Monday, February 23, 2009

My reasons (preface part 2)

Now I know some might ask, "Why are you Catholic in the first place? What are your reasons?" Here is what I say (this is from an earlier "blog" via Facebook note):

Why am I Catholic? Because I firmly believe that we as Christians should be united together as one catholic (universal) body. Yes, we espouse this today, but many Protestant churches view themselves as their own entity and do not interact at all with other churches that are sometimes right across the street! In Catholicism, there is that unity. All parishes and churches are answerable to the hierarchy that has been established. There are many independent churches today, and it gives me pause because they are answerable to no one but themselves.

Why am I Catholic? Because I believe in the power of the Eucharist. Before converting, I had to stay back while others received the body and blood of Christ, and I longed and at times ached to join them. It was an exciting moment for me to finally be able to receive the sacrament in front of many friends and others who came to support me. Now I am able to join in this great gift.

Why am I Catholic? Catholicism is grounded in Scripture. During each mass, there are three readings: the first typically from the OT, the second from the Epistles, and the third from one of the four Gospels. Between the first and second readings, there is a psalm that is sung as well. It is amazing to hear the readings and the themes that run throughout them. It shows me that the Holy Sprit truly worked in the hearts and minds of not only the biblical authors, but also those who compiled both the OT and NT canons.

Why am I Catholic? Catholicism values those who have gone before us, i.e. the saints. Up until college, I had little clue who some of the great people in Christian history were, such as St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas. Catholicism calls us to imitate these men and women of faith who are like us in many ways. No matter your belief or faith, it’s hard to deny the working of Christ in their lives.
Asking for these men and women to pray for us is powerful as well. During the early years of the Church, believers would meet in the catacombs where their Christian brothers or sisters had been buried after they were martyred, believing their holiness still permeated the area. This is how the practice of praying to the saints and relics came about.

Why am I Catholic? Because I believe in the power of the sacraments. I have come to realize that Protestants also practice the same Catholic sacraments, though the means differ. Baptism and the Eucharist are the most similar, but the sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage are practiced by Protestants through ordination and marriage done by a pastor.
Reconciliation/Confession is something that has become encouraged in Protestant denominations through small groups and accountability partners. With this sacrament, I find it much more meaningful to physically hear the priest through the Spirit forgive the sins I confess. James himself wrote, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.” Knowing that I walk away with my sins forgiven is a wonderful feeling!
Anointing of the Sick is another sacrament practiced by Protestants. I know there have been many times when at the end of a service the pastor has asked for those who wished to be anointed and prayed for to come to the altar.
The Eucharist is especially powerful and meaningful to me. Each Mass, we as Catholics partake of Jesus' body and blood, our spiritual food! In this sense, we literally become temples of Christ and renew our covenant with him!

Why am I Catholic? It has a rich history. Catholicism has essentially been around since the 200s, at least in a form we recognize today, though it espouses that it’s the church since Christ ascended. Throughout that history, many heresies have been fought, councils have convened, and through all this our beliefs and traditions have been forged. The traditions Catholicism holds today have been handed down since the early Christians way before the 1500s and the Reformation. Luther himself believed what Catholicism believes and has believed; what he disagreed upon were not those beliefs, but instead certain practices that required reform, which the church did at the Council of Trent.

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