I am a Cradle Catholic. From the moment I was conceived, I was meant to be Catholic and I feel very fortunate because of this. Having said this, I now choose to be Catholic. However, some of my very best friends are not Catholic, but they are some of the best Christians I know. They carry the light of Christ in all aspects of their lives and I love them deeply. Sometimes I wonder if they question why I choose to be Catholic. I could answer this question very easily, but I will start out with how alike we all are instead.
To my Christian friends,
I think of Christianity as a common bond we share: we pray to the same God, we believe Christ is the Son of God, and we all believe in seeking Goodness. These are important unifying factors in our struggle in this life, but here are even more things that make us joined as Christians:
The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. What we all believe as Christians was begun in Catholicism. There may have been a parting of ways at certain points in history, but we all agree that our faith began in Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection.
We experience prayer through meditation, through song, through nature, and through silence—just like you do. We all are Christians, inclined to pray in these ways.
We too can be so excited about our faith in Christ that we want to share it with everyone. We do evangelize and we all can be on fire for Christ.
These similarities are significant.
Now, most Catholics are not judgmental about your Christian faith. We are all trying to get to the same goal—unity with Christ. A lot of Catholics do not know the ins and outs of their own faith, so when they are told they are wrong by some of you Evangelical Christians, they have no idea what to say. Believe me, the Catholic faith can be justified, asi t has been since its inception by Christ Himself over 2,000 years ago. We know what we are talking about. Please do not tell us we are wrong nor try to tell us just what we believe, ie: I promise, we do not worship the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Now, this is why I am Catholic:
The Sacraments are physical, outward signs of our faith and we can celebrate these daily, weekly, or once in a lifetime. The celebrations themselves are part of our culture as Catholics. I love the excitement of Baptism as we bring our babies into our community as well as watching children donned in white dresses and suits at First Holy Communion. There is nothing so cathartic as confessing our sins so that we acknowledge our failures and need for Christ out loud, and being forgiven in the same way, out loud. When our young people are confirmed in our Church it too is a celebration acknowledging their ability to remain faithful to our Church. A Catholic wedding is beautiful and romantic; we believe two people can fall in love and stay in love. We believe that a man can remain so devoted to Christ and our community that he can commit to poverty, obedience, and chastity when he receives Holy Orders. There is a beautiful sense of closure and true celebration of life when our dying loved ones receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
The Catholic Church is never changing. I know this might frustrate some, but I love the fact that the Church does not assimilate to the world and does not bend to society’s will, therefore I feel secure and led in the right direction.
I also love that since it is the Church begun by Christ Himself, no man has come along and changed things at will. Our beliefs have remained the same. We don’t have to adhere to multiple interpretations of our faith or of our Scriptures, which is confusing and much too subjective. We also adhere to one interpretation of the Bible; the idea of individual interpretation is dangerous and the risk of passages taken out of context and changed to suit the taste of an individual instead of the interests of the whole is something that makes me uneasy.
Tradition goes along with the Church’s consistency and longevity. I can go to any Catholic Mass anywhere and it will be the same; that leaves me feeling secure. The more I learn about the Mass, the more I love and revere it, the more celebratory it becomes.
I find the Church to be extremely good to women. I know it sounds contrary to what you hear, but the respect for the Blessed Mother reverberates into reverence for women in general. The Church is not oppressive; it is reverent.
I asked about some teenagers what they loved most about being Catholic. Here is what they said:
- · “I am proud that I follow a tradition in which I am lead by a Holy Father—the Pope—and that I am a follower of the first Church of Christ.”
- · I love being Catholic because my religion gives me the Sacrament and those Sacraments let me be closer to God.”
- · “I always know someone loves me– no matter what.”
- · “I love parties after someone’s First Communion.”
- · “I like that no matter what happens, I will be always loved and forgiven and that God will always be there for me.”
- · “I like going to Communion and Confession and getting ready for Mass and going to Mass.”
- · “My faith is a community.”
- · “I love the Sacraments, and I am very excited about being Confirmed.”
- “I love the feeling of safety after praying to God.”
- · “All the Sacraments we experience are of such great significance as part of God’s plan and family.”
- · “I love being Catholic because there are many celebrations and it is fun.”
So, you see, Catholics, if they are truly Catholic, Catholics LOVE being Catholic.
Your Sister in Christ
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Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.