During the midst of an emotional crisis, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in March 1984. I thought I had known him previously since I was quite involved in my parish. However, I soon realized that those activities did not equate to intimacy and that it was indeed necessary for me to pursue that personal relationship with him. It is a decision that I have never regretted.
Almost immediately after I confessed Jesus as Lord, the woman who led me to him began a non-stop recitation against Catholicism, and stated the many reasons why I was to leave. She was quite emphatic on this subject, and insisted that many of my blessings from God would be delayed unless I was obedient in this one matter. I understood that I needed to grow in the Word, but I was reluctant to put aside what had been the core of my life since infancy. Nevertheless, I ultimately did so in 1995 at which time I started to attend a non-denominational church in Rockland County, followed by one in New Jersey.
From April 1998 to June 2008, I was a member of a mega-church in New York City. I met my husband there in May 1999, and we were married in November 2001. Though both of us were on volunteer staff and very much involved, I began to feel a distinct uneasiness. For years I had heard how there was no spiritual accountability in Catholicism and that people were essentially free to do as they pleased. However, in this particular atmosphere, I was forced to observe how many of its congregants, several of whom were our co-volunteers, lived lives that were disparate to God’s Word and yet readily described themselves as Christians who were under both grace and construction. Piety was not addressed and many who spoke from the altar – including the politicians and celebrities — were vocal advocates of morals that stood in direct contrast with the Lord. I could not fathom how this was allowed to occur within a so-called Christian environment.
Gradually, the church sanctuary was devoid of God’s presence and I soon witnessed how those present worshipped the pastor but knew little about the risen Savior. During this period I began to long for the holiness, order and adherence to the Word of God, all of which are rudiments of our Catholic faith. Isaiah 5:20 states “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Clearly, we have become a society that in defiance to God, has handily embraced sin. And yet in the midst of the worldly turmoil, the Catholic Church will readily stand up in the face of unrighteousness and declare it wrong. During this time I often found myself in conversation defending the Faith and telling my friends and associates that many Catholics whom I had known were sincere Godly people who would rather die than live a sordid lifestyle.
When my husband and I resigned from this mega-church in 2008, the Lord began to deal with me about a return to Catholicism. Rather than immediate obedience, I instead shared this revelation with friends and then, based on their responses, assumed that I had not heard his voice. But the Lord is so gracious for he continued to speak to my spirit until finally, in the fall of 2011, I could no longer deny his will for my life. My husband, who is not Catholic, supported this decision and in September of that year, I joined my local parish, Our Lady of Grace, and, in essence, returned home. Since then, I have resumed the involvement that I had had prior to my departure. Though I accompany my husband to a non-denominational fellowship in our neighborhood, I am proudly and boldly Catholic. I love my church and my faith – both are a gift from God. The Lord has placed a fervency for Catholicism within my heart and it is my joy to share it with others.
In the mid 1980s, I knew a man who left the Catholic Church and began to attend the non-denominational fellowship in Rockland County that I was later affiliated with. By the close of 1990, he had returned to Catholicism. When I asked him what prompted his decision, he replied “There is no perfect church, but there is a perfect God.” Over 20 years later, his response still resonates with me.
(© 2013 Margaret Reveira)
Margaret Reveira, age 60, is a life-long New Yorker who has worked in law enforcement for the last 35 years. She and her husband reside in Bronx County where she is an active and joyful participant in her parish, Our Lady of Grace. At God's directive, Margaret started a blog – www.exuberantcatholic.com, in which she shares her love for The Lord and his Word.