the Wonder of God's Love
By Mary Ann Collins
I was raised a secular humanist. When I went to college, through the
influence of a friend, I started investigating Catholicism. After
two years of intense study I became a Catholic.
I was zealous. I kept studying the lives of the saints and the
teachings of various prominent Catholics. I often went to Mass
several times a week, and sometimes every day. I transferred to a
Catholic college in order to take classes in religion.
I entered the convent for several reasons. I wanted to be closer
to God and to serve Him more whole-heartedly. I wanted to learn more
about God and spend my life being more intensely focused on Him. And
I believed that God wanted me to be a nun.
The convent was not a healthy place either spiritually or
emotionally. Our self-imposed penances and mortifications and other
attempts to make ourselves more holy actually encouraged
self-righteousness. We were not allowed to have friendships or to be
close to any human being. We were supposed to be emotionally
detached. We were taught to love people in a detached, impersonal
This is not Biblical. When God said, "It is not good for man
to be alone," He was referring to more than just marriage. The
Bible encourages close relationships. Our example of the perfect
human being is Jesus. He was unmarried but he was not at all
emotionally detached. He wept publicly. His heart was moved with
compassion. He made many statements that showed strong emotions.
I left the convent after two years, before making vows. I was
still a novice, undergoing extensive training and "spiritual
formation" in preparation for taking vows.
After I left the convent I was frustrated with the local Catholic
churches. I did not see strong faith or zeal for God. Some of the
priests preached things that were so contrary to Scripture that they
were acutely distressing to me. One time it was so bad that I left
in the middle of Mass and stood outside in the street, weeping. But
I came back into the church in time to take communion.
My parents had become Christians and they were members of a
Protestant church. I visited their church and found that I was
hungry for the bible-based teaching. So I started doing the splits.
For years I went to early morning Mass and then went to my parents'
Eventually I left the Catholic Church and joined my parents'
church. And I finally found the personal relationship with God that
I had been looking for all my life.
I used to be all tied up in rules, regulations and rituals. But
now I have found a wonderful, vibrant, personal relationship with
the Creator of the universe, who loves me. And with Jesus Christ who
loves me so much that He died for me. And He has put a new song in
JESUS, YOU'RE THE LOVE
Jesus, You're the Love who'll never leave me.
You're the love who'll always understand.
You will not forsake me or deceive me.
You'll stay by my side until the end.
When I'm afraid, You'll wrap Your arms around me.
You're the faithful friend who's tried and true.
No matter what the troubles that surround me
You will find a way to get me through.
Your love is strong; it's deeper than the ocean.
It's higher than the moon and stars above.
When earth and stars are gone and time has ended,
I'll still live, rejoicing in Your love.