Family and Kids

When I was about 12 years old

I can still smell the green vinyl of the used couch in our living room as I knelt with my mom, with my face buried in my hands and my nose pressed into the vinyl. She had decided I was old enough — after all I was four years old. She didn’t want to wait any longer. She was eager.

When I was born I was taken to the front of Joy Road Baptist Church in Detroit Michigan held aloft and dedicated to Christ. I did not receive infant baptism. The thought of baptizing an infant was repugnant. Where do you find that in the Bible? That was a surely a man-made Catholic tradition.

My parents had “found Christ” less than a year earlier. After twelve years of painful miscarriages, my parents had discovered Jesus through the preaching of Billy Graham. The radio was on one morning as my mother was getting ready to go shopping. With keys in one hand and purse in the other, she stopped in the kitchen before heading out the door. She heard something she’s never heard before.

Rev. Billy Graham c. 1953

She heard the compelling voice of Billy Graham passionately explaining the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross. It was shed for my mom to pay for her sins. It could save her from hell and ensure her a place in heaven.

My mom raised without any religion, heard John 3:16 for the first time: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

She told me she fell on her knees on the kitchen floor. With tears rolling down her cheeks she “accepted Christ as her personal Lord and
Savior and asked him to come into her heart.”

You can read the whole thing HERE.

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Tears Singing Good Ole Baptist Hymns

by Steve Ray on October 25, 2017

The old Baptist hymns still stir me and bring tears to my eyes. They take me back to my childhood when the family would dress up, us kids in our little suits with cheesy ties and short-legged pants (I’m the one in the plaid jacket). Dad would always give us candy during the service and put his arm around us while tickling our ears. The good old days.

Dad used to tear up at the old hymns. As he lay in his bed dying a few years ago we put the Bill Gaither Trio (YouTube) albums on the iPad I bought him. He would listen to the classics over and over again. I think he could already see the Lord and was ready to go.

Sunday we sang two of those old classics at Mass. I looked over expecting to see my dad and mom sitting their in their 50’s suit and dress, smiling as their three boys fidgeted in the pew waiting to back to our ponies and swimming pool. Yeah, I had tears running down my checks.

When I got home I called my brother Tim. He said he cannot even sing those hymns at Mass without choking up and the words stop coming. Mom and Dad were the best; those old Baptist hymns are surely sung in heaven and I have fond and loving memories on my Baptist upbringing.

The hymns from last Sunday were “What Can Wash Away My Sins, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art” (YouTube video).

Put the hymnal away — I can sing those by heart and from my heart. I still sing them with my mom who still love them and with dad who is surely watching from heaven — still praying for his boys.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
    That makes me white as snow;
    No other fount I know,
      Nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

For my cleansing this I see–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

This is all my hope and peace–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

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A few days ago a high school girl wrote to ask me questions about abortion. She was writing a paper and wanted to “interview” me on the topic.

I was busy jumping planes and giving talks so my daughter-in-law Anna graciously — and brilliantly — answered the young lady for me. I think you will enjoy and appreciate her wise and charitable response.

E. B. writes: 

I am a high-schooler in Pennsylvania.  I am working on a research project about the Catholic Church’s views on abortion, and I was wondering whether you may be willing to share some interesting information about the Church’s role in the fight against abortion.

Do you think that the Church is winning its fight? How do Catholics justify themselves when they protest against abortion?  What are your personal opinions about abortion?

Anna responds:

Dear E. B.,

The Church defends all persons from the horror of abortion, which is the taking of an innocent life, because of her understanding of what a person is. Each and every person is a unique and non-repeatable body and soul created by God and made in His image.

Each person has a specific mission or vocation given by God that is meant to be fulfilled on this earth, thereby allowing us to return to and remain with Him forever in heaven. Every person is holy because God is holy. The taking of an innocent life is a grave evil and an affront to God who is the author and creator of life.

The Church, which is made up of persons, plays a significant role in defending against the evil of abortion. One only needs to contact the hundreds of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life groups, that seek to support mothers and their babies through material, emotional and spiritual means to find millions of people showing heroic virtue as they provide aid. There are also hundreds of groups fighting on a political level for just laws to protect the unborn child in the womb and support the mother in providing the necessary material means to provide for her child, through government aid programs and child support laws.

It is an incredible tragedy, that a mother would ever feel she is in such a place of darkness and despair, that she must chose between her life and the life of her child. Followers of Christ and His Church seek to be a light for these mothers and a reminder of hope in their time of desperation. They enter into the darkness with the mothers and show them the way out.

The Followers of Christ become friends, mentors—the hands and feet of Christ—to these mothers and extend this help even further to the fathers, grandparents and siblings of the unborn child as needed.

I would encourage you to seek out some personal testimonies for your paper. Life site news may be a helpful resource: https://www.lifesitenews.com

The Church is and always will be winning the battle, because she teaches truth, who is Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ defeated the power of sin and death through His death and resurrection. The heart of the battle is about saving souls not about how popular an ideology is, so that even in what can appear to be the darkest hour, the Church is and always will be victorious.

Lastly, I would like to address adoption, which is often an overlooked and misunderstood option. When the Church promotes adoption, we must be deliberate in recognizing and addressing the tragedy of the situation. Adoption is a difficult and heroic choice because it is the breaking of one family in order to build another.

When we fail to recognize the agony, pain, and sacrifice of the birth mother we do her a great disservice. Only when we can enter into her cross and help her to carry such a heavy burden will we begin to see more women choosing this life giving option.

May God bless you as you write your paper!

Anna

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The Literacy and Spirituality of a Day Gone By; A Tattered Yellowed Page; A Poem I Found from my Great-Grandmother

October 16, 2017

I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.) […]

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A Limerick for a Questioning Grandson – Did Jesus Really Exist?

September 23, 2017

My grandson Josh asked, “Did Jesus really live? Maybe he didn’t and it was just a good story someone made up.” So I sat down and wrote him this limerick and gave him a stack of books from my library. The topic has not come up again since. Was there really a man named Jesus? […]

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Five Years Ago My Father Died

August 2, 2017

Please pray for the repose of the soul of the best father in the world – Charles Robert Ray. He was 95 years old. It was five years ago we said Good-bye and I have no doubt at all that he is enjoying the joys of heaven and making intercession for all of still here […]

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1st Picture of Grandbaby #14

July 5, 2017

Proud of Charlotte and Wes. As soon as they adopted a baby after years of infertility – – guess what? She’s pregnant :-)

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Beautiful Homeschooled Family

June 10, 2017

Enjoying ice cream with our son and his family after Holy Trinity Sunday Mass in St. Charles Illinois. (Excellent priest and exceptional homily too!)

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Today is our 23nd Anniversary as Catholics!

June 4, 2017

Pentecost Sunday 1995 our family of six along with friend Rob Corzine entered the Catholic Church with tears and new friends. We lost all of our Evangelical friends within two weeks but it was a small price to pay. Here you can see two pictures of that momentous day — our family on May 22, […]

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Am I Sick? Naw, I Don’t Think So, Just Feeding the Turkey Vultures

May 15, 2017

The lady at the pet store told me I was a sick individual. I didn’t think so, but then again I am biased and think I’m OK – and my wife tends to agree with me. The whole thing started because of a small hobby of mine. When I was a little boy my dad bought […]

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Steve Ray’s Conversion Story up on “Why I’m Catholic”

April 29, 2017

This is a great website with conversion stories from every religious tradition imaginable to Catholic. The Why I’m Catholic website should be passed around to family and friends. It is very well done, beautifully laid out and full of great stories. Our story was posted this week. You can read it HERE.

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2 Minute Audios: Steve’s 6 Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends

April 7, 2017

People always ask, “What do I say to my husband…?”  or “How do I get my kids back in the Church?  or  “I am getting no where trying to tell my friend about my Faith.” Well Steve came up with Six Rules to help you deal with non-Catholics – especially family and friends. They are […]

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Messy Parenting, Podcasts from Parents of Ten! Great Stuff with a Huge Following

March 30, 2017

  I am happy to call Michael Hernon a highly respected friend. He is also a successful husband and father of TEN! And yes, he has a great sense of humor, a lovely wife — and a great podcast for Catholic families — practical, biblical, funny, Catholic and easy to listen to. He and his […]

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Marriage in Heaven? Will We Know and Love Our Spouses in Heaven?

February 14, 2017

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. This is for my mom. My dad died almost six years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will not be married” in heaven. I wrote the following to comfort my Mom… Mom, I know it is important to you since […]

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The Story of the Birth and Adoption of Baby Charlie

January 23, 2017

 Now that my daughter and her husband Wes have received the new baby and begun to learn the fine art of changing diapers and bathing such a precious human life, she has taken the time to write the story of the incredible experience. We were able to “live through it” with them though the marvelous […]

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We Welcome Grandchild No. 13 Adopted Today by our Daughter Charlotte – What A Cutie!

January 13, 2017

After finding out she had endometriosis our beautiful daughter Charlotte and her soon-to-be doctor husband Wesley decided to adopt. After praying, working, reading, fund-raising $40,000 today culminated with a dream come true for our whole family! The paperwork is done and it is final. Yahoo! We welcome Charles “Charlie” Thomas Sorrill into our loving family […]

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