I was brought up Catholic. I went to church every Sunday. I attended CCD. I knew who the Lord was. I knew who the Virgin Mary was. I knew my prayers. I was baptized as an infant, celebrated my first holy communion, and was confirmed.
When I was in high school, I was doing the things all teenagers do. I was dating and accompanying my girlfriends to their houses of worship and experiencing different ways of worshiping the Lord. I saw the differences but really did not think about it much at the time. My mother was ok with my attending other houses of worship, as long as I was still attending our church every week.
I was out on a Saturday afternoon, and wanted to attend the Saturday afternoon mass at my local church so I could have Sunday free. I walked into the church as I always had, and sat down. I picked up the missalette and began to follow along with the mass. I realized that I was not able to follow along, and was confused because I could not find my place in the missalette. I began to look around and realized that I had the wrong color missalette and picked up the correct one. I began to compare the two and realized that the older one was from the same time last year. They were almost identical, with the exception of the music selections. Same gospel selection, and same readings. I suddenly realized that I was experiencing the same thing over and over again. I was not continuing to learn about our Lord.
I walked out of the church and across the street. I looked back at the church and began to pray, “Lord, I know you are here for me, and I know I am here for You. I do not know where I am going to find you, but I know I am not going to find you in this church.” I began my search for where I would find God. But being a teenager, it was not long before I was just coasting along. Not knowing where I was going, or even being concerned.
After many years of drifting, my wife Shirley came into my life. She was firmly grounded in her faith and I began to attend church with her. The services I attended were eye opening to me. The pastor would have us open the bible and line by line, he would preach a sermon and teach us what our God had passed down to us to learn. Actually opening up and reading the Bible was a new concept to me and it was exciting.
In my experience, growing up in the catholic faith, reading the bible was not encouraged, or even talked about. Entering into the baptist background, non-denominational faith, reading the bible is not only encouraged, but basically required. There is so much packed into the bible, that it is hard to put down once you get into it.
I grew in my faith and understanding of just who God is, and I was baptized “for the second time” on November 7th, 1989. My wife purchased a Ryrie Study Bible for me on that date, which I still have and like to use today. I have gone from knowing of God and who He is, to trusting in God and knowing why I need to trust in Him. If it was not for my wife, I would still be drifting. I owe my life in Christ to her, and the many pastors we have had teach us God’s Word.
My favorite verse is Revelation 3:20-22, which says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (ESV)
Bruce was born in Chelsea, MA and grew up in several states while following his father through a 20-year career in the Navy, ending up in Woburn, MA for Junior and Senior High School. He currently lives in Tyngsboro, MA with his wife Shirley and their bird Chewie. They have two adult children, Sharon and Paul. He started his working career as a carpenter, earned his Bachelors Degree in BA, and has worked for Raytheon for the last 11 years. He enjoys the outdoors, and traveling with his wife.