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There is such a sharp CONTRAST between the religion of Islam and the Catholic faith! I say this because for several months now I have been researching and studying Islam.
A few days ago I was writing an article titled “Why I Wear My Cross AND The Miraculous Medal To Evangelize.” ( striveforheavennow.ca/why-i-wear-my-cross-and-the-miraculous-medal-to-evangelize-by-donald-andre-bruneau ) In it I show the great contrast between the religion of Islam and the Catholic faith.
Then the next day I went to a Catholic Men’s breakfast to hear the testimony of a Muslim convert to the Catholic faith. The title of his talk was “From Islam To Jesus.” I was much interested and excited to hear his personal testimony.
I had already researched the religion of Islam lately to discover why Islam is persecuting and killing Christians and Jews ‘en mass’ in many parts of the world. (Cf: www.jihadwatch.org )
I was very eager to listen to the testimony of a Muslim and discover WHAT IT WAS that attracted him to the Catholic faith?
So here I was at this breakfast meeting and had the honour and privilege of personally meeting the speaker, “Tarik”.
Islam is a religion that is IMPOSED on its people. This is in stark contrast to other religions such as Catholicism where it’s faith is PROPOSED.
As a young man Tarik came to Canada from an Arab country where he was raised as a ‘moderate’ Muslin’ not a ‘radical’ Muslim. In his young adult life he realized that as he said “there is something more” and “there is something missing in my life”.
He did not know it at the time but it was a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus Christ’ that he was looking for. He noticed that in ‘multicultural Canada’ the other cultures were different than Muslims. There was an evident ‘respect’ for others.
He began to have an interest in other religions and furthered his knowledge of Islam at the same time. Thus he listened to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons as they shared their belief system with him. Tarik was ‘searching’.
He married a Catholic lady who took her faith seriously. At some point they had to get the children ‘baptized’. Tarik was against this as it did not agree with his religion of Islam.
This caused him to do a lot of soul searching. Another thing that bothered him was when he heard a Muslim Imam teach that “if your child has not begun to pray by the age of eight then you should force him into it by ‘beating’ him. “This made me very angry.” said Tarik
Another contradiction, among many others, was that his wife had a firm belief that Jesus Christ was “the Son of God” and not just some great prophet. Islam teaches in their Koran, that Jesus was ‘only’ a prophet. Thus these many ‘contradictions’ left Tarik depressed and confused.
Every now and then he would accompany his wife and family to the Catholic Mass. When he heard the prayer of the ‘Our Father’, he was deeply moved. (Cf: www.CatholiCity.com /prayer/prayers.html )
He also learned that Catholics were ‘forgiven’ of their ‘sins’ and of the ‘great LOVE that God had for each person. “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that WHOSOEVER believeth in him, may not perish, but have life everlasting.” ( John 3:16 )
He had posted images of the crucified Christ and the Virgin Mary on his Facebook page. For this he was persecuted by his Muslim siblings and parents. Nevertheless, now he was interested in learning more about the Catholic faith to learn why they believed the way they did.
He was given this teaching personally by the parish priest. He was given a version of the Catholic cathechism called ‘Youcat’ to read and study.
This showed him that the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic faith were such a contrast to what he had learn as a Muslim. For instance, he learned in his R.C.I.A ( Rite Of Christian Initiation of Adults) studies that…God ‘loves’ us….we have ‘free will’ to choose to do good or evil……that God desires to ‘bless us’ in this life and that God offers us a Father and son personal relationship through His son, Jesus Christ.
This is in stark CONTRAST to Islam where God is seen in the Koran as a “stern Master” towards his “servants”.
These teachings deeply interested and touched the heart of Tarik, however his biggest struggle was the Catholic belief that Jesus was ‘the Son of God’. Also Islam teaches he said: “That Jesus never suffered on the cross and Mary gave birth to Jesus under a tree.”
One day with all these contradictory beliefs it left him very angry and confused and he simply wanted to be ‘alone’. He chose to go to the chapel of the church. There, as he looked at the beautiful statues of ‘Jesus and Mary’ he let loose and ‘cried his heart out’ to them. Then suddenly, he says he felt Mary ‘hug’ him tenderly and speak to him! He cried out:
“Mary, you are here!”
The next day, which was Sunday, Tarik said to his wife: “I feel different today”. She noticed that Tarik’s face, his attitude and his behavior changed dramatically. She said to her husband: :”The Virgin Mary is going to take care of you Tarik.”
Tarik was received into the Catholic Church on Easter weekend. He was baptized, confirmed and received his First Communion. On Easter Monday, while alone he watched “The Bible (miniseries) on History Channel.”
As he was watching it he was deeply moved by the extreme sufferings that Jesus underwent. He exclaimed:
“God, you are real! Jesus, you are real!”
Tarik finished his testimony by saying how the Apostle Paul spoke so much about LOVE.
One of St Paul’s writings that come to my spirit is found in Romans 5:1-5:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because GOD’S LOVE has been POURED into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
When we endure our sufferings for the sake of spreading the Gospel as Tarik is doing through his testimony now and in the days ahead, we can rest assured that God is POURING HIS LOVE into our hearts and that God will continue to pour His Love into Tarik’s heart.
Tarik finished by saying, and this SUMS UP his testimony:
“The most important thing to me is LOVE.”
As Tarik ended his testimony I looked to my right on the wall of the Church where a beautiful banner hung. At the very top was an image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Below the image were the words:
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
These words bring to my mind the precious chapter on God’s LOVE. It is found in “1 John 4” . In 1 John 4:16 : “So we have known and believe the LOVE that God has for us. God is LOVE, and those who abide in LOVE abide in God, and God abides in them.” And verse 11 states: “Beloved, since God LOVED us so much, we also ought to LOVE one another.” I pray that every Muslim could know the loving and life giving message that is found in the Holy Bible, especially “1 John chapter 4”.
Tarik’s search for ‘something more’, for ‘something missing’ was over. He encountered Mary, the Mother of God and her son, Jesus Christ, in a “personal way” in the Catholic Church where God’s Love, Mercy and Justice is THE message.
We must never forget how important it is to know Love and to love and not hate our brothers and sisters. ( cf: 1 John 4:7-21 )
St John of the Cross summed it up so well when he said:
“In the evening of life, we shall be judged on love alone.”
In this line of thought we have my mother’s words:
“Time is precious,
It gives us time to LOVE,
Time to have God’s preciousness.
God the ‘Father’ invites all people, he PROPOSES his LOVE to everyone through his only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. (Cf: John 3:16 ) God the Father does not IMPOSE himself to anyone. We are FREE to accept or reject His LOVE.
I pray that you may reach out to Him now, through his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
You will never be the same after, just as Tarik was CHANGED. He discovered the God of LOVE!