I love being Catholic more and more each day. Why? Many reasons, but I thought I would quickly jot down a few this morning.
10: TEACHES HUMILITY
Become Catholic in 21st-century, Protestant America is very much like a camel going through the eye of a needle. If you were raised to believe Catholics were in error or believed they taught a false gospel or dangerous heresy, you will be eating some very painful humble pie. Once you have studied it and become Catholic, there will be no doubt in your mind of God's miraculous grace when you joyfully fall on your knees, bowing low before the Almighty at a Catholic altar to receive the Eucharist.
In the light of the glory of this new Catholic world, you begin to realize that you are not the center of the universe and your opinions are really not that smart. It means you give up your rights to decide what is moral and immoral and submit to the church's teachings which find great scriptural support. You quickly find it is better to just shut up and listen, because a lot of people in Catholicism are exponentially more spiritually mature, wise and brilliant than you are.
Don't believe me? Read the writings of the St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, Pope John Paul II the Great, Pope Benedict XVI, Thomas Merton, GK Chesterton, JRR Tolkien. Listen to or read the saints-in-the-making today such as Brant Pitre, Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Michael Voris, Cardinal Robert Barron, Dave Armstrong, Matt Walsh, Father Mitch Pacwa, and many of those at EWTN and Catholic Answers.
Yeah, I found humility feels really good. And I need a refresher course about every other week. Catholicism gives that to me. Thank God.
9. PERFECTLY BALANCES SCIENCE VS. FAITHI love that Catholicism has a history of both science and faith. The greatest scientists mankind has produced were and are Catholic. Catholics founded universities and promoted cosmology, biology, astro-physics.... We love finding out how God made the world. And that takes nothing away from the mysteries we have yet to discover. Catholicism has an eager, child-like wonder of the world, yet we accept that our Creator goes beyond what we can imagine to enrapture us and hold us spellbound by His glories we cannot understand.
Catholicism never expects us to throw out what we know of science. We don't have to live with cognitive dissonance. Our faith does not reject science but is built upon the facts of nature that science continually discovers.
8. TEACHES US HOW TO READ THE BIBLECatholics don't walk around with Bible verses tucked into their gun belt like ammunition awaiting to shoot unbelievers with proof texts. But Catholics know their Bibles (at least the ones attending mass), just on a different level. However, some Catholic theologians know their Bibles better than any Protestant I ever read or met. (Don't laugh, Protestants, that's part of the humble pie I had to eat... it's true.)
What was amusing and amazing to discover is that where most Protestants read the Bible symbolically, Catholics read it literally and visa versa. Catholic scholars have taught me how to view the scriptures holistically and it answers my deepest questions.
This is too big of a topic for this post, but suffice it to say that they have been studying scripture for two millennia--there is nothing they haven't examined millions of times. You can't bring up something they haven't thought of or trip them up. They have been on the trail of answering questions for hundreds of years.
They love the Holy, inerrant, infallible written Word of God. (The Catholics were the ones who told Christians the Bible was the word of God!)
7. IS POSITIVE AND OPTIMISTICCatholicism teaches that man isn't totally depraved but that man is still in the supremely elevated position of being "in the image of God." Original sin stained us, but did not totally erase our goodness, our freewill or our innate desire to be restored to our creator. Catholic theology says our destiny is to be one with the Father as Christ and the Father are one. It gives us a purpose and meaning for our lives here. We are not to remain forever in our sins but we are to become great saints in the spiritual battle raging between the Church and Satan. And we can do it through the sacraments.
Christ won the war at the Cross, but we each are winning the battle for eternal souls now. There is truth, there is goodness, there is right and wrong and Catholics should be very optimistic that our lives matter in this apocalyptic battle for we are of immense worth.
6. CHALLENGES MY BELIEFSBecoming Catholic means that all other Catholics no matter their political beliefs, the nation they give their loyalty to, their soteriology and worldview are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They can never be my enemy. No matter how sinful or stupid I think they are or how politically left-leaning or right-leaning, they deserve my respect and love. Catholicism challenges feminism, the sexual revolution, capitalism, communism, socialism, patriotism, materialism...
Life is hard. And Catholicism teaches that no heart is broken, no tear is shed that cannot be lifted up to God and used to break the Devil's power. One of the most profound of all teachings is that God can give us joy in sacrifice and suffering. Once that is learned nothing can take that freedom away. For nothing can take your joy and peace. It is the discovery of ten thousand lifetimes.
5. TEACHES ME TO REJOICE IN MY SUFFERING
4. IT REVEALS THE FATHER OF LIES
We live in a world satiated in propaganda. If Satan can so successfully pull off the greatest hoax and darkest con of demonizing the Catholic Church for centuries, then what else has he distorted? The Catholic church exposes his lies.
3. MAKES MEN
Catholicism is authoritarian. It is male dominated and female cherishing. (Who else speaks of Mary as Queen Mother!) While there are many Catholic males who are cowards, the sacraments are there to make men. It takes enormous courage to go to confession. It takes enormous bravery to live a life dedicated to sacrificing for God. If males will live it, Catholicism makes men great. And as a woman, that thrills me.
2. CONNECTS ME WITH HISTORY
When one becomes Catholic, one joins a family whose ancestry spreads across the globe and reaches back into the primeval church. Through the Eucharist, our family ties connect and weave into St. Peter through the early Church Fathers through the dark ages to Thomas Aquinas and beyond. We become one flesh with God's family, we share their spiritual DNA as well as through Christ we share their flesh. This is a mystery that confounds reality and yet is more real than flesh itself.
1. CONNECTS ME MORE FULLY TO CHRIST
For me, beyond anything else, the beauty of the Catholic Church is that it brings me into the Holy of Holies in a mysterious dance of consummation with my Father. I am spiritually no longer an astronomer but an astronaut. I am no longer a "fan" of Christ, I am His Body and His Bride. We are one flesh.
Before, I longed for the moment I would be with Christ, now I feel I have arrived in heaven. He not only feels near, but I am in Him and He is in me. Through Catholicism I have entered into His Divinity, not as a god, but as His child. I see a majesty, a power and holy glory I never knew before. I tremble at the thought of His Holy Name. I am not ashamed to bow before His Holy Ones. For now I know more fully that HE IS GOD.