Tuesday, February 14, 2012
"My Story" Tuesday: Kathi Macias, Author of NO GREATER LOVE series.
I was not raised in a Christian home, though I thought I was a Christian and if anyone had asked, I would certainly have said I was. I assumed because I was born in America and my mom was once a Catholic and my German grandmother talked about her “Yesus” (Jesus) in her heart, that we too must be Christians.
In addition, I lived in a time when we still did the actual Christmas story at school. I even played the part of Mary in third grade, and one of the first passages of Scripture I memorized was Luke 2, as I heard it repeated so many times during rehearsals. I also went to church with friends anytime they invited me, so I had a smattering of Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, and nearly every other denominational teaching during my growing up years.
When I was fifteen I thought I wanted to be a nun and convinced my parents to let me live in a convent for a while. One Sunday afternoon when I entered the chapel for Benediction, I was struck by the fact that during normal mass we genuflected (knelt) on one knee upon entering the chapel but on two for Benediction. I asked a nun why and she said it was because during Benediction, Christ was present on the altar. Because I believed that Christ was the Son of God, I was blown away at the thought.
It was the first time I’d sensed my own sinful condition, and I thought, “If Christ is truly present on the altar, genuflecting on two knees won’t make me worthy to come into His presence. I could throw myself on my face and it wouldn’t be enough.” Discouraged and dismayed, I left the chapel and the convent and didn’t return to church for years—not because I didn’t believe in God or the basic tenets of the Christian Church (as best I knew them), but rather because I did and I felt hopeless to meet the requirements.
Approximately ten years later, with my marriage in trouble and feeling like a total failure, I called my mother (who, along with my brothers, had become a Christian by then) and told her of my troubles. She said one clear thing: “You need Jesus.” After I hung up I knelt beside my bed to pray.
It was the first time I saw anything close to a vision. In my mind’s eye I pictured myself on a crowded, dusty street. People were craning their necks to see something. Many were weeping or crying out. I looked to see what they were looking at, and I saw Jesus, stumbling toward me, carrying His cross.
I too began to weep, and as He drew up even with me, He stopped and looked up. I saw the blood and sweat on His face and body, but all I could focus on were His eyes as He looked past everyone else and straight at me. Then He said five words that changed my life forever: “I did it for you.”
That’s when I understood that I had been right those many years ago in that little convent chapel. There truly was nothing I could do to make myself worthy to come into God’s presence, but now I understood that Jesus had already done it for me.
That was July 5, 1974.