"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Friday, May 27, 2016

Conversion Story of a Former Iglesia Ni Cristo member to Catholicism, now a Resilient Catholic Defender!

Sean Nathaniel: A Story of Family's Conversion to Catholic Faith that Rooted from Dad’s Smashing of the Virgin Mary’s Image

By: Sean Nathaniel
Source: JesusChristMinistry blog

The sequence of events pertaining to his Dad’s ultimate conversion to Catholicism is still fresh to his memories. Back then, he was eight years old and had no religion, who could not be baptized because he was not at the right age yet based on their doctrine.

Formerly his father was a baptized Catholic but converted to Iglesia ni Cristo, while her mother was a Catholic who was constrained of conversion as their marriage was not sanctioned once without their affiliation to the sect mentioned.

While it is true that they were devoted to their worship services, searching everything inscribed in the Scriptures had not driven him yet considering his age at eight so he just allowed the flow and be tied in with.

Nevertheless, he could sense that his Mom’s association and devotions were simply twisted by somebody’s arm than heartfelt.

One day, his mother turned to be sickly.

Perplexed as he was, his Dad told his Mom to see a doctor for a check up, and so she did.

Back home after her check up, he noticed from his room’s window of his teary-eyed Mom.

At about 5pm coming from the office, his Dad approached his Mom with a kiss on her cheek, offered a snack and conversed.

His Mom desired to have a vacation to see his grandmother as she missed her, which his Dad granted provided that it was only for 6 days.

Out of assertiveness, he was also given the go-ahead to so he joined the 6-day vacation.

It was Monday when they went to his Granny’s place and in high spirits because at last he would get a view of the farm for the first time.

The travel lasted for four hours... He ran hastily as he could not wait anymore when he spotted his Granny who was harvesting lanzones, and grabbed the basket of fruits as this is his favorite.

His mouth became gluey and shirt stained because of too much eating.

After washing his face, he got inside and overheard someone who was sobbing.

It was his Mom, a scene he found as out of the ordinary. Being unaware of what went on and knew nothing but to play, he did not mind the queer circumstance, entered the other room and slept.

When he woke up at 8pm to ease nature, he heard gentle whispers. Out of curiosity, he searched out the noise which was only next door – coming from his Granny.

In an attempt to sneak a look, he found out that the soft voice came from his Mom and Granny’s whispers of supplication; they were praying together in front of the image of a Man crucified on the Cross.

Realizing that they were busy praying, he retraced his steps and had forty winks.

First thing in the morning, he approached his Mom who was in the kitchen preparing their food. Last night’s episode was still wedged from his memory so he could not avoid himself but to ask his Mom about the image of a Man crucified on the Cross. His Mom responded that the image is the representation of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the humanity. With that remark, it made his senses to smile.

In a separate night at about 8PM while reading his Granny’s old book, he noticed again the same whispering sounds. He went to where the noise from and came close to where his Mom and Granny knelt then also crouched down. His Mom told him to close his eyes, and he prayed likewise.

While in prayers, he could discern some sort of a strange feeling, affirming himself that at that age he was aware that his consciousness was aimed towards the direction of the Saviour, the Lord and the Redeemer, even it was a mere image that he could spot on.

After their prayers, his Granny told his Mom, “May God heal you in your ailment!”

From that instance, he discovered that his Mom had a brain tumour, whose symptoms were evident by her fainting and weakening.

Upon learning this, he dedicatedly joined their prayers, in the morning before rising and at night before retiring to bed, thanking the Lord for the life that He gave each day for his Mom and the whole family.

One Saturday morning, he woke up earlier to join the prayers which his Mom and Granny had habitually done. While in intimate prayers, they were shocked when his Dad smashed the images using his loaded bag.

The little image of the Blessed Virgin Mary had thrown out in front of him while the other images were shattered.

Caught off guard, he was surmounted by empathy as he noticed his Mom and Granny who wept brought by the unanticipated circumstance.

After picking up all the small pieces of the images, he just stood up from kneeling and left the room. He could audibly hear his parents’ squealing even when he already evaded the area.

Looking for an outlet, he found himself sitting under the mango tree while wiping the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a while, he heard a church bell clanging. His Granny’s house was accessible to the Church as he realized, and he could notice influx of people coming in.

At this juncture, he thought of handing over the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Church as an option so he went on with the man who was on his way. The man stared at him and asked why was he brought the image and cautioned him that it’s bad to make it as a toy.

He replied back that he did not play on it but would give it to the Church instead. Then the man out of appreciation asked from him the image to merge it with the others.

Shortly after, he passed it on and the man asked him to sit in front. Little did he know that the man was a Priest, whose name was Father Swamy. At the pulpit, the Clergy talked about the essence of treasuring significant people. As if the Priest’s one hour Mass was only ten minutes because he enjoyed the Liturgy.

After the Mass, he approached Fr. Swamy, who asked him why he was alone. He replied that his parents were quarrelling at home.

Taken aback, the Priest asked him to wait for a moment as he would go with him after changing his clothes. The Clergy went with him and looked for his parents as they got there. They saw his Mom and Granny talking. The Priest spoke to them to inquire what happened.

In a little while, his Dad arrived and they were astounded when the latter said, “Kuya, why are you here?” [Kuya is a kind of respect addressed to an elderly]

Fr. Swamy answered that the Parish where he said a Mass was nearby so he went with him.

They learned later on that his Dad and Fr. Swamy were biological brothers. They had conversation after which. His Dad asked a lot, which the Priest was able to answer.

When Fr. Swamy asked his Dad concerning the smashing of the images, the other replied, “Images are awful, hopefully you would understand if you could search.”

The Clergy shed light on the issue by saying, "Brother, image is simply a representation but is not worshipped. Kneeling down or praying in front of images is not intended for them but for the ones represented by the image. It’s actually you who do not know how to search. You’re breaking one of the Ten Commandments of God which says, ‘You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor'".

His Dad was tongue-tied and left Fr. Swamy. Before he left to go to the kitchen, Fr. Swamy reproached him by telling, “You’ve been raised as a Catholic but what are doing now? You’re mocking the Mother Church.”

Then his Dad rationalized, “Salvation is what I’ve been looking for my family! And you, you’re already a sinner, which turned to be even more chronic because of your entering the priesthood.”

Fr. Swamy reacted, indeed Apostle John is right when he said, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. ”(1 John 2:18-19)

He witnessed how his Dad was dumbfounded upon hearing those words coming from a Priest who was indeed a true brother.

Fr. Swamy then added, if Judas could betray Jesus in exchange of silver coins, what more with these people who did not see the Lord? With what you have done by turning your back from the Mother Church, you did already what Judas had committed against Jesus.”

His Dad could not answer back all the more, took his bag and went away. But before he left, Fr. Swamy grabbed his hand and gave something which he could not identify what was that.

His Dad asked to leave then headed off.

It was Sunday already and they exceeded on the 6-day vacation as pre-arranged. His Mom was undecided to return home as she was afraid of future potential dispute.

At about 9AM, his Dad texted his Mom instructing her to go home for some important errand, so they immediately packed up and travelled.

His Dad was there in front of the gate waiting when they arrived. His Mom brought in their luggage supposedly but prevented by his Dad, saying that they had no more things inside. They were directed to get inside the van. Surprised as she was, his Mom asked his Dad whose van was he driving, and learned that it was theirs.

After an hour, they reached the place that his Dad was telling. He was astounded by the sight. Lo and behold, it was a huge house which his Dad was acquired.

Brought by excitement, he instantaneously stepped in while clutching at his Granny’s hand. They tour around the house with his Granny. He checked the rooms starting from the first out of five and discovered that all their belongings were really transported there already.

Inside the room was an altar. Lo and behold the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he gave to Fr. Swamy was there. He was mystified so he asked his Granny. They entered the room and checked the image. All of them were brand new except the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, causing his Granny to be forlorn, which reminded of her altar that was wasted away.

In a while, thinking that their brainwaves were deciphered, his parents drew near and told that the altar was for the Granny, and that image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that they saw was given by Fr. Swamy before his Dad left.

His Granny grinned.

At 6pm, his Dad told them to dress up. Subsequently, the Church bell clanked in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Lo and behold, they were scheduled to attend the Mass.

They went home blissful after the Mass.

Months later, his parents left Iglesia ni Cristo permanently. They already attended the Mass religiously. Thus, they have been active in the Catholic faith. Indeed, they all become Catholics, baptized. He had his Confirmation and First Communion.

His Mom was healed brought by their faith. His Dad’s faith has been deepened all the more.

Now as a Catholic, he is dyed-in-the-wool to endure this faith. He has been grateful that through the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Dad’s Catholic Faith has been renewed.

Without a doubt, mothers are truly the “Light of the Home.”

Posted 11th April by Allan Ecleo

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