IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD!
To my separated brethren.
If there is any good to come from
this essay, it comes from the many graces God has given this unworthy
servant. Any error must be due to my unworthiness.
Pray that I may become more worthy.
By Philip Madsen.
So many times have I heard a person say, "I only need the Bible, it
gives me all I need!" despite that they needed some zealot to start
them on this road whether by publication or word of mouth; some zealot
who has no proven authority or mandate from God.
"But the Bible is difficult to interpret- how do you know you are
getting it right?" this member of the "DEVIL'S CHURCH?" asks. Oh yes,
it's the devil's Church all right. I mean it's the only Church the
Devil is really interested in- his only real enemy.
"Jesus tells me," they reply, "He puts me on the right track."
"Then how do you know it's really Jesus and not your imagination or even the Devil himself?"
"IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD."
It is impossible to argue against a feeling with any rational
statement. Such things as "How do you know you have the right Bible
from all those varieties," gets the same blank look as, "Look I can
prove that it is a sin for a Catholic to worship the Virgin Mary or her
You see some person or some book written by another (who has no
authority or proof he speaks for God) has influenced them with lies
like 'Catholics worship Mary and Statues and things.' Why are people so
willing to believe without proof these lies? Is it because Catholic
doctrine is too hard? Whether it be a simple thing like divorce, or
transubstantiation, is it like when the many walked away from Jesus?
John VI. 53 "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 62 "Does this
scandalize you?" 67"… after this many of his disciples went back; and
walked no more with Him." If the truth hurts, many will seek another
path. "It makes me feel good". Well 4 or 5 pots of beer makes me feel
good but that doesn't make it good for me.
Ok, let's put the boot on the other foot. How can I be sure that I am
right? Let's say a hundred versions of the Bible existed all different.
(Remember heretics were writing books to contradict the gospel from the
days of the collapse of Judaism.). If only one can be the correct one,
then why should any of them be correct? If only one from a thousand
different Christian sects can be true then why should any of them be
true? Can the decision be left to every individual? It might work if
every individual was left to God alone and not beset with a myriad of
false Christs calling, "Follow Me". How can I be sure that I am right?
Let me tell you how.
FOUR ACTS OF GRACE.
It was January 1939, the clouds of war were gathering, vaguely
remembered at the tender age of four and a half years, when I was
placed in a single teacher State School in the small mining township of
Dittmer in North Queensland. My mother enrolled me as a Roman Catholic,
nominally, as we had no religion in our family. My father was C.of E,
my mother was Catholic in name only, and I was not baptised.
Consequently on the monthly religious instruction day, I was put with a
few other kids in front of this "man in black" a visiting Catholic
Priest. This memory is not vague at all. I can still see in my minds
eye the little red penny Catechism I was given. I cannot remember his
teaching but I know it was about burning forever. He literally
frightened the Hell and the Church out of me that day. It was a very
terrified boy who beseeched his mother that evening; "I don't want to
go to that boogieman again!"
The next day with some difficulty, my mother convinced the teacher that
as her little boy was not baptised, he was to be placed in another
group. I was very relieved and never got to see a man in black again
In the intervening period there were some rare Church of England Sunday
schools, perhaps some Presbyterian. Certainly much anti-Catholic
sentiment was built up. I do not think this came from the State School
environment, but rather from family and associates. At least by the 5th
grade of State school I did know off by heart the Lords Prayer and
Apostles Creed. I was so anti-Catholic I remember objecting to ''I
believe in the Holy Catholic Church" in the Church of England's Creed.
Don't get impatient now, I'm still telling why. The good part is near the end.
Did I feel any personal relationship with a God during this time? Not
really. Religion was boring and had no real attraction and only a vague
memory when compared with the other exciting events of childhood. I do
remember the taunts and occasional stone throwing as the convent kids
passed us on the other side of the road on our way home from school.
"Cattle ticks Cattle ticks Rotten Micks." etc. But there was one day in
this period when the first call from God came.
THE FIRST ACT OF GRACE.
I was a devoted "Boy Cub", junior boy scout, and one day when due to
dress for the Saturday afternoon meeting, I could not find my scarf,
the most important part after my cap, of the uniform. Well mum says,
"That's it. You can't go." Was I in tears? Wolf Cubs do not cry! In
desperation I snuck behind the open door of my room. I didn't want any
one especially my mother to see me doing this shameful thing, my first
prayer of petition on my knees, asking God most sincerely for my scarf.
I opened my eyes and there it was; at my knees on the floor on top of
the other soiled clothes usually thrown there till mum picked them up
on washing day. A perfectly logical explanation except that I believed
that God led me to that scarf and I believe today that it was His first
call. However brief it was an act of Grace. It changed my life not at
all. I grabbed the scarf and without any thank you rushed off, hoping
no one saw me in that moment of weakness upon my knees. That would have
been worse than being caught crying.
THE SECOND ACT OF GRACE
My Primary school days are over, we are now in Mt. Isa Qld., and my
parents think that this sook of a kid needed a boarding school to give
him some backbone. Dad really thought I was a bit of a sissy--I hated
sports and loved books. Anyway it was decided to send me to the
Christian Bros. Agricultural College 'St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus'
Abergowrie North Qld. simply because it was the most affordable. Well
this time there were tears. I was devastated. I put on a real turn I
can tell you. "Please don't send me to that Catholic place." I didn't
win this one, but as one of my close friends Brian was also going to be
there, I resigned myself to the inevitable.
It was after dark when the train arrived at Ingham the nearest centre
to Abergowrie which was some half-hours drive into the bush. This
amicable and slightly inebriated fellow driving an old 4WD Jeep
collected me. He was in town to collect supplies for the College and
the mail for the students. My late arrival delayed his return and was
no doubt the reason for his slight inebriation. This did not worry me,
as it was the fairly normal state for most people in a mining town like
Mt. Isa. I was a bit surprised though when he introduced himself,
"G'day, I'm Fr. B…..I'm the college Chaplain .." A real Priest and a
real man: I wasn't in the least terrified, but I remained subdued.
I was wearing my first ever glasses when I alighted from the truck upon
arrival at the school, and couldn't see very clearly. There was a large
surrounding group of boys waiting for their mail as it turned out, and
I was greeted with typical Catholic charity. "Oscar Bon sausage " was
the first cry. "Hector," cried another. I took my glasses off and never
wore them again. "I'll get you lot " I thought. "Bloody Cattle Ticks".
I may have been timid, but this bookworm felt quite superior.
The Third Act of Grace.
Actually there were quite a few non-Catholics at this school, it being
the only agricultural college for all of North Queensland. In the
classroom all students on the hour stood for Prayers. Non-Catholics
though were obliged to move out into the gardens to study when
Religious courses were held. I remember clearly on the hour every hour
us chanting the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary etc. There I was all alone
calling out my finale, "for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the
glory". In the deafening silence my eyes met the smiling eyes of Br.
Geraghty, "We don't say that part here Phil." Sinking down into my
seat, "I'm gunna get even with this bloke." I thought.
So when it came to Religious Instruction time I was asked to leave with
the other non-Catholics. This was my big chance to 'shoot these people
down in flames'. "Please sir, I would like to stay." Here I was having
to use the same excuse my mother used to get me away from the "man in
black". "I don't have to go with them Sir, I'm not BAPTISED." That was
magical--I was suddenly welcome to stay. I can remember my exact
thoughts at that time. "I'm going to prove these people wrong, I'll ask
every embarrassing question," and I did. God does work in mysterious
They had a hard job of it. The Catholics in those classes must have got
a much better insight into their religion because of my presence. The
very first thing I required was proof of the existence of a Creator.
They failed here. I did not accept then, as I do not now the classical
argument that the order in the universe required an intelligent
Creator. What order? We have hermaphrodites. Planets often collided.
Stars exploded. The workings of the universe could not be compared to
the workings of a watch, not to this scientific type. By that age I was
already well clued up on making impressive bombs.
In the mean time though, as part of the course, I was studying Church
History. I said before how I loved books. Here I was reading a history
that I couldn't put down. I knew this was not a biased history, as many
histories are. Why? Because it didn't paint a pretty picture. From the
rebellion of Judas, the denial of Peter, the few good Popes and the
many bad Popes. The internecine fighting within the Church, the
politics, and the heresies. I learned that though the Church was of
Divine institution, it was run by and composed of normal frail human
beings, who often could fall into error. Sometimes it would take the
Holy Spirit quite a while to clean things up. A great Saint was often
raised to put things in order. In the end though, things did get fixed.
I began to understand why the Protestants became impatient with the
Holy Spirit. If only they had had as much faith in His Church as they
had in Him. This history showed how thousands or millions could be lead
astray on an emotional issue by one emotional man.
I learned the distinction between charity as an act of the Will and
charity as an act of the heart, but I was still not convinced. I wanted
more proof. The Liturgy of the Mass, the music and ceremony of
Benediction, the Rosary prayers, most certainly effected me
emotionally. How could they not? But I did not and still do not TRUST
the heart. I accepted by now that the other side had misled me about
Catholic belief. There was no promotion of evil, only good works and
personal sacrifice were encouraged towards all men.
Somehow my place in the Chapel was always close to the foot of a Statue
of Our Lady. During the evening Rosary Prayers I was almost afraid of
the emotional effect this was having. IT MADE ME FEEL GOOD. And this
was dangerous to my intellect. I must have understood what the Church
teaches, LOVE is an act of the WILL first, emotion may be a secondary
bonus, therefore I distrusted this good feeling. I wasn't ready yet.
Within the study of Church History, much was made of the miracles,
first of course by Our Lord, but also by the Apostles and the Saints.
When Jesus was accused of having the Devil, his answer was "if you will
not accept Me, then at least accept the works that I do." Why would
Jesus ask this if he thought the devil could work the same miracles?
Remember Magnus the illusionist; an illusion is all the devil can
manage. But these works were in history. Despite their sincerity the
witnesses may have been deceived. St. Thomas had no good excuse to
doubt; after all he had witnessed many miracles. I would not accept
this history on blind faith as the Catholics did.
The Fourth and Final Grace (for this story)
Then it was that this scientific person learned of Fatima. Suddenly he
was confronted with living witnesses. Real photographs in newspaper
articles, many written by hostile witnesses, some of whom changed their
lives forever, entering the life of prayer sacrifice and doing
charitable works. In fact quite a lot of worldly people in their flash
cars came to the big miracle out of curiosity or just to laugh at the
peasants. How could this prodigious demonstration be faked? I applied
my limited knowledge then to no avail. Even today with all our modern
science it couldn't be done. It was the simplest phenomenon that
impressed me most. Right on cue to the second, the biggest rain
depression in Europe of 1917, ceased and the sky over that area cleared
at Midday. The people were ankle deep in soaking mud. Within a few
moments of the sun falling from the sky, the whole area was dry as a
desert, mud, clothes on 70,000 people, everything dry. That is a lot of
Power, and it is no good pretending that a Microwave oven and Power
station could be made to do the job. It would have cooked the people as
well. Despite the conspiracy of silence since, there is no disputing
the historical fact of this event.
My estranged friends, when confronted with this story, have only one
comment. "It is the work of the Devil!" Then why would the Devil want
to do anything to promote good works? Literally thousands then, and
hundreds of thousands since, have turned their lives around, turned
their backs on Sodom, pornography, and everything that was evil, to go
down on their knees and call out to Almighty God for forgiveness and
Mercy for their past lives, and for the Grace to do good works of
Charity, to promote devotion to His Mother and to His most Holy Church.
Of all the evils in the world, it is ONLY these last two "EVILS",
Devotion to Mary, and to the Roman Catholic faith, which my estranged
friends can point to as the 'evil fruits' of the Fatima event.
It is the fruit of these "two evils" that caused me to say in 1949, " I
want to be Baptised" first, and then, " I want to have Holy Communion."
It is these two evils that turned me away from entrenched atheism.
Before I joined the Church the devil had me, so he never worried me.
Since then he has been my constant companion. In my constant struggle
against him and his allurements, it is these two "evils" that are my
only weapons that succeed in defeating him. Some "evil" that! As Jesus
said when accused of having a devil, " a kingdom that is divided
against itself cannot stand." Let the reader understand.
One of the greatest gifts a person can give to God, Jesus and His
Church, is a perfect life of good example to our fellow men. Because of
our fallen nature not all succeed in this. Sometimes we fail, and
sometimes we win, but the important thing is that we always struggle to
do good. God can easily forgive our human weaknesses and frailties, but
he despises PRIDE. If I elevate myself saying, "Look at me. I have used
my talents and intellect and raised myself up to find thee." I will
have received my reward, as the Lord walks past me to the man who has
"put himself down" at the bottom place at the table, and says. "Friend
why are you sitting down here? Come, join me at my table." Remember
that one? I pray Lord that I shall never forget it. Amen.
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