Knowing something and believing it are different degrees of faith.
I believe a lot of things, but I only know a few things.
The things I know have come to me through lived experience, personal encounter.
Here is what I know — and how I know it — about God.
God is real.
God is love.
God is Love.
God is all the Reality there is.
God is Love and Love is the unifying theory of everything.
God is Love of a type and a degree that defies description with ordinary human language.
How do I know that?
I know it because God came to me. Listen very carefully to what I’m about to say next. I did not go to God.
God came to me.
God, the eternal God Who made everything everywhere, came to me.
It was simple. Impossible. Simple. Impossible. Simple. Impossible.
But it happened.
It was simple. I was alone in my car, driving to Enid Oklahoma to make a speech. I was deeply remorseful because of a sin I had committed against another person. This sin had nothing to do with the splashy public sins that the many Christians who had been attacking me and lying about me for years and years were so worked up about. I didn’t feel guilt for those things. I honestly thought they were a positive good.
The object of my remorse was a serious sin, but a personal sin. I wasn’t grieved because I thought it was a sin. My remorse came from the fact that I had hurt someone else for selfish reasons and nothing I could do could make it right again.
Alone, in my car, grieved, remorseful, lost. I knew I was talking to God when I said it, but I didn’t say much. I just blurted out two words. “Forgive me.”
That’s all. No eloquence. Just, Forgive me.
What happened next was the turning point of my life. This Being was there. I think he/she/it had been there all along, I was just separated from this Spirit by my own blindness.
The joy, the indescribable ecstatic joy and love, the Light of this Being was beyond any words to describe. I felt the Holy Spirit, filling me up like water pouring into jug. It was an actual, physical sensation. The love and joy were truly heavenly.
That Being did not just fill me that day and then go away. The Holy Spirit was a real Presence, a guiding Other Who showed me, slowly and gently and over a lot of time, my many sins.
Sometimes, He showed me a simple thing I had done. I remembered a time when I was a little girl. I walked past a lonely child who looked at me with longing. I started to speak to this person, then backed away and walked on. The Spirit of God showed me what I had done, and then very gently said, That was wrong.
He wasn’t so much convicting me as teaching me. He wasn’t showing me that I was a sinner. He was teaching me how to love. Jesus doesn’t change what you do. He changes what you want to do.
I know that this is what the Church calls a “private revelation.” I would never claim that it is something that binds other people. All these years of trying to walk with Christ, and I can’t explain or even adequately describe it myself. But the memory is as strong as if it happened now.
This experience is the unshakable bedrock of my faith. I know God is real because I have met Him. I know God is Love because I have felt this Love and it is Love beyond human ability to describe.
I know that God loves us.
I know it.
And I know that He cares more about how we treat one another than we can imagine.
I don’t believe that. I didn’t figure it out from reading Scripture, although it is the clear message of the entire Gospels of Christ. I know it. Because He taught it to me.
God took me out of public life after that. I thought then that it was forever. I was a full-time, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for 16 years. Those were the silent years of my life, the fertile years when I grew in faith.
Years later, the same God who loved me from death to life on that road to Enid Oklahoma, gave me something that I call “the awful gift.” In one awe-full, terrible moment He downloaded into me what every baby, all babies, go through in an abortion.
It was like being thrown through a car windshield. It tore me apart, shredded any pretense I had ever had that I was a good person and left me so wretched with grief and remorse that I could not bear it.
Before my conversion on the road to Enid, I had been very publicly and, as was my wont, politically, pro choice. But that wasn’t why I turned to God. The Holy Spirit didn’t teach me it was wrong for quite a long while after my conversion. It took the Holy Spirit a year and a half to get around to showing me that I was wrong about abortion. Even then, it was gentle, just, This is wrong. You have to change.
God drew me out of public life for 16 years. During that time, I grew up from the infant in faith I had been to something a bit more mature.
Then, out of nowhere, when I was praying about other things, He hit me with The Awful Gift. I’ve always thought that this came from Our Lady. Or rather, that it came through her, that she facilitated it in some way that is beyond me to grasp in this life. I came to understand later that this was my preparation for a return to public life.
I also think that God gave me a bit of my Purgatory in this life.
If I’m right about that, if what we will experience in Purgatory is the pain that we inflict here in this life, we should all be a little more careful about how we treat other people.
I have suffered with a scalding awareness for quite a while now that the Holy Spirit is not in the actions of most Christians today. I mean all of us.
I have less excuse than most people because I know what I know and I know from personal experience that God is Love.
I know, absolutely know, that the things we think are so important don’t really matter all that much. The things we regard as trivial and don’t even remember, the passing moments of encounter and interaction with other people, are what matters.
It matters how we treat one another.
Nothing else you do really does matter.
We live in a culture of hate. The Holy Spirit is withdrawing from our world. I want to say that again, because I want you to understand it. The Holy Spirit is withdrawing from our world. We are rejecting the Spirit of God and taking on the spirit of satan. That is what it means to be so full of hatred.
The Spirt of God, the Intercessor, the Paraclete will still guide you if you will listen to Him. But the Spirit is withdrawing from the world as a whole. You can see it in the mass apostasy that is taking place, in the substitution of false gods of this world for Christ by people who claim they are Christians.
Christians are not acting as the light of the world. They are, more and more, behaving as part of the darkness. They have become so mean and full of hate that they are repulsive. They fling canon law around and condemn people in a pitiless and angry way with no call to redemption, not one word of the Hope and Salvation that Jesus offers. They’re like terrified snakes, striking blindly at the air.
Instead of becoming the Light of the World, we are becoming the Darkness. We judge, condemn, and batter other people with our hardness of heart and indifference to their suffering.
This is not all our fault. Our religious leaders are preaching and teaching a christianity without Jesus, without the Cross, without the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes.
They have eschewed the Ten Commandments and actively teach us that telling the truth, practicing honesty and sexual purity do not matter for us … they only apply to those we wish to condemn and then only so that we can use these things to condemn, not convert, them. They are preaching a false gospel of political redemption and telling people to turn their backs on the true Gospel of Christ.
No Christian ever tries to convert anybody. All we do is condemn them and then lick our chops over the prospect of their doom.
We’ve gone out of the conversion business. We’re in the holier-than-thou, step over Lazarus and go to dinner business.
We are all sinners.
We are all going to hell.
We are all going to face the things we’ve done and feel the pain we’ve inflicted on other people.
None of us can stand before God. Not one of us.
I don’t think this.
I don’t believe it.
I know it.
We need to repent. Now.
Stop telling yourself how holy you are and how sinful those others over there are. Repent. Convert. Turn to God and say “Forgive me” from your heart.
Ask God to teach you to love.
Do it now, before you have to face yourself as you really are in eternity.