Early Steps in the Fold: Instructions for Converts and Inquirers
- ISBN-13: 9781499150667
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
- Pages: 436 pages
- Dimensions: 0.99 x 9.0 x 6.0 inches
This work makes no pretension to supply the place of a complete Manual of Instructions for those contemplating reception into the Catholic Church, such as it belongs to the priest to impart to intending converts. If in its earlier pages it addresses itself to those who are still without the Fold, this is not for furnishing them with that full and most necessary instruction upon the Claims of the Church to the submission of all Christians and upon the particular doctrines which she delivers to men in the name of Christ. The opening chapters are therefore merely intended for smoothing away certain difficulties of a more general character which commonly tend to deter honest seekers for the truth from enquiring seriously into Catholic claims. As the title suggests, this publication is mainly addressed to those who have already been received into communion with the Apostolic See of Rome, after going through a course of careful tram mg. Even in their case it may happen that the instructor bas been obliged to limit himself to explaining the articles of essential belief and the few practical obligations which bind all Catholics alike under pain of mortal sin, such as the hearing of Mass on certain days, the Easter Duty, and the Observance of Fasts and Abstinences. Time may have failed him, or his catechumen, for a complete treatment of the details of Catholic life. He may have left these to be acquired gradually through sermons, public catechisms, missions, or spiritual Retreats, as well as by intercourse with other Catholics. But the process of filling up gaps in the convert's knowledge by such means may prove somewhat tedious and imperfect. In the meantime, the new child of the Church may experience a demoralizing sense of discouragement as the effect of backwardness, and feel like" a fish out of water." On finding so much that is new and even unintelligible in the richness of Catholic faith and practice, the fresh convert begins to yield sadly to the persuasion that he, or she, is not "a proper Catholic" at a11-a frame of mind that easily develops into serious temptation against perseverance. And yet, withal, there may be the consciousness of much mental and moral conflict endured in the course of conversion, of very considerable sacrifices generously made, and-as not unfrequently happens-no little persecution from bigoted relatives, friends, or employers. There arises' the painful self-questioning: "Has it all been toil and suffering in vain? Have I come out of the land of spiritual bondage. Through desert wanderings and hardships, into the Promised Land, only to find myself an alien there, out of touch and sympathy with my new religious surroundings? I cannot indeed doubt that, in becoming a Catholic, I have followed the inspirations of divine grace and entered into the liberty of the children of God. Yet perhaps I have been so long used to the atmosphere of slavery-to the mists of error and doubt-as to have become permanently unfitted for enjoying the air of freedom." The present volume is an attempt to meet this and kindred states of the convert mind. May it help somewhat to develope in the newly found sheep that sense of "at-horne-ness" in the One True Fold which conduces so powerfully to inward peace and happiness, and is--especially in the case of less robust souls-so necessary for growth and expansion in the service and love of Christ.
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