The question, “Why are you Catholic?” has been asked before. Have you answered it lately?
Forget about those stale, boxed-up, cookie-cutter New Year’s resolutions which too often, too quickly become the old year’s empty resolutions. Instead, search for God’s purpose and meaning for your life through your Catholic faith and pray for the strength to live it incessantly.
My prayerful thoughts for 2011 have brought me to the humanity side of being Roman Catholic.
We have all experienced society’s persecutions, doubts and troubling cynicism. Heck, it has been the sinful and imperfect lives lived by some Roman Catholics that have helped to feed such disdain. Thank God in the bigger picture those numbers represent a small portion compared to the faithful seeking to live according to teachings of Christ and His Church. Many of us seem to forget this.
When it happens to me I allow God’s Word to take hold of my heart and recall what Jesus himself proclaimed: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” John 15:18
My being baptized Catholic was the choice of my parents; remaining Catholic has been my choice.
Recently there was an article written in the Houston Catholic Worker newspaper by Mark and Louise Zwick entitled, “Living With the Human Side of the Church.” It was specifically written in response to an e-mail they received asking if they could share ideas about living with the human side of the Church.
By way of my personal relationship with my Lord and by reflection on that article I see that to be Catholic means to live my life emphasizing the teachings of the Church within the imperfections of my humanness.
Quoting from that article: “…being a disciple, being a Catholic, meant becoming holy and powerful in a very different way, the way of the Gospel: "The greatest challenge of the day is: How to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us. When we begin to take the lowest place, to wash the feet of others, to love our brothers and sisters with that burning love, that passion, which led to the Cross, then we can truly say, 'Now, I have begun.'" (Dorothy Day in Loaves and Fishes )
To summarize further—through all ages there have been scandal and saints. Those who love the Church were able to see beyond the scandals and live out the Gospel.
To those who today struggle with the reality of the sins of some in the Church, Fr. Catoir, the former president of The Christophers says, "Don't let a Church scandal screw up your chances for spiritual happiness. Do not lose your joy because of the sins of others; that would be a form of self-sabotage.
"There have always been bad people in the Church: bad popes, bad bishops, bad priests, bad men and bad women. Despite them, decide to be joyful, no matter what…
"Also, never abandon the Eucharist. Forfeiting this wonderful gift would be the worst act of self-sabotage for Catholics.
Being a Catholic in 2011 means I will choose the Eucharist and God’s Holy Word. I will pray for increased strength to live faithfully Christ's teachings.
It means I will choose to let my little light shine given me by God instead of just cursing the darkness.
What about you?