Not Exactly A Burning Bush

After attending my first Mass and subsequently deciding to attend inquiry classes, I lived a dual Sunday existence.  I attended Wednesday evening inquiry class.  On Sundays, I went to the 9AM Mass and received my blessing.  I returned to my Baptist church in time for the 11AM service.  Before long, I was so distracted during the Baptist service that I would sit there with my mind elsewhere.  My family didn’t think I was seriously considering leaving our church. I helped with the youth at my church.  At my last youth retreat with the Baptist church, I came to terms with the direction I was headed. I documented the following reflection:


John Tanner Retreat – Quiet Time Reflection              August 29, 1998 10:30 AM


Seeking God’s Direction on the Nature Trail


God speaks loudest in the tranquility of nature.  Tomorrow morning, I will be speaking to the youth about how to “Walk His Way.”  Today, I’m asking God to show me His Way. 


It’s my quiet time as I walk alone around the lake and into the woods of the nature trail.  Contemplating the road before me, I am looking for God’s signposts.  Passing by a bush, I notice one leaf is caught in the wind.  It flutters with such frenzy.  How oddly the one leaf stands out.    “Here, look at me!” it seems to be shouting.  I pause to watch for a moment, as the wind seems to only disturb this one leaf.   Still bemused, I walk on. 


I can no longer hear the laughs and screams of children at the beach.  I hear only the birds, frogs, crickets, and the sound of my feet.  Coming to a bridge over a running stream, I sit down on the bridge.  Staring into the water below, I think about my life and the decision I am making to deepen my relationship with the Catholic Church.  The sound of the rushing water over rocks is the sound of the Living Water and Eternal Spring of Jesus Christ.  I am a rock in that spring.  I feel the refreshing water flowing over my troubled spirit.  I pray to God for guidance to be in His Will in my decision to step into fellowship with the Catholic Church.  I sit on the bridge for what seems to be an eternity.  I am meditating on the nature God created and bringing my mind to a quiet place.  With a calmed spirit, I stand and continue to walk.  The path I take leads me through the woods, across a moss covered bridge, and to a stone bench.  I sit on the bench and look upward.  I see slivers of blue sky above the trees.  I look for God above the treetops and cry. “Jesus, let my prayers touch the hem of Your garment.” [Luke 9:40-48]  Tears flow as water in the stream.


I pray, “Lord, is this where you would have me to go?  Am I reading the signs right?  Did you point me in this path nine years ago?  Is it your voice calling me and not my own? The Eucharist is what I felt as a child but did not understand.”  The faces of the Reformers flash in my mind – – Luther and Calvin.  “But, what is Your truth God?  I ache to know.  Show me – – tell me please.  I have so many questions.  Yet, I believe You have given me signs along the way—more now than ever.  This is not an easy change in my life and people do not understand.  I know that Your Holy Spirit is speaking to me in Mass and I feel a calling.  I am compelled with a passion to return every Sunday.  I am reawakening to Your presence.  Yet, I’m so afraid of making a wrong decision.  I must be sure the voice I hear is Yours.” 


I am quiet and listening. 


Then, He speaks, “Remember the bush with only one leaf caught in the wind?  Just as I have the power to single out just one leaf in the wind, I have singled you out for a purpose.  It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.  I have called — you.” 


I pray, “God, please use me.” 


He says, “I already am….”  


I walk in peace to begin my journey to Initiation in the Catholic Church.




3 thoughts on “Not Exactly A Burning Bush

  1. I’ve finally made the time to go back and read all your faith journey posts. It is quite a story and all of the little details serve to inspire me to continue writing the chapters of my own journey. I see many parallels, a simple symbol at my desk, a memory of sensing God’s presence calling me, an untimely passing bringing me into (back into, in my case) a Catholic Church. May God’s blessings continue to be upon you now and always.

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