Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.”
– Acts 9
Catholic Priest, former Atheist, Father John Bartunek in his own words
We may not know what moves a fallen away Catholic, a former Atheist, or anyone to come home to faith in Jesus Christ, and to the fullness of the Christian faith in the church He founded – the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church – the Catholic Church. However, when our hearts are open to the touch of God’s grace our lives can be transformed for all eternity.
For some, like St. Paul, as we hear in the Acts of the Apostles, this encounter can be so dramatic that it can blind us, only to have our eyes opened to the truth in new and unexpected ways. For others the encounter may be but a whisper, like a gentle breeze, almost imperceptible. Dramatic or gentle, an encounter is always life-changing.
God’s ways are not our ways. But if we allow ourselves – if our hearts our open – the Lord can change and transform us so that one day we can speak with love about the One who is love. Opening our heart is an invitation to God who yearns to be with His children like any loving father yearns to be with those he loves.
Our father in heaven wants us home. He wants you home. If you’ve been away from the Church for one day, or for a lifetime, come home. Your family misses you.
Catholics Come Home
Watch and share this short video, and take time this month to reach out to someone away from the Church to let them know you care, and to extend an invitation to come home.
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
– The Story of the Prodigal Son, Gospel of Luke (15:11-32)
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.