Monday, February 9, 2009

Unapologetically Catholic


A conversation with my sister earlier this weekend got me to thinking about being Catholic and how I got to be where I am with my Catholic faith... I feel so BLESSED to be Catholic. I've always been Catholic... But I haven't always felt "blessed" to be so... there was a time when I was of the opinion that any Christian church or denomination was as good as another. A belief in God was all that mattered... so what changed? My husband was NOT raised Catholic. He was raised in another Christian denomination. And though I didn't think about or did it occur to me to question why he believed the way he did, it DID occur to him to question ME!! lol! I was challenged... Initially, I had nothing to give, other than Catholic was all I knew to be and I did certain things because that's what I was always taught. It never occurred to me to do otherwise... But my husband wasn't going to let me off that easily... imagine that!! ; )

The more he questioned me, the more I questioned myself... I went to Mass every week, why? We said the rosary, why?... we prayed to the saints, why?... we had communion every week and at every mass, why?... we went to confession, why?... why couldn't I just go directly to God?... THAT one was a biggie for me, that I had already been struggling with... It was nothing short of a series of God's miracles and grace that gave me the answers that I/we sought. You see, my husband, although he had gone through RCIA and had been confirmed in to the Catholic Church prior to our marriage, he only attended with me on occasion after we were married. Things really started to heat up for us and our differences in religious beliefs when our children came in to the picture. It started with a book called Catholicism and Fundamentalism that my husband had bought from a passing through missionary that had come to our parish one year. He bought the book and then put it aside, unread... I picked it up and flew through the pages, unable to put it down. From that I went to other apologetic books by Scott Hahn, Matthew Pinto, Stephen Ray, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Tim Staples, and others... we began attending the Catholic Family Conference, then being held in Long Beach CA., and listening to speakers of the same names, and our hearts were grabbed...

While I can't say that my husband and I took the same journey, at the same time, we were both given the opportunity and grace to find our way to the same conclusion... We have found the Truth in the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. the Church is Holy, True and ONE, as Jesus and His Father are ONE. God did not intend for us to be scattered and split on differences of translations or leaders or rights, or traditions. When investigated and studied with an open mind and heart, the Catholic Church is a tapestry, intricately woven together with SUCH precision that only God Himself could have possibly designed it. So strong that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it. The Catholic Church existed before the Bible and it is the Church that preserved the Bible, the written word of God. And though a person, in the course of his own personal study and meditation may interpret certain scriptures as they apply to his own life, the deeper meanings of the scriptures in whole can be entrusted to the Church to teach and lead us to a deeper understanding and love of Christ and His Church.

My intention was not to make this an apologetic blog... It has just been my observation that while other Christians seem to have no problem sharing their beliefs, whether I agree with them or not... there seem to be many Catholics that feel that they have to "dumb down" our Faith in order to not offend others that may not believe as we do... why? From my own experiences, even our local Catholic schools want to tone things down, since not all of their students are necessarily Catholic... excuse me, but WHY?... Catholic parents are paying GOOD MONEY for their children to receive a CATHOLIC education at a CATHOLIC school, not just a "private" one... We have private Christian schools in town as well, and I guarantee that those teachers and staff aren't going to hold back any of THEIR teachings, whether they offend a Catholic or not... They are not going to tip toe around "sensitive" subjects at the risk of offending anyone that doesn't believe the same as they do....

I believe that even though it was sometimes very painful, it was BECAUSE my husband and I disagreed on some matters of faith, that it was a challenge and a blessing for me to take the opportunity to learn MORE.. to understand BETTER... I feel it would have been much easier to remain complacent had I not been challenged... I think it may be why so many cradle Catholics don't really know their Faith.... They may stay out of habit or obligation, feeling as I did, that one church is just as good as another, or they may stop practicing altogether or end up leaving for another church...

I am unapologetically Catholic. I believe in ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC Church. I believe that that which I have been blessed with in discovering through my journey of Faith is truly my key to obtain heaven. Note that I am in no way saying that I am assured heaven because I am Catholic... That decision is left up to God in my final judgement as it is for all of us. But I DO believe that the more that I learn about my Catholic Faith and understand and put in to practice that which the Church teaches, the closer I will become to God our Father. The first thing that we are taught as Catholics is WHY did God create us? To know, love and serve Him in THIS life, so that we may be with Him FOREVER in the next.... And He has given us the gift of His Sacraments where I can truly encounter Him body, blood, soul and divinity each and every day... So that we are ONE as HE and His heavenly Father are ONE... How AWESOME is THAT?? Nope... no apologies here.....

3 comments:

Melissa said...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it.

Lee said...

Thanks, Melissa! I'm excited for your own upcoming confirmation! Congratulations! : )

Linda said...

Woo hoo! Great post!

You are correct in saying the Faith is sometimes dumb-downed. In one church we belonged, the teachers RCIA program were 'afraid' to teach the TRUTH for fear that people would leave. But didn't Jesus let them walk away when they couldn't accept the truth of the Eucharist? YES!

Thank you, sister!