Catholics don’t make sense. Religious people are backwards. Where was Jesus when my parents divorced? Where was Jesus when my father was stabbed? Where was Jesus when I needed him? If Jesus knew the things I had done, he wouldn’t want me! I don’t even know for sure if he every really existed. They care more about the smells and the bells than being nice. They think a wafer is God, for crying out loud! It’s all about the guilt and the collection plate. What a bunch of judgmental hypocrites!”
– me 2007
There is a scenario which has become quite common over the last few decades: a young Catholic couple falls in love, gets married and has a child. Many end up divorced. But they don’t just divorce each other, they separate from the Church too. I am their child. I grew up without any knowledge of Jesus and a healthy distaste for religion. Raise your hand if you know someone just like me. By the world’s standard my life was still pretty great. I graduated college, had a career, beautiful wife, and great kids. There was something missing. Something I was chasing but couldn’t reach.
My story is about a mustard seed of faith changing everything I thought I knew. It is about overcoming the lies of this world—the ones that tell us we aren’t happy unless we’re making six figures, have all the toys and work ourselves into an early grave. Most of all it’s about discovering Christ and His Church. The Holy Spirit called me home and I fought every step of the way. I tried so hard to reason my way around the teachings of the Catholic Church. At present time, I am 0 for 368 trying to disprove Her guidance. She has continued to pull me closer and closer to our Lord.
I started to write this book for my children. I certainly never dreamed it would help people grow in faith. I am a Catholic Re-Tread. To “Re-Tread” can be described as walking over a path for the second time. Some of the things I share in this book are very personal, and quite embarrassing. At one point my wife encouraged me to use a pen name so people wouldn’t know my truth. Walking this path wasn’t easy but it was enlightening. My failures aren’t what define me, but sharing them uncovers the definition of mercy. In this, the “Year of Mercy” we must all learn to take ourselves a bit less serious. By accepting God’s mercy we become fountains of forgiveness to those around us.
The examination of conscience in Confessions of a Catholic Re-Tread is an answer for those who sit on the fence of whether or not they want to go to confession. While the examination is personal, I have confidence that I’m not alone — that I’m not so different from my brothers and sisters who share our faith.
Copyright 2016 Mike Chappell
About the author: Stephan “Mike” Chappell is a dedicated Catholic husband and father. His current mission is youth focused. In February of 2016 he launched iamchappells.com, a Catholic clothing website and blog. Mike is currently working hard to inspire young Catholics to wear their prayer. In his free time, Mike leads a city-wide men’s program, teaches CCD, promotes youth revivals, and coaches his own kids at either basketball or baseball.
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