Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-05-31 - Amanda Mark

Author Recorded Friday May 31st, 2019

There are 44 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

Amanda married my recent guest Kevin Mark eleven years ago and they both became Catholic about 3 years ago. Amanda is a devoted wife and mother of six and has a profound faith in the Church, despite some initial reticence. I enjoyed our chat and hope to meet her and her family soon as they are coming to visit Montréal.


Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-05-31 - Amanda Mark

Author Recorded July 26th, 2017

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hi this is Amanda mark and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic tell us a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how you came to believe it well it goes pretty far back um I was raised in a Christian family my background is Mennonite my family we're very faithful we were always at church just really raised to know and love God and the Bible and I have a very distinct memory of sitting at the edge of my bed with my dad I think I might have been three or so and praying to ask Jesus into my heart and that's been forever imprinted in my mind as I grew up we were always at church and I do remember sitting in church thinking this is a little bit boring I kind of hope all like Church when I'm older and haven't sounded pretty boring to you but I I never doubted and when I was seven years old my parents I'm the oldest of four my parents went down to Mexico for two years to do missions work and that had a very profound effect on my life but also my faith coming back to Canada trying to fit in again with my peers was always not particularly smooth I had friends but they never got me and I I tell my parents even now how thankful I am that they did that because I don't know where I would be now without seeing God just really at work in in these people's lives and just felt that to me it looks like that God is real and and I didn't have gel coats after that but I didn't always feel something we're still kind of missing when we were I think I was in grade eight or nine we started attending the Pentecostal church in our town and until my husband I joined the Catholic Church we attended Pentecostal churches and that was really great people were on fire for the Lord loved Jesus and it it's really good for me lots of growth it was great but I felt like something was missing and I knew that could it be God's fault like I wasn't blaming him I mostly would have said I blamed myself for that not went to church enough or praying the right way or or whatever but things got really interesting when I met my husband we met in November of 2007 married in 2008 had her first child 2009 and it's been pretty much a rollercoaster ever since we have six kids our youngest is going to be one this July and so the doctor we got married you're still attending Pentecostal church we really enjoyed him at great people good pastors but along the lines Kevin my husband was just really struggling with lots of different questions and was always asking questions and reading and seeking and I mean I just kind of thought he's gonna be a theologian or something always he's discussing these types of things and I felt like I could rarely keep up with him but it was no big deal like we kept along that path but the reason we had our son our first son so early on is on our honeymoon we felt convicted about the use of contraception and on our honeymoon he did pray to ask the Lord to just make it abundantly clear to us what his will for us is in this because we were confused and we didn't know what to do because the pastor that gave us our marriage counseling going in told us to wait a few years to have kids and that was just the norm to use contraception and wait till you wanted kids or whatever and we just don't know what to do and the Lord did answer that prayer for us in a very clear way and and so Silas was born nine months later and I'm not very good at going through Kevin's got his his kind of like Domino's how things just kept coming up and brought us closer and closer to the Catholic Church but it was never on it wasn't until right at the end where it was clear that's where we were headed so so there wasn't really agent on our radar but we went through discussions about baptism and all kinds of stuff and so I was cool going along and and hearing all this stuff but the final straw was when we were at our church and where we attend the the parents get to decide when they wanted their children to participate in communion and at that time we we didn't want to let our kids do that we had three and we're expecting her fourth or youngest was just little still or a fourth youngest but in their Sunday School class they had done what my children interpreted as communion because they apparently had gone through to discuss it into whatever but then they also still gave them bread and grape juice or whatever so when our kids came home they told us about that we were we were quite struck I really throw us off guard and it was at that point we we knew where we were at and so that's when we started attending the Catholic Church closest to us and and looked into our CIA classes but one of the interesting things was is I didn't really go along with this terribly smoothly towards the end I was fine in general but then I remember one day we had this discussion and I don't even know what the topic was I do remember I was sitting on the edge of the couch and I must have been frustrated I'm not sure I must have given my husband some sort of look and he said it's not like we're gonna become Catholic or anything and I told him at that moment I didn't tell him at that one but in my mind I knew at that moment who you were going to be Catholic and I was mad and I've never been so mad at my husband for a full month and afterwards he told me he really didn't know he just thought I was missed and it was just a really big struggle across the board it was just the unknown cuz I grew up in a completely different stream of Christianity I never remember hearing any anti-catholic statements or anything but there was a clear anti-catholic bias in me that came out real strong then and what struck me the most was is I struggled so hard that months to pray I wanted to pray I knew I should but I couldn't find the words I just remember being so confused and not knowing what to do just so so lost and feelings I had nobody to talk to like I I knew my family wasn't gonna like this I knew my friends were likely not going like this and the rest of my friends will like Christians they got they they would not see this I had nobody to talk to and I was definitely not gonna be talking to Kevin at this point and so I just remember struggling and struggling with that and so one night I don't know what prompted it I don't I dunno it was out of desperation I remember going to my bedroom and I was on my knees and I just cried out to the Lord because I was so lost and I said I do not understand this I do not know why this is happening because I knew it wasn't gonna go well especially with my family and I didn't want to go there but I said Lord this is what you want for me I will do it I will follow Kevin I will join the Catholic Church and in that moment such a peace washed over me that completely blew me away it's definitely as the verse says the peace that passes all understanding and what struck me by it is I had never experienced that kind of peace I had never known that kind of peace and it was that gift that has been my rock for it because I have never doubted this journey I have never doubted that this was the truth and this is truly what the Lord had for us and that was just such a blessing because things didn't go well after that when and we shared things with my family and and everything and there was a lot of stuff going on there but I just never had any doubts and that was I'm still faithful to her for that and so we joined the church in I'm gonna get it wrong I think we're three years in now I think there's a third Easter in the church we were we joined to Easter Vigil with our four oldest themed baptized and I was pregnant with our fifth so we we joked that our little Clement is our first official Catholic baby but it's been the best thing that has ever happened to me and it is that thing that I was missing my whole life and it's the Eucharist it is the sacrament it's confession that I I was somewhat worried about confession initially but they are also like giving and I can't imagine not being Catholic I keep telling Kevin Catholic is the best thing ever and he just looks at me like I'm crazy because he knows how much I didn't want this at first and and so we can give Kevin a lot a lot of credit too because III will joke that he get a big part and dragging me kicking and screaming into into the church but the Lord definitely gave me some some serious grace to to submit to that Wow I wish that everyone would say that prayer that you said I don't like the Catholic Church I'm scared of the Catholic Church but if it's your will God that I join then that's what I'm gonna do and then BOOM you're in you get that view from the inside which is radically different from the view from the outside and one of my favorite quotes by st. Bernard of Clairvaux is commentary on the canticle of canticles the Song of Solomon how the church is black but beautiful and how she has this appearance which is off-putting to those who don't love her and it's so radically different once you're in love with the church there's no way to express the vision that we have the clarity that we have the peace that we have the joy that we have the abundant riches that we have in terms of history science the Saints the sacraments liturgy the philosophy the theology the apparitions the miracles it's just such a treasure that we have in a way it's sort of a shame that we only have about a hundred years here to explore it but I guess we'll have all of eternity to explore the treasures if God willing we make it to heaven but I want to talk a little bit about this whole creationism thing because I just recently came out of the closet as a young earth creationist just talk generally about creation being a Catholic if you would please sure I never doubted the six tapes of creation and brought that to with us to the church like I I never doubted it and it wasn't we didn't run into too much of that or as much with our in the denominations we were growing up within the terms of evolution like it was like it never came up until right at the end before we joined the church people were having the creationists come out and talk because that was getting into to the Bible schools and everything and these these kids are coming out teaching this weird version of evolution and to me it's a shock being like just really surprising and I kind of people say well what's the big deal who cares if you believe some version of evolution are not in and I think thanks to Kevin like I don't think I would have delved into it as much except in fact that he's always talking about so I get to hear it all the time but not believing in the six days of creation completely undermines the inerrancy of the Bible and once you start doing that everything starts falling apart and that's that's I think what I take most from is just how we see so many people not even whites read the Bible and then they do all their own interpretations and it just gets uncontrollable but but when you believe in the sixty's creation you can take the Lord's word literally then you have to sell a foundation to go on and I don't I just don't understand it doesn't make any logical sense to me how people think that any of these other theories align themselves at all with God in his will and who God is you've been married how many years now almost eleven okay I don't know I don't know if you know but I'm tea four years married and my wife is rabidly anti-catholic so that's kind of like a miracle when I hear about a nice submissive docile obedient wife sure I'm sure you have a lot of character a lot of personality and I'm sure you can stand your ground but this idea of the man being the leader the spiritual head of the family it is something that's neglected I think in today's world outside of the church and inside of the church there's you know since the so-called sexual revolution there's a lot of crazy stuff going on and you've already talked about contraception and this how widely accepted it is in even among Christians and sadly even among Catholics I'm sure you've seen that so the question that I'm getting to here is about your relationship with Kevin to this day are there issues that separate you whether they're dogmatically defined issues or whether they're just peripheral are the things that you differ on that are significant that you talk about and you're trying to work through or that you don't talk about because you get upset when you talk about them I coming back to what you're just saying about being a submissive wife in today's culture like it's just horribly if you say anything along those lines and you're like the worst person in the world right today and I've come across that like you said within the church and everything because people have essentially almost said sometimes that my husband just rules over me is I think what somebody has almost literally said before and I mean that may be how it looks that I'm not necessarily willing to agree that but that is not the case but I do believe in how the Lord lined it up and that's how he ordained it as the man to be the head of the household and because of the state of our culture now it is so much more difficult to do that because you're bombarded with with being your own person and your equal and all this kind of stuff and so that definitely makes it harder but I've never disbelieved that and I think I I had a real journey myself to come to this place better I would have said when we first married I was doing my best to be submissive and everything but little did I know how far I had to go and it's been a good journey though because I realized that that's what the Lord had and like we see eye to eye when it comes to the church and all the major things in our lives where I tie and that is such a blessing because we are trying to do our best with our marriage and with our family and we're on the same page and it mostly comes down to I would say communication issues seeing things differently as they come up and how to communicate those things graciously back and forth with each other because we both communicate very differently and that usually is what we struggle with the most and for me just learning what it looks like and what it means to be respectful to Kevin and how we can do that and the more I have learnt that in being able to bite my tongue even when I want to say something even if I think I'm right or even end up being right about something it has brought more unity and peace to our merits because Kevin sees that I'm trying to respect him and I'm not trying to undermine him and then he is loving towards me and so it's it goes both ways and so yeah it hasn't it's not easy and I don't expect it to be easy but if this throat we're in this battle till the day we die and it's a worthy battle to fight and so there been times definitely where the devil the lie that he's a liar who tries to just take these issues that could become contentious and blow them up into something so much more and cause just complete devastation in one's marriage and family and life and the more I purposed to fight against that and to love and honor my husband even if I get upset about something the Lord gives just so many graces and he hears those prayers and it's such a blessing we're by no means a perfect couple but because we I've noticed we're both willing to keep trying to love even when it's hard where we're getting somewhere one of my guests had a good insight I don't think it was his original idea but he shared it with me and it had to do with this question of submission and how the woman's submission is literally putting herself underneath the mission of the man and that mission that the man has is all about the woman's about loving her it's about respecting her it's about protecting her it's about like if we think about the someone that failed in their mission we can think about Adam he did not complete his mission right so obviously submission today ain't what it's cracked up to be right because we live in a fallen world so if you go in naive to a relationship and you think I'm going to submit completely and I'm never going to sort of rise above my station then you're probably doomed to failure in your relationship because your husband is a sinner right so you're going to have to wear the pants sometimes and that's just the way it is but if Adam had completed his mission then Eve would have been safe and so I think that that's important to bear in mind that we are different men and women are different but we have complementary roles and it's all about love and respect in both directions that complementarity is a wonderful thing now one of the questions I like to ask my guests is about the Saints some of your favorite Saints if you could just sort of talk to me about your relationship with the communion of saints because coming from Protestantism it was probably an adjustment that you had to make that was a journeying of itself wrapping wrapping my mind around that and and the significance of it it's totally blew me away I'm so grateful that was completely almost completely repulsive to me before coming into the church it just praying to dead people and all this kind of stuff it it took time but again God's grace is so sweet and gentle and he gives us the time we need to come around but I have been blown away by the gift of Our Lady and how her intercession is so powerful it's so hard to express the beauty in the Wonder within the church once you're in there it's a completely different perspective and when you're open to allowing the Lord to show that to you it's just so amazing an example of that would be is going into like joining the church at the Easter Vigil we were asked what we wanted who we wanted to have her confirmation sings well at that point we weren't very familiar and heaven more so because he was had done a lot more reading about some of the sayings but I was at a loss as to who to pick and I didn't want to just randomly pick somebody for the sake of doing so I was just praying about it and within the course of I think 2 or 3 days the exact same things came up in a very unique way that it caught my attention immediately like I couldn't ignore it and so my confirmation saint is st. Faustina and again the message of Mercy that that the Lord gave her has had a profound effect on my life and how I live and interact with others showing them mercy and and thirdly would be st. Trez of the Sioux and the message of love just doing little things with great love is is my mantra because I do a lot of little things all day long and that has been able to turn around me seen being annoyed and being bogged down by all the work I have to do at home with all the kids and I mean I literally used to cry about spilled milk and I don't anymore and that's such a blessing and but to be able to see that everything I do I can do for the lord out of love and it's that's been a huge gift to me what is your prayer life like now and how does it compare with your prayer life when you were a Protestant I've always enjoyed praying I do remember really struggling with when things weren't going well or hard or lack of word sometimes not knowing what to pray or how to pray and then when we came into the church and there are so many books on just prayers just prayers you can pray and it really irks me at first because I'm like you can't like the whole vain repetition and things like that just it took me a while to get over that especially since my husband really likes books and prayer books and I'm like we don't need to collect these but what I've found is the times and I don't know what to pray I can pray a Hail Mary to our Blessed Mother or there's been a range of wrote prayers that I've been able to memorize the memory has been such a blessing that in that moment when I'm overwhelmed you're stressed or I just know that even I would even slip into just if I'm upset at Kevin just wanted you again he did this nut I can stop myself from going there but just focusing on a prayer and praying to the Lord and it directs my thoughts and keeps me on track sometimes the Rosary as well has been an amazing journey amazing blessing that again there's a lot of positive anti-catholic sentiment toward the Rosary which I understand cuz I had that one too but I don't have the words to explain or these reasons laid out for why it is such a gift I just know that the intercession of Our Lady is so powerful and I have seen it over and over since we have joined the church that I have no doubts you can argue about all kinds of things I think that I just know that our Lady hears and and brings a request before for the Lord and he he answers them and it's such such a gift and so I have been blessed I feel like my prayer life has grown deeply in that and even novenas they've been I've loved praying novenas they give such focus and such purpose to your prayers that I have found such great worth in that so have you started reading more now that you're Catholic I have a huge stack of books right now on my bedside table that I told my husband that that's that's the pile I really want to read problem is I'm usually so tired by the end of the night that I don't get very far so it's been a slow go but I do still try to read as much as I can a thing that I'm thankful for is Kevin always gives me the Coles notes of whatever he's reading so I feel like I'm benefiting from that quite a bit too what about the apparitions of Mary have you looked into them do you have your favorites are there any that you're excited about that inspire you like Fatima the words or Guadalupe those ones were the first ones I learned up and heard of the miracle of automa but what can be seen as how impossible it is that the inks I just find that remarkable how it is survived only survived but even just it's not supposed to even be essentially which is clearly a miracle and really amazing but again a transition for me becoming Catholic was going from calling her Blessed Mother Mary and just being very casual about it to growing his reverence Anissa for our lady that I am surprised like what I think back to how I used to talk about Mary my cousin so horrible but just learning from her life and and seeing it in such a different way and I have been seeing that in a new way as I didn't mean through the Gospels especially how she wasn't obviously in the forefront all the time but she was always following the Lord and was obedient and the Soraa she must have experienced intense yeah you know we have a saint here in Montreal called st. Andre Bessette well we watched a documentary on him and actually we're playing on coming out Montreal this summer well you have to give me a call with mailing me for coffee or meet at the oratory they've got a little cafe up top to go there that's gonna be your first time in Montreux yes interesting so yeah he's obviously one of my favorite Saints because I'm so close to him geographically and in time even it's a real opportunity to get close to the Holy Family and of course he was inspired to build that great Church for st. Joseph's right so but just tell that the listener that's been away from the confessional for decades or the listener who's never been to confession because they're not even Christian yet like the atheist explain to them how it is to walk in to that booth and how it is to walk out of the booth what do you think is taking place inside there the initial thought when I knew we're gonna be coming Catholic and where I'd have to go to confession was probably a combination of fear and horror and I've always been very aware of my faults in my failures and not very impressed with them obviously but to have to actually speak them out loud was completely mortifying but the interesting thing was it didn't last long I don't know what the shift was but I wanted to go I wasn't I wasn't scared about that was a bit nervous about the whole thing but I wasn't trying to get out of it and without fail every single time I have walked into the confessional I've felt burdened I have felt whether I'm upset at myself or upset at somebody else because they did something that's making me upset or whatever there's a burden it never fails that I walk out of that confessional light full of joy and the smile on my face and so my first confession was when in and the priest was just very gracious because he knew this was we were joining the church and I had along this and I was rattling them off and getting more upset by the second but he was just really gracious and in the moment as the police was praying the prayer of Absolution I felt as light as a feather and I just I couldn't believe it I've never never known that was possible to actually let it go that it's gone that we are just forgiven in such a sweet way and that has been a case every single time it's been such a gift it's something that I couldn't live without now it and if I was speaking to somebody who hasn't been in a long time just go like it there is just no shame in it like no shame because that is what the devil is using to keep you from coming into the full relationship with the Lord like you need to just go you will receive such grace and you can keep going everything time you fall and don't fear the confessional because that's a treasure I sort of read my way into monotheism from atheism through philosophy and then I started devouring the lives of the Saints and philosophy of the Middle Ages and texts of the council's and the writings of the early church fathers and then when I actually got accepted into the Catholic Church after doing our CIA I started going to church and meeting regular Catholics and regular priests and I have to say I was quite disappointed I was disappointed in the lack of faith that lack of Orthodoxy and this is not to puff myself up and to look down on anyone it's just a reality so just talk to me about your own experience please know how it contrasts with my own from yours so it's that struggle with now that we're in the church as you said before it's this beauty in this wonder and the sacraments the grace but to deal with that is a burden you did not expect to carry like the honeymoon unfortunately wasn't very long but there's no going back like there's never going back from here we know that the Lord will prevail in the end and so we are now trying really hard to show this to our children and teach them that this is the Church of the Lord instituted and it's will stand we will make it to the end and to not become the solution cells and to leave right for them to see that this is so all from the Lord but we have to keep fighting this battle to the end and not given hmm have you met anyone that has gone so far to the right that they broken away for example set of accantus or recognize and resist SSPX rad treads I don't know like personally anybody who has we have met some people from those camps I mean it always brings up more questions and confusion on my part because it's like how does this work but I I again don't feel comfortable going in those directions I don't think that's much different than with what happened with Luther and going all off and making your own groups that you think are better so I grew up in more legalistic type it was more like that and I always felt that that doesn't bring us closer to the Lord if we're always just focusing on the rules and that kind of thing so I think that's probably why - I'm very much wary of that approach so I like to just have my guests try to dig deep and find a little message of hope for the listener so what do you think you might be able to say that to anyone that's out there listening now there's always hope there's always and if one is able to honestly pray and ask the Lord to show himself to move in their lives the Lord will not fail we obviously don't understand his ways or how he brings these things about but he does look at her hurts and I don't know obviously the background of all these listeners but there is hope and and the love the Lord has for them is endless and his mercy is so great that it covers all of that and if we are able to truly trust saying as saying yes to God that changes everything because I am a completely different person than I was three years ago when we joined the church the Lord has turned everything around for me and I know it's all gonna work out and so I am just excited about it and you can eat you if you like it will do if you've got some questions all you gotta do is all you got to do you got to do

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