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The History of Henry VIII: an opportunity taken...

"To be deep in history is to 
cease to be a Protestant."
~ Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman
Last week I wrote about an opportunity missed. This week, I seized an opportunity.

Yesterday, for the first time in months, I paid for a haircut. I am a fan of traditional barbershops, and the only traditional barbershop I know of in the area is about 45 minutes away. It is the same barber shop where I got my hair cut the day before my wedding.

The gentlemen there are always professional and personable. This time, as I was sitting in the barber chair, when I was asked what I do for a living. It is usually a conversation I do not enjoy having. When I say I do theology, I usually get one of two responses. The first is something to the effect of, "I don't see how anyone couldn't believe in God." The second is usually, "Oh..." and then silence.

This time the conversation was quite different. I was asked where I work. I told him that I do not currently have a job, and that finding a job in this area is difficult. I said that as a Catholic it is not like I can just go out and start my own church. To this, he replied, "Maybe God's telling you that it's time to join a different church."

Ah! Yes! An opportunity to evangelize!

He continued saying, "Maybe if you were Episcopal you could be a priest and have a wife, I know it's difficult to do something like that if you're Catholic."

I asked him how much he knew about the history of the Episcopal church. He admitted that he didn't know much. I explained to him that the Episcopal church was an extension of the Anglican church in America. It maintained the liturgy of the Church of England and its structure. I then asked how much he knew about the Church of England. He acknowledged that he did not know anything.

King Henry VIII
I explained to him that the Church of England was part of the Catholic Church until the rule of Henry VIII. Henry ultimately decided to proclaim himself the head of the Church in England, because the Church refused to annul his marriage. I asked him if he thought that was a good enough reason to leave the Church.

He admitted it was not and we continued to talk. I expressed as subtlely as possible the idea that the more you know the history of Christianity the more certain you are that the Catholic Church is the only true Church. I did this from my own perspective, saying, "I can't imagine being any Christian denomination. The more I've learned the history of any denomination of Christianity, the more certain I am that their reasons for separation are unfounded and it leads to error. So, naturally I wouldn't consider leaving the Church myself just so I could get a job."

We continued talking but at this point he seemed to concede that my decision was well formed and he asked if there were other ways that I could help the Catholic Church. He made several suggestions, but nothing that I have not already thought of and tried. I expressed my own desire to work in college campus ministry again, and my love for working with that age group. He seemed interested in what I had to say and I thanked him for the opportunity to talk and for the wonderful haircut.

It was a great opportunity, and I am glad I took it. Now, it is up to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.

 O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent and well developed!Thanks...

    ReplyDelete