Saturday, February 1, 2020

I'm Married to a Catholic

When I married my husband, I was sure that religion or differences in beliefs will never be a hindrance to a happy married life.  I believed that Love Conquers All.
marriage between catholic and born again

Indeed, love is a factor.  But I found out that Love is not enough.  Commitment to our marriage is the bigger factor, and this commitment becomes possible only with help from God.

We argued when I decided to enroll our daughter in a non-Catholic Christian pre-school. He was abroad at that time.

When it was time for elementary and high school, I gave in to my husband's wishes.  She studied in a Catholic school run purely by nuns.  He was paying the high tuition fees, so I no longer argued with him.

There were irritants that mainly came from our religious differences: he was not happy whenever our garage gets to be used by Christian youth teaching children in the neighborhood; he'd see I'd be quiet and uncomfortable whenever his uncle gives him religious images and he doesn't know where in the house to put them; he'd also wince if I tell him to give his big offering to smaller Catholic churches, and not to the big big church that he usually attends.

When my daughter was younger, she said she liked the Catholic churches better because they were bigger, wider and that the mass celebrations were shorter.  My husband also one time wondered out loud why the churches I attend were all small, struggling, and were always asking for building funds.  In his struggling mind, he could be thinking that God has not been blessing these small churches.  With my brother being a pastor and pastor-leader and my parents being lay ministers in the province, whenever we vacation there, we always go to the newer churches being planted, so they were always small, struggling and always asking for building funds.

Again, in Metro Manila, I first attended a fledgling church, a small church, struggling, and always asking for building funds. And there are a lot of small churches here in our area, small, struggling, and always asking for building funds.

Then my husband got very ill. At a time when he had stopped going abroad, and our funds were gone.  He had a heart attack. With great thanks to God, he recovered without having to undergo a bypass.  My husband softened.  He heard how I prayed and prayed.  For the first time, he was listening when I told him that I was not getting him out of his Catholic beliefs, that I was just telling him that he needs to recognize that he is a sinner and to accept Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord. For the first time in our married life, not counting the sometimes perfunctory "Bless this food" at mealtimes, we prayed together with love in our hearts.

For the past few years, my husband has been driving me and my daughter to this big evangelical church.  He's been seeing families in BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Chryslers, and all those other expensive cars.  He has since also seen other big evangelical churches all around the metro.  Indeed, evangelical churches are not always struggling, small, and always asking for building funds.

But although this one I've been attending is big, it still was asking for building funds hahaha.  But from time to time you hear of anonymous offerings of a-hundred-thousand, or half-a-million or one-million for expansion purposes, for sending missionaries, for helping build churches in other places, and sending medical and disaster assistance missions, and helping some remote barangays.

And after just a few years, this big church was able to pay all the funds lent for the construction of its building.

These past months, my daughter and I have been attending another church having their six Sunday services in a mall.  I've been giving in to my daughter who prefers worshipping there because,  as she says, there are a lot more young people and the worship is more alive.

My husband is still a Catholic.  But I rest in the fact that he has received Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord. Sometimes he attends our worship services, if I make special requests.  There are now priests on TV that preach more and more like evangelicals, and there are even ones like Bo Sanchez, and I notice that my husband now takes time to listen to them, whereas before when he chances on these things, he immediately flicks the remote to another channel.

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