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Second Letter to the Catholic Priest

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🧡 Update: [Monday Morning, 14/November/2022] Yesterday, after I decided to read back over the entire site after some time away with the thought that it might hopefully lift my spirits and get me out of a weird funk that I had found myself in for some time now, I was encouraged and my faith began to grow.  I think almost everyone at some point in their faith journey suffers from times of "spiritual burnout" or whatever you prefer to call it where faith or maybe better said interest in the faith wanes which unfortunately can have the unintended side effect of impacting "hope" and even "love" (love for ourselves and much, much more importantly love for others).  It's not intentional by any means but as the Bible states "faith without works is dead."  It's almost like if you allow the candle of your faith to dwindle or even, God forbid, go out all together, it can ultimately affect every other aspect of your life and, for me at least, a deepening and spiraling depression ensues and my motivation, inspirations, general interest in things I once found enjoyable falls off and everything and everyone suffers as a result.  Selflessness is quickly replaced by its evil counterpart, selfishness, and it only continues to spiral out of control from there until you finally say to yourself, "Enough is enough!  Something must change starting here and now."  And then suddenly, in what I believe was a "holy moment" of inspiration coming not from myself but from the Lord above, it hit me last night to the effect [paraphrasing], "Self, maybe you should consider publishing a slightly redacted copy of the second letter you sent to the Catholic priest from 16/August/2022 where you asked him if he would still be interested in having that "talk" he had offered to have with you 13 months ago."  So after thinking it through overnight and this morning, I reread the second letter that I sent to him in August prior to our meeting to see if what I wrote might be worth including and hopefully encouraging to others, and right away, I knew that, yes, the second letter is completely relevant and appropriate to include on this site.  I hope after you read it, you'll also understand why I came to that conclusion.  If you would like to read it, please click on this link to view the PDF version in your open browser tab (an online version of the second letter is also included below).  My decision ultimately for including it on the site was to hopefully provide some additional context, clarity and transparency for the tough decision I had to make to finally reach back out to the priest after a long 13 months had gone by since last summer, but more importantly, you'll see from the second letter just how important and instrumental this man of the cloth was in helping to open my eyes to ultimately making my decision back in 2013 to convert to the Catholic faith, and to just thank him for all that he's done and continues to do for my family and many others simply though his general prayers and intercessions.  And to just let him know how much God loves him for all that he does in positively affecting the lives of others around him through his meekness and humility.  As Saint Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.”  Believe me, this man his that down to a science.



About that “Talk” you offered to have with me last year...

(Second Letter to the Catholic Priest)

Tuesday, 16/August/2022

Dear Father [redacted],

I pray that you are doing well.  I’m sure you remember me from “the letter” that I delivered to the parish office in July of last year titled “The Journey of Two Lost Souls.”

A few things have changed since that time, though many things have remained the same.  I’m still happily married to [redacted] - i.e. she still puts up with me after now [redacted] years ;) - and in September of 2021, we welcomed a new grandson to the family.  But one thing that has remained unchanged is my ever-growing faith and belief in Christ and His Church here on earth.  A church that you directly - and indirectly - helped open my eyes to see so many years ago at a pre-RCIA meeting where you helped address a number of questions that I had about the faith.

I don’t know if you remember that, but I was told that [redacted] (”[redacted]” to me) [redacted] had asked you prior to RCIA kicking off in the fall of 2012 if you wouldn’t mind sitting in on a meeting with me to address some “concerns” (to put it lightly) that I had with certain beliefs of the Catholic Church.  But the part of the story that I don’t believe you are aware of is that a few months prior to that in February of 2012, while I was driving home from work to attend the funeral mass for [redacted] [redacted], a “voice” as clear as day told me “Maybe you should give the Catholic church a try.”  Those exact words.  As if permanently engrained in my memory.  I have never forgotten it...and never will.

Of course, at the time, I had no idea where that “voice” came from unless it was Jesus or perhaps the Holy Spirit directly since I didn’t believe in Mary or the Communion of Saints in Heaven or any of that “stuff.”  Yet oddly enough, even though I didn’t believe in any way about the intercession of Saints at the time, I did have the indelible impression that [redacted] [both [redacted] and [redacted] were the Godparents to our middle son by the way] had something directly involved in it.  Isn’t that odd?

I gave an ACTS talk this past [redacted] for our parish on “forgiveness” and shared part of this story about my conversion and faith journey with the ACTS team and the retreatants.  After many weeks of consideration since that time, I decided it best/appropriate to include a copy of that talk with you so that you could be “lifted up” and acknowledged for the ever-so-important part you played in my conversion to the Catholic faith.

Ultimately, what decided it for me was that I said to myself [paraphrasing], “Self, you know priests and clergy could sometimes use a little encouragement and inspiration themselves.  They give and give and give to those entrusted to their care and I bet they don’t get near enough simple “thank you”s for all that they do.  The sacrifices they’ve had to make to walk the path they walk.  To serve the Lord with unwavering commitment and perseverance.  Bottom line, self, they’re humans too.  And they deserve to be told from time-to-time that God loves them so incredibly much.  And Mary loves them.  And the Saints in Heaven.  As well as saints-in-training here on earth.  And to simply be told “thank you” from time-to-time.”

I know that was a bit long-winded, but I think you get the idea.  And while you may be saying [because I know how humble you are], “Well, if God intended for you to eventually become Catholic, He would have found a way.”  And while I firmly believe that’s true, I know, that I know, that I know, that you were God’s first and preferred choice for making that happen.  You...and [redacted]...and [redacted]...and my wife...and many others...somehow, someway, in a moment that all started on that drive home from work to [redacted] funeral mass at [redacted] on what I believe it was February 12, 2012 (please forgive me if I’m off a bit on that date, but I don’t believe the date is necessarily all that important. What’s most important is everything that’s transpired since that time that’s made all the difference in my life).

I know you had offered to talk with me last July about the afterlife experience I described in “the letter” but I guess you could say I just never got up the nerve to take you up on that “talk.”  But, I think more importantly, is that the timing just wasn’t right.  For, you see, it’s only been very recently, as in within this past month, that I was finally made aware - or at least was finally willing to accept - that there was another “cast member” in that story that I had never considered.  That cast member, as I’m sure is not surprising to you, is the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

I hope you’re not offended or disappointed by this next statement, but in April of this year, after much discernment and discussion with my wife, [redacted], I decided to publish the contents of “the letter” that I sent you to the web.  Not to worry, I redacted all personal information, locations, etc. other than my own name and “Ruthie” and mine’s nicknames.

I know you don’t like to converse over electronic media, so first and foremost, I’m in no way asking you to consider that.  I also am not asking for you to call me to discuss anything.  But perhaps some time when I see you at Mass (which I’m planning to start re-attending on a much more regular basis), you could let me know if you would still be willing to meet with me to have that “talk” that you offered to have with me last July after you had read the letter?  I look forward to that time with anticipation if you would still be interested.

This past Monday night, 15/August/2022, in honor of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I created a new webpage and set it at least temporarily as the site’s default home page.  If, and I mean if, you would be interested in visiting my website to read the additional content I’ve added these past short months, including quite possibly the most important addition of how I now believe more and more firmly everyday that Mother Mary assisted Ruthie in freeing her from her “knots” so that Ruthie could move on to Heaven last summer, please visit the following website URL.

https://testedbyfire.org

Or alternatively, you can simply scan the following “QR code” below with the camera on a smart phone and it will take you directly to the website.

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However, if you prefer not to visit to the website, I have copy-and-pasted the most pertinent updates from the site as it currently stands right now.

(Contents excluded from the online version of the second letter, but retained in the PDF version above)

So, Father [redacted], in closing I would just like to say “Thank You” for everything you’ve done - and continue to do somehow, someway through your general prayers and intercessions  - for me and my earthly family - as well as for the Family of God and His children here on earth.  Since last summer when this all “began”, I’ve often thought about how the new church building will be a beacon of Hope and Strength for our community.  May God Bless you and all of the clergy and parishioners at [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] Parish, as well the Church as a whole around the world.

Thank you for spending your valued time in reading this.  I know I can seem to go on-and-on at times, but I like to think I put my heart-and-soul into my writing (at least most of the time), just as you put your heart-and-soul into everything you do.  Seems I’m just “wired” that way now...especially ever since the “event” last summer.  It’s changed my life in ways that I could never dream possible.  I’m no longer led by a spirit of fear, but instead courage.  And I give All the Glory and Honor to to our Almighty Father, His Son Jesus Christ and, of course, the Holy Spirit of God (plus Mary as my newly accepted, true spiritual Mother and ever-present “untier” of my knots).

YBIC,

Stephen Losh



After reading a page or few in this web-based book, If you believe you have benefited from what you've read on this site - or if you know someone who you believe might - would you please pass the word along to them?  Posting the URL “https://testedbyfire.org and a quick summary/synopsis of what you thought about the experience to your Facebook friends, communities, Twitter posts, Instagram and/or others would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.  Yours in Christ - Stephen Losh (📨 hope-72683@faith4.today)