This is a completely personal post - there will be no dogmatic arguing, just me writing things for the sake of honesty. It will be Wesleyan to the core - that is - based on personal experience not Scripture and Tradition. I am literally just copying online what I wrote down and put in my wallet a few weeks ago.
A few weeks ago I went as a pilgram to St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, QC. I saw the steps leading up to the Church and there was a specific staircase to crawl on your hands and knees saying prayers. My first thought was - Luther in Rome. I kept trying to 'feel something' but it didn't work. We sat through the intolerable freewheeling liturgy they called Mass, and then proceeded to see all the statues and shrines to the saints. I went to the shrine of St. Joseph and prayed, and it didn't do anything (obviously that's not fair, as many of my prayers aren't answered, but I'm just saying).
Then we went up to the largest sanctuary, it was Gigantic, and in the middle was a giant crucifix. I was in a state of mortal sin, and there were no confessions (even at a shrine!) My friend was sketching the scene and I sat there staring at the crucifix and praying. I wrote 2 things down on the business card of my friend who is an Anglican priest. They were the first things God "said" (I don't even want to try to explain how this occurs) to me in a long time.
1. 'I love you more than you can hate me.' - I was in mortal sin, and I was thinking about how a Catholic friend said that when we are in such a state we are utterly forsaken by God, and in his wrath like Christ on the cross (she was a Traditionalist, and I don't know how orthodox what she said was). In any case, the thought was basically, that any sin, is too small for Christ's death to be invalidated by. In the middle of the giant room, there was Christ, his death, his atonement, his righteousness.
2. "My faithfulness is not dependent on yours". I was thinking about how in Catholicism the New Covenant is nullified by the unfaithfulness of the Christian. If I commit a mortal sin, even if I repent (without priestly absolution), I am still out of Christ, I am in condemnation. I was thinking when I felt this sentence, of the event in the Old Testament (Gen 12) where God pledges his faithfulness to Abraham, even though he doesn't do anything for it. I was thinking about Jacob, and how God chose him, even though he was a sinner, and even though he did some terrible things, God was still faithful to him.
Finally, we walked outside and saw a giant statue of Christ resurrected. At this point I felt this urging:
"Die already, and let me live." In dying I die to self, in living I live in Christ. This was much less revelatory, and pretty much just Galatians 2:20, but I wrote it on the card, so I figured I'd just put it in this post.
By the time we got to this part, my friend (a former Anabaptist) asked if I wanted to go see the heart of Br. Andre, soon to be another Canadian saint. I told him no, and that I thought it was stupid, even though I knew the bible verse in Acts 'proving' relics. I just felt confused, and after all that experience, I read Hans Urs Von Balthasar and then was ok with the Papacy and everything.
I think my problem is not that I have a problem with the Church or Catholicism, if I could live up to the standard, and fulfill all the works of the (new) law, then I'd be fine. If I had the ability to break my sin habits, and remain in 'sanctifying grace' for more than a day, and remember not to eat meat on fridays (or substitute a prayer), then I'd be fine. But the only verses I seem to find whenever I look at myself, are basically the list of proof-texts for the doctrine of Total Depravity.
Hence why I enjoy reading Luther.
I don't know what I'll do. I ended up deciding against Anglicanism, which was the closest thing to Rome (I thought at least). Lutheranism is closer in doctrine (no Calvin snuck in), but I don't know. I'm going to mass tomorrow morning with a Catholic friend. If I eventually leave Catholicism, I want to do it after making a final sacramental confession, just to prove to people that it's not about me being too 'embarrassed' to confess. But like I said, I just don't know.
I find my biggest pet peeve is ignorance. I HATE sitting through a Protestant service where the pastor smuggly mocks a viewpoint without even trying to understand it, and I HATE listening to Catholics talk about how 'no one but us' have preserved due respect for the Eucharist / believe in the real presence / are sacramental / read the Fathers, etc. Perhaps I'm just a theological snob.
I also found out a priest who served in my parish for over a year just got tried for molesting children and was also secretly married (though strangely it has nothing to do with my feelings about justification and/or the Church)... Lord have mercy.