Facing The Truth (KJV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: KJV
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At the age of twelve, I entered a Capuchin convent. I was looking for truth in a setting which I thought would help me to find God. The convent was located on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, the city where I was born. Thus, with this life in the convent I began my pilgrimage toward God through the denial of all rights to myself. The theory of mortification is very ancient and is closely associated with Roman Catholic thought. Moreover, the philosophical mysticism of Spain embraces the practice of mortification as the method whereby one may find God. “To mortify” means to die slowly. That which dies is one’s own personality.
After several years of preparation and at the age of seventeen, I took the vows of obedience. I renounced all right to personal control to everything. He who is perfectly obedient submits to one mind and to one will: that is, the mind and will of his superior. In a convent it is impossible to do anything which is not controlled. Carefully defined laws and declarations provide the norm by which all must live and outside of which no one must dare to venture.
The vow of chastity presupposes not only a voluntary renunciation of marriage rights but also of all pleasures and all friendships which are not approved. In order to gain complete domination and control of all human desires a number of tormenting practices were observed regularly. The following are examples:
Four fasts per year, each being forty days duration without interruption
Discipline of blood three times per week. This was carried out by the use of several strands of steel wire attached to a handle
The wearing of haircloth against the body day and night
A bed of boards including the presence of leaves from the corn stalk as well as other things to torment the body
These were meant to prepare my body for the total renunciation which my station in life demanded.
With the vow of poverty I promised not to have money at my disposal. Rather, I was to live in entire dependence upon those who would allow me the use of things necessary to my existence. The devout Capuchin can only use things made available to him. He cannot become owner of such things.
The great system of ascetic practices with which I had been identified since childhood was now well developed. Hopefully, I waited to see the fruits of my sufferings and labors. But the fruits so highly desired never materialized! In my innermost being there was only loneliness, desolation and fear. I was fearful of everything—fearful of life, fearful of love. I was afraid of my own resolution and afraid of God. Now at the age of thirty-three, I realized that my entire life pattern could be explained on one word: “NO!” “Don’t do this, don’t do that! Don’t think! … No, no, no!”
The arts presented the brightest spot in my convent life. While there, I was able to learn and practice music. Music became an indispensable necessity in my life by which I could relieve the enormous pressures of my inner self.
After I had become a priest and after subsequent studies in the field of music, I decided to give more time to the study of the piano. I looked for a competent teacher and it was in that way that Americo Caramuta entered my life and became a part of the small and circumscribed world in which I lived. Later on I learned that he was an evangelical Christian and a Baptist church member.
As for myself, my life continued to be one of complete darkness. At the same time, however, there grew within me the longing to really live. The kind of existence which I had experienced became entirely unacceptable to me. I wanted to make a complete break with it! But, I was afraid! I needed someone so desperately who would re-orient and direct me, someone who would instill strength. Americo was the man! I shared my deep crisis with him and in our conversations he answered my questions from the Bible, the Word of God. Slowly, light began to dawn as I realized that the many beliefs which I had considered infallible did not have any firm foundation whatever in the Word of God; beliefs such as the priesthood, papal infallibility, the sacraments, and many others.
My separation from everything associated with Catholicism was now confirmed. But as I looked to the outside world, I began to panic! At the age of twelve I had entered a convent; now I was thirty-three years old. My whole life had been lived in this atmosphere. All of my studies were related to this kind of life. What would I do outside this life where I had spent my best years? Everything became a big question! My family, my friendships, my future, everything demanded answers! Nevertheless, I made a clear decision and left the convent and the Catholic Church.
Subsequently, I began to attend the services of the Baptist church in Madrid and on the second Sunday I responded to the invitation of the pastor. I felt great joy in my heart! Alone with God, in my home, I ceased my futile efforts to gain salvation through my own works. I knew that works could never save. My whole life had given clear proof of this fact. I gave myself entirely to God with a new and holy passion. I received Christ as the one and only Saviour of my soul and He came to me through a simple yet very definite peace such as I had never experienced hitherto. I was now Christ’s and He loved me. This was the secret! I was baptized in the church in the city of Madrid.
Later on, I became enrolled in the Baptist Seminary of Barcelona and completed my studies in Theology and Religious Education. The Lord has called me as a minister in His Church and The Conversion Center (formerly) in Havertown, PA made it possible for me to come to the USA to complete my studies in the Bible and music.
In order to find the truth, it was necessary to pay a price, but I have never regretted it. There were seven long years of struggles and conflict. But at the last I was able to testify to the reality of Christ in my life, the same Christ who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).
Do YOU know that heaven is your home? I trust that you will give your heart to Christ.
“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).