE A FRESH START. VISIT CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG. [MUSIC]>>HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW THAT YOU’RE BACK TO MASS AND YOU’VE GONE TO CONFESSION?>>NOW THAT I’M BACK INTO THE CHURCH AND I’M FINALLY BACK TO HAVING COMMUNION AND EVERYTHING, I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT IT’S REALLY — IT’S GOING TO BE AWESOME. I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE TO PUT IT OTHER THAN, YOU KNOW, I’M FINALLY BACK. I REALLY DO THINK CATHOLICS COME HOME HELPED SAVE MY LIFE. IT GAVE ME ANSWERS. IT HELPED ME TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT MYSELF, MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND IT DID GIVE ME PEACE OF MIND FINALLY AS TO GOD’S WILL. EVERYBODY HAS A JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE, A PATH. WHETHER YOU TAKE THAT PATH OR NOT, IT’S YOUR CHOICE. BUT GOD’S WILL IS THAT YOU WILL TAKE THIS PATH. YOU WILL LEARN THIS JOURNEY. YOU’LL LEARN AS YOU GO THROUGH THIS JOURNEY, IF YOU’RE SMART ENOUGH. YOU’LL ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT’S HAPPENING AND YOU’LL UNDERSTAND AND BE THANKFUL FOR THE JOURNEY.>>WHAT HELPS BUILD YOUR FAITH AND GIVE YOU STRENGTH?>>I FOLLOW, I READ, I LISTEN TO AS MUCH OF THE BIBLE AS I CAN. I LISTEN TO POPE FRANCIS. I LOVE WATCHING HIM ON TV. I THINK HE’S CHARISMATIC. I THINK HE IS GOING TO DO WONDERFUL THINGS. ST. JOHN PAUL II WAS MY HERO GROWING UP. I CAN HONESTLY CALL HIM “SAINT” NOW. I STAYED UP ALL NIGHT WATCHING THAT AND THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL. BUT MY STRENGTHS COME FROM THE THREE ARCHANGELS. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE THE HARDEST JOBS IN THE WORLD, AND I AM SURE I GAVE THEM A GOOD TONGUE-LASHING WHEN I WAS IN PAIN YEARS AGO. I’M SURE I NAMED AT LEAST TWO OF THEM TO COME DOWN AND SMITE ME. I CHALLENGED THEM AND THEY DIDN’T. I’M SURE THEY PROBABLY CAME DOWN AND GAVE MY TOE A GOOD BEATING, BUT THEY DIDN’T SMITE ME AND I’M SO HAPPY. ST. FRANCIS, HE LOVED OUR — IF YOU’RE AN ANIMAL-LOVER, HE’S GOT TO BE THERE. HE’S ONE OF THE ONES THAT’S SENT TO LOOK AFTER MY LITTLE GUY, WHEN HE’S LOOKING AFTER MY LITTLE GUY WHEN I’M NOT AROUND. MY GRANDMOTHER’S SOUL, HER SOUL, OH, SHE WAS SO STRONG. SURVIVED WORLD WAR II AND STILL FULL OF LOVE. HOW CAN YOU NOT APPRECIATE THAT?>>HOW DO YOU FEEL GOD’S CALLING YOU TO BE A PART OF THE NEW EVANGELIZATION?>>I’VE LET EVERYBODY KNOW THAT I’VE GONE BACK TO THE CHURCH. SOME PEOPLE THINK IT’S FUNNY. THAT’S THEIR OPINION. THAT’S WHERE THEY ARE IN THEIR JOURNEY. I MEAN, I’M HAPPY IN MY JOURNEY. IF THAT’S WHAT THEY NEED TO DO IN THEIR JOURNEY, THAT’S WHAT THEY NEED TO DO.>>HOW DO YOU FEEL LAY PEOPLE ARE BEING CALLED TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL?>>I THINK LAY PEOPLE ARE NEEDED TO BRING GOOD NEWS TO THE WORLD SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THEY HAVE — THEY’RE THE BUFFER. THEY’RE THE BUFFER BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE PERSON ON THE STREET. YOU CAN LEAD A GOOD LIFE, YOU CAN DO THE GOOD LIFE, BUT IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU’RE DOING IT, HOW CAN YOU CONVEY THAT MESSAGE TO THE NEXT PERSON?>>WHAT LEGACY DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE WITH THE WORLD?>>THERE’S ALWAYS A WAY TO COME HOME TO THE CHURCH. AND I KNOW BECAUSE AFTER 25 YEARS I WALKED IN THAT CHURCH DOOR AND I SAT DOWN AND THE FIRST THING I HEARD WAS THE CREAK OF THE PEW AND I THOUGHT I WAS TEN YEARS OLD AGAIN, AND I CAN REMEMBER, “I’M HOME. I’M FINALLY HOME.”>>I LOVE YOU, THOMAS. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US AND WE’RE GLAD YOU’RE HOME, TOO.>>THANK YOU.>>LET’S FACE IT: EVANGELIZATION ISN’T ALWAYS EASY. IN FACT, SOMETIMES IT’S DOWNRIGHT TERRIFYING. TODAY’S VIEWER QUESTION IS ONE THAT MANY OF US CAN RELATE TO. WHENEVER I’M CONFRONTED WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO EVANGELIZE SOMEONE, I GET REALLY NERVOUS AND START TO BACK AWAY. HOW CAN I CHANGE THAT? FIRST, TRUST AND SURRENDER. PERHAPS THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE, BUT IT’S NONETHELESS A REQUIREMENT FOR EVANGELIZING WITH GREATER EASE. REMEMBER, YOU ARE GOD’S INSTRUMENT. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE THERE TO BRING YOU STRENGTH AND ASSIST YOU IN SPEAKING. ONE TECHNIQUE TO HELP YOU IS TO PRAY TO A FAVORITE EVANGELIST SAINT FOR COURAGE. I LIKE TO PRAY FOR THE INTERCESSION OF VENERABLE ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN, A FAVORITE SAINT OF MINE WHO EXCELLED AT EVANGELIZING, SPEAKING WITH GREAT ARTICULATION AND SINCERITY. SECOND, LEARN. IT SOUNDS SILLY TO SAY, BUT THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE LESS YOU DON’T KNOW. WHEN YOU EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FAITH, YOU WILL BECOME MORE COMFORTABLE SHARING IT WITH OTHERS BECAUSE YOU’LL HAVE A LOT MORE TO SAY. THIRD, PRACTICE. POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI REMINDS US, “A GREAT EFFORT MUST THEREFORE BE MADE IN ORDER FOR ALL CHRISTIANS TO TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO WITNESSES, READY AND ABLE TO SHOULDER THE COMMITMENT OF TESTIFYING ALWAYS AND TO EVERYONE TO THE HOPE THAT ANIMATES THEM.” SEIZE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO EVANGELIZE WHEN MOMENTS PRESENT THEMSELVES. THE NERVES MAY NEVER REALLY GO AWAY. EVEN THE EXPERTS GET NERVOUS. BUT THE SATISFACTION AND JOY THAT COMES WITH SHARING THE GOSPEL IS WORTH EVERY NERVOUS FEELING, NOT TO MENTION THAT SHARING OUR FAITH IS OUR MISSION AS CATHOLICS. ONE GREAT WAY TO PRACTICE IS JOINING A DOOR-TO-DOOR PRAYER MINISTRY OR ST. PAUL STREET EVANGELIZATION MINISTRY IN YOUR AREA. FINALLY, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW SOMETHING. JUST TELL THE PERSON YOU’LL GET BACK TO THEM WITH AN ANSWER. THEY WILL APPRECIATE YOUR HONESTY MORE THAN YOUR TRYING TO MAKE SOMETHING UP. THEN DO YOUR RESEARCH. SOME GREAT RESOURCES TO HELP YOU FIND ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU DON’T KNOW ARE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH , CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG, AND CATHOLIC.COM.>>HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO GET ACTIVE IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION. VISIT THE CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG WEBSITE, ENTER THROUGH THE DOOR, AND CLICK ON THE “SHOP” TAB. HERE YOU CAN ORDER A CATHOLICS COME HOME BOOK, EVANGELIZATION CARDS, A DVD OF THE EVANGEMERCIALS, OR A CAR MAGNET. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS COME HOME TO THE CHURCH THANKS IN PART TO CATHOLICS COME HOME, LET US KNOW. OR IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT, QUESTION, OR WANT TO SUPPORT OUR MISSION, EMAIL US AT [email protected] OR WRITE TO US AT CATHOLICS COME HOME, P.O. BOX 1802, ROSWELL, GEORGIA, 30077. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER.>>AFTER A FAILED RELATIONSHIP AND NEAR-FATAL AUTO ACCIDENT, THOMAS BECAME AN AGNOSTIC AND HERMIT FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES. BUT THANKS TO GOD’S GRACE AND RESPONDING TO A CATHOLICS COME HOME TELEVISION INVITATION, THOMAS FOUND THAT HOPE AND LOVE THAT HE WAS SEEKING FOR, FOR SO LONG. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE EPISODE OF CATHOLICS COME HOME. PLEASE KEEP THOMAS AND ALL OF US AT CATHOLICS COME HOME IN YOUR PRAYERS. REMEMBER TO FULFILL YOUR ROLE IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION BY HELPING TO LOVE SOMEBODY TO HEAVEN. GOT TO LOVE SOMEBODY TO HEAVEN I GOT TO LOVE SOMEBODY TO HEAVEN’S DOOR I’VE GOT TO LOVE SOMEBODY TO HEAVEN I GOT TO LOVE SOMEBODY….

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