Here begins my posting of old works left unpublished for… varying reasons. Some thoughts were just unfinished, and I was loathe to put them out in their (more) unfinished form. As such, this is me, mostly from a year ago.
In recent days, I’ve been asked: “Why are you Catholic?” After much deliberation, here goes.
I find, in my ongoing journey in the Catholic Faith, that there is:
At the end of the day, whether we want to admit it or not, we’re looking for something true. Truth fulfills this desire within us. It’s a powerful thing. The truth of the matter is, I find answers to the occasional question I might have about my faith. Trust but verify, right? Sometimes I’ll ask why, questioning a teaching or even just looking for the reason behind why some occurrence takes place. There’s a significance and order behind the universe. It’s not some randomly pieced together thing. As for God’s existence, I’m willing to take the bet that He’s real. It was quite eloquently put in a book I read some time ago. If the atheist is right, and God is fake and oblivion is real, then no matter what we do on earth – good or evil, we all go to the inevitable oblivion. However, on the off-chance that I’m right, and God, Heaven, and hell are real, then… well… Are you willing to stake eternity on His nonexistence?
Now, when I say glory, I don’t mean for myself, by myself. I mean glory for the Church as a whole. I’m not – nor should I be – looking to glorify myself. I’m looking to be great through the efforts of the Church, that my fellow brothers and sisters, as well as myself, may one day stand at God’s side in Heaven as saints. That’s my end goal. That’s the glory I desire. All this will pass away, whether we like it or not. So we must aim for Heaven. I’m not exactly uppity about the idea of going to hell, so let’s aim for glory, eh?
Time and time again, I find myself seeking my Catholic friends. My community, seeking Heaven’s merits, striving forward together even when darkness pulls us down. And sure, we may sometimes be at odds as far as our personalities are concerned, but at the end, we have that binding tie of knowing that we are children of God.
Never has any other community ever given me such hope as the Church has. It’s hard to describe, but every time I find myself before the Blessed Sacrament, or surrounded by my brothers & sisters, I am filled with a hope for the future.
Beyond giving one a purpose in life, something a few believe it’s all religion is good for, it also gives one courage. The Church does more than hand you a stack of rules and say: “Follow these!” It also, blesses you with strength to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. “Why would we do that?” you might ask, “God doesn’t need us to do anything on His behalf if He’s all powerful.” No, He definitely does not need us, but we need Him. We owe it to Him to show His love through our lives, and so He gives us courage in the face of adversity, as a father encourages and teaches a son to stand ready. To rise.
To further that note, for perhaps I fail to explain it well, these rules that we’ve been given are – now that I know better – the roads by which our freedom is unlocked. Freedom… for excellence. As the athlete, by following the rules, is able to play the game and play it well; as the pianist, by learning the proper notes, is able to produce the desired song; so we by obeying the Church’s teachings – teachings ordered toward our good and happiness – may experience true freedom. I never regret not sinning, believe me.
And finally, the one that perhaps encompasses all the rest. All these previous things have been given me by a loving God. A God who is not a taskmaster, not malevolent or unjust, no, He is Love itself: perfect in all of His ways. Perhaps I made the mistake of saying last year that I bet on His existence. Let’s cast that aside, betting. I don’t have to gamble with His reality. I know Him, I’ve seen His works in my life, heh, in fact, I’ve seen Him. Every time I go to Mass, or Adoration, I have seen Him. Present, powerful.
What is love? Age old question, right? Love is willing the good of the other. We, who have had our wills corrupted by sin, have imperfect love. God, in His perfection, is able to will the greatest good for us, to love us completely. This is why we say He is Good, because, he is goodness in its fullness. He brings everything to perfection within Himself.
That’s not to say that I’ve only received love from Catholics and no one else, but there is something key there, in our acknowledgement that Love comes from the Father. We are loved by others because… God loved us first. He continues to work through us and our imperfections, and by drawing us in, He brings us to perfection within Himself.
I could go on for quite a bit, but then I’m sure I would lose whatever final shreds of coherence I might have had, if any. I’m still learning, both in terms of the teachings and expressing them. The beauty is that one can never truly say it all. There’s always something left to be discovered, to be shared by someone that God chose to speak through in a very specific way to touch a very specific someone.
The particularity of love, pushing us to a great beyond.
That’s probably what being Catholic is for me. This joyful view of life, even in the midst of trial after trial. It is the promise that at the end of the road, there lies a happiness that cannot be taken away. Despite that, it doesn’t mean that life is a hellhole by any means; it’s a chance to move upward, steadily climbing the mountain to reach the peak. And when we stand atop the heights, we’ll know it was all worth it.
*Anything following the uh, star mark or whatever “*” is (asterisk?), denotes writings that are actually present day me, as opposed to early 2016 me. Surprisingly, it does make a difference.