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A Letter to my Christian Friends

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.

I do read the Bible. Catholics do read the Bible, and the Bible holds wisdom for all of us, as it is the Word of God.

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.

Love,

Your Sister in Christ

 

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About Charla

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.

  • Lyn - This is so good…I am going to share this on my own blog as a springboard for a post that has been brewing in my mind. Thank you!February 26, 2013 – 12:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison H. - A million yeses! I hope my children will be able to say these things someday (the biggest were 6,8,2 when we converted and the others are cradle Catholics)!February 26, 2013 – 4:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Colleen - Thank you for a beautiful post! You so well stated in words, the feelings I have in my heart. I have been struggling with how to explain the love I have for my faith to friends of other denominations. I will just direct them to your post! Have a wonderful day!February 26, 2013 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Susan M. - Ok, I’ll comment. I’m hoping to convert to Catholicism after being a charismatic Christian for fifteen years, and having been baptised in the Baptist Church. I sincerely do believe, long for, and strive to know God as He is revealed through the sacraments of the Catholic Church and hope to enter in fully to the glories of His Church. At the same time, I sometimes wonder how much of my “other” Christian life I should relinquish as I become Catholic. It’s not that I am a syncretist, or that I’m leading a double life, or anything, but I do love the open-ended Spirit-led Charismatic worship as much I love the liturgy. I hope and pray that my family will love and revere the revelation of the Lord through the Pope and the Church Fathers as much as I do, and I would like my kids to have a Catholic training. But,two questions arise. 1) will adding Catholicism to my existing faith be enough for the Church? 2) Should I conclude that it is alright for Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics and Lutherans to bring their worship and praise traditions with them when they come in the Catholic door? and 2b) When will Protestants and Catholics begin praying together for the body of Christ?February 28, 2013 – 3:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison H. - Hi Susan,

    We’re former Assembly of God folks (my husband was a pastor) that converted 8 years ago (my conversion story is here at CS called *From Christian Confusion to Catholic Clarity*). I, too, miss worship music and am learning about music in the life of the Church. And I mean right now! Here’s a passage I’ve been contemplating from *Why Do Catholics Do That* by Kevin Orlin Johnson:

    “This harmonic view of the universe lets you make music as an image of the heavens, or maybe it lets you see the heavens as an image of your music. Either way, it has a symbolic value; it makes your music speak of harmony beyond hearing and it elevates your compositions to reflect the overarching Wisdom of God, which governs all things well.”

    I think that is amazing and things like this are beginning to turn me toward some other kind of music for Holy Mass. Anyway. I play lots of praise and worship music in my house, though! Here in Alaska, I don’t think we have much choices as far as concerts or retreats or Catholic charismatic anything, but I know it’s out there (any Sistas have help here?!). And we have a Catholic teen conference each summer that has P&W music every day that I sneak into!

    If you say at the Easter vigil that you believe all that the Holy Catholic Church teaches to be true and receive the sacraments, then you’re in. Music and all! And Catholics do pray for unity at every Mass; this was a particular, special prayer and work of our beloved Pope Benedict XVI.

    I’ll stop now; e-mail me if you like (kahowell@mtaonline.net). Have a great day and thanks for commenting!
    Warmly,
    AllisonFebruary 28, 2013 – 7:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Susan M. - Hi Allison,

    thanks so much for that amazing quote about music. Wow, Alaska. That must be an amazing place to appreciate God’s creation, and music as its image.

    I am immensely moved by liturgical music, and fall all over myself when the Church dresses herself in Latin for certain seasons, i.e., Lent. I also acknowledge the prayers of the Church for unity, as some of the oldest prayers that exist. I guess my question is not , “why can’t we change the music”, but a yearning for greater harmony of among streams of worship and prayer in the body of Christ.

    I have this quote in mind, which maybe is from Irenaeus or maybe St. Francis de Sales (can’t remember) but it is this:
    “Think of a musician tuning his lyre. By his skill he adjusts high notes and lownotes and intermediate notes to the rest and produces a series of harmonies. So too, the wisdom of God holds the world like a lyre and joins things in the air to those on earth, and things in heaven to those in the air, and it brings each part into harmony with the whole”.
    It seems to me that this is what God’s heart yearns for from his Bride, the Church, that we would allow the wisdom of God to tune our hearts toward the yearning that He has for his church to be one, not to be forever split.March 1, 2013 – 2:04 pmReplyCancel

  • A Letter to my Christian Friends (aka “Can’t we all just get along?”) | New Things - […] A letter to my Christian Friends […]March 4, 2013 – 5:30 pmReplyCancel

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