"Jesus put it very simply, he said: 'By their fruits you shall know them' (Matthew 7:20). Further, he said, 'When you know the truth, it will make you free' (John 8:32).

"We can know whether or not an idea is spiritually valid in our lives. We don't have to take somebody else's word for it. We don't have to read a Gallup poll or watch Dr. Phil or leave our experiences at the door of the church. We don't have to agree or disagree with anyone. We have only to consider if there is more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and discipline in our lives than there was before. Now that may or may not happen right away, and nobody is going to be spiritually awake and aware all the time. But it will happen if we are sincere in our spiritual search.

"Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'Life is a journey, not a destination.' So did Aerosmith. It must be true. Jesus was stronger: 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life' (John 14:6). The way is a journey among trees that bear good fruit. The tree is valid not because it is true; it is true because it bears good fruit. How many of us have taken the time to understand what Jesus meant when he said those words? Before we leave something, it's a good idea to understand, on our own, what it is we are leaving.

"I'm still Catholic because Catholicism as I've grown to understand it over the years brings me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and discipline. I stay in the church even as it drives me nuts, like my family of birth, because it's been a good home for me and I can always take road trips and come back revived, and be grateful for the spiritual garden I never really left, with its abundant fruits that always stay fresh."