Monday, March 16, 2009

The Joys of a Catholic Worldview Part 1

It is a dramatic step for a Protestant to enter the world of Catholicism. It is full of mystery, where contradictions lay peacefully beside each other like the lion and the lamb. It is fiercely rational and yet also at the same time wildly miraculous. Even with its own sullied past constantly present on the religious billboards for everyone to mock at and be reminded of, Catholicism has no animosity towards other religions or denominations. They realize God's Bride is slowly transfiguring from humble tatters to radiant adornment awaiting Christ's return for her. Catholics are patient with themselves, knowing Christ is patient with us.

In the book, The Privilege of being Catholic, I learned that to Catholics, the world is a marvelous thing. God did not retract His statement that the world was "good" and that man was "very good." Man still carries the likeness of his maker even though he is scarred from sin. Man is capable of great good as well as great evil. Though we are weakened to temptation, we can turn and resist temptation with God's help.

When you think of man as a mere worm, or fully and irretrievable bad, it is no tragedy when he behaves like the animal he has been taught to believe he is. Sin is then natural and expected. But when you see man as having the spark of divinity, having the very likeness of God Himself, his actions of hurt and destruction desperately contradicts who he has been created to be. Against such an ideal paradigm sin vividly displays its horror. Catholics have been around for two millennia, they are certainly not shocked or offended by a person's sin, we have been confessing our transgressions since the beginning. However, Catholics see the great crime against humanity and the fall from heaven we each take when we act against love.

Catholics believe the earth itself is a sacrament. We can still see the beauty of God through His creation and we can and should fully indulge ourselves in experiencing all the beauties of a God created world. We should never tire of the glorious morning, we should rejoice in every scientific breakthrough, we should be awestruck by the stars and a newly born baby. It is good! Catholics enjoy wine, but teach against alcoholism, they dance and make merry and enjoy every taste, touch, smell, sound knowing that it is all good! It is about living with thankfulness and gratitude the abundant life God has given us.

(written with thanks to GK Chesterton and his book, "Orthodoxy.")


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