Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why Catholic?

This seems like an obvious post to have written when I first began my journey, but I'm just now getting around to it. When I've told people about my decision, I've gotten all sorts of reactions. Some were horrified & convinced I was deceived & joining a cult. Some were o.k. with it, but cautioned me against worshipping Mary. Others just kind of looked at me with blank stares. What, was I going to be a nun? When was I coming back to the church I had been a part of for the last 4 years of my life? They didn't seem to get it.

So why DO I want to be a Catholic?! When I signed up for RCIA, my answer was something about the symbolism being very moving, or how the music of John Michael Talbot hooked me when I was a teenager or that I had always felt like I was missing something in my Protestant faith. I might have referenced the early church fathers & how their writings were undeniably Catholic. But now I can add the Catholic perspective of the Bible coupled with Tradition. I'm convinced that Luther's "Solas" & Calvin's T.U.L.I.P. model are not Biblical. Scripture actually seems to stand in opposition to these ideas. I believe God gave us the scriptures, but He also gave us Tradition as a context.
Another reason I want to be a Catholic concerns all the misconceptions surrounding the Church. As I've studied & wrestled with things, I've discovered that the truth is there, but its rarely believed. As with anything, negativity hogs the spotlight. Bad experiences, one's own unwillingness to submit to authority or external pressures from the world at large usually take center stage. We don't often hear about the good quite as much as we hear about the bad. But if you dig, you will find the good. If you seek it, you will find the Truth. Its sometimes not what we want to hear, but its there. I've been floored by how many misconceptions I've believed about Catholicism!
I've recently become convinced that Catholic leadership is in place by God's plan & purpose. Its survived for 2,000 years & guards the deposit of the faith. There is of course, the human factor that can screw with the sanctity of intent, but this is our fault, not God's. His design is meant to protect us & distribute His grace to us in community.
The Mass is another reason I want to be a Catholic. Its no ordinary church service. There is a communion of saints there, past & present. There is a reverence for the Word & for prayer. Jesus is present in the Eucharist. I don't know how or why I believe this, but I do. There is something markedly different about being at Mass!
I want to be a Catholic because I tend to think more about Jesus than I do myself when I'm praying "Catholic" prayers, listening to Catholic perspectives & contemplating 2,000 year's worth of wisdom & experience. As a Protestant, I hardly thought of Jesus at all. Strange, but true. My prayers were all about me, what I wanted, what I needed... Now I pray the Rosary & my prayers are about how I can follow the life of Jesus, how I can learn from Mary's "Yes" to God, how I can love God & learn to love my neighbor as myself. I want to be a Catholic because of these things & so much more...

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