Lately, I've been thinking about a friend of mine with whom I had a slight falling out. I've known her since the fourth grade, but her family moved when we were in high school. So, we've been in contact over the last 30 years or so through mail, phone calls, and the very rare visit.
Over the years she had not been interested in any particular church. In fact, I had the feeling she did not go to any church or believe in any particular faith. I, however, have always been open about my faith, but I have never pushed it on anyone else. I try to live the Gospel and win others for Christ by example.
When my family and I moved to Oklahoma, it was the closest I have been to my friend, who lives in Kansas City, in many years. I suspected that she was getting involved in some kind of church a few years ago when she called and asked me about a Catholic funeral she had gone to. She asked about a prayer that many of the people in the church were praying. After asking her a couple of questions, I understood the "prayer" in question was the Rosary. The Rosary is actually a set of prayers for the meditation of the life of Christ and His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. There was no rudeness, no judgement--that would come later.
I invited her to a couple of my kids' First Communions--she made it to one. It was a nice visit and I enjoyed answering any of her questions about it and the Church. I wonder now if she was already involved in the "church" that has now turned her against her long time friend. She seems to be convinced now that my soul is "in danger." Supposedly the Holy Spirit came to her and told her to let me know I was in danger.
What I am unsure about is where to go from here. I received several emails over the last several months with such ridiculousness like her asking about church authority and comparing Mormonism to Catholicism because Mormons use words such as bishop. The fact that Mormonism isn't actually Christianity seems to be beyond the thought process of radically anti-Catholic "Christians." Christianity is supposed to be about knowing, loving, and serving God. The Church is the Body of Christ in which to do that. We know God through Scripture and the Sacraments. We love Him in receiving the Eucharist. We serve Him by doing works of mercy, such as clothing the naked, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and the like. We absolutely do these things for God, and not, as Mrs. Osteen so dramatically put her foot in her mouth about, for ourselves. We do these things as offerings to God.
Now to have a long time friend sending me messages of condemnation and accusation was hurtful. I did try to answer her questions as thoughtfully as possible. I'd get back messages about how I was close minded. Of course I'm close minded. I made a long, thoughtful journey to the Church. Why does a friend, who seems to have fallen in with a radically anti-Catholic "charismatic" church, think she knows better in a few months better than a 2,000 year old Church? It is one thing about the Protestant "churches" I no longer understand. The intolerance and lack of charity of these groups really floor me.
When I did try to defend the Faith and answer her questions, I was told that I was being emotional and therefore deep down I must know I am wrong. What? Where did that come from? Let me get this straight, if I am passionate about Christ, about His Church, and about my Faith, then I must be wrong? I fail to see how that works. It is circular reasoning to me. On the one hand, protestant groups want one to be passionate and loud and outgoing about their faith and evangelizing others, including other Christians. But on the other, if one IS actually passionate and loud and outgoing about their faith, if "they" don't understand it, then one must know deep down they're wrong. How does that work again?
I am passionate. I am sure. I am knowledgeable. I feel deeply.
No, I don't believe I am wrong to be a Catholic. I became a Catholic when I was 36, having been a Baptist of some flavor since I was very young. I read, I studied, and I joined RCIA. I prayed a lot and I do believe the Holy Spirit answered my questions and moved me in the direction I was supposed to go. When one, friend though she may be, questions your integrity, your passion, a very important part of your self, it is not only hurtful but it makes it clear that she doesn't really know you at all. It is hard to trust such a person and hard to carry on a friendship with her.
I am unsure where to go from here. Charity and patience is what I need but can be hard to muster when ever word you say is judged in a negative light.