Today is my eighteenth birthday. In honor of the miracle of my life, and the beginning of this blog, I want to take the time to express 18 reasons that I love my faith. God has endlessly blessed my life, and it is only fair that I should share how I love His Church. Have fun, and welcome to my blog! I hope you stick around for awhile.
- Community is in every church. There is a pulse flowing through every congregation in every service. From our Church leader, the Pope, to our individual leaders, the priests, we have a massive web of connectivity. “Catholic” does mean “universal.”
- Tradition leads my life. This is an aspect of Catholicism that originally drove me away. To non-Catholics our traditions come across as strict, weird, and unsubstantiated, but they are nothing if not God’s will. We say the Lord’s Prayer in every mass. We gather to pray the rosary. I used to think that those things were repetitive, boring, and not creative. Now I realize how beautiful and loyal those traditions are.
- History defines Catholicism. We can trace our Church back to the mouth of Jesus. Catholicism is not man made. I love that I can find my roots there. I love that I can see how God guided us through the 2,000 years of our Church. It wasn’t always good, but that also taught me about the meaning and importance of free will and forgiveness.
- The saints offer role models to everyone at every age in every denomination. They demonstrate amazing morality, humility, and love. I used to think of them as if they were just a bunch of people that lived forever ago and did impossible things, but they aren’t. They were real people. They are recent people. They did ordinary things for extraordinary causes. They were brave in the face of social discrimination, stood up for worthy causes, were rebels, and did mind-blowing things. I mean, these are cool people. Why wouldn’t we look up to them?
- The teachings challenge my own preconceptions. I am not going to lie and tell you that I agree with every little thing that the Catholic Church teaches, because I don’t. I am challenged to reevaluate my opinions every week. I used to hear these teachings and instead of looking at my own opinion critically, I automatically labeled it incorrect. I was blind and close-minded. I’ve only recently realized that my faith must challenge me to make me believe it. And I need to believe it, not just trust in it. I appreciate the challenge that the Catholic teachings impose on me because they force me to live out my faith.
- My identity is solid. For the longest time I felt as if I was purposeless, but I have a purpose. I’m Catholic. I am God’s. I am meant to evangelize. I am meant to help. I am meant to adore. My Catholic identity is meant to help me through all of that.
- The Eucharist is freaking amazing. It is literally God, right there in that wafer of bread. If you aren’t Catholic you probably don’t understand this, but we believe that as the priest blesses the wine and bread, they become the body and blood. The real body and blood. It’s kinda mind blowing.
- Accountability within your home church is strong. This is another thing that originally caused me to dislike the church, but now I am thankful for. People wonder where you are if you aren’t at church for a few weeks. They look forward to seeing you every Sunday and poking you in the back during the homily. Meeting outside of church is even better because you both have the same values and it causes you to evaluate choices in the same way.
- Theology of the body is kind of amazing and empowering. This is basically sex and its place in the faith. I could talk about TOB forever because I love everything about it. Learning about it has made me realize how special I am and how special my marriage will be.
- Celebration is everywhere. The Catholic Church has something to celebrate all the time. I mean, Christmas and Easter obviously, but for both of those we have weeks of preparation beforehand. There are hundreds of feast days for saints in the Church where we celebrate the lives and deaths of amazingly holy people. We celebrate Mary in the month of May. There is always a reason to celebrate within the Catholic faith.
- Imperfections are not denied. We know that we aren’t perfect in our faith. We know that we are not guaranteed Heaven simply because we believe in Jesus. We realize how we should live and we are constantly seeking forgiveness because we recognize that we are constantly making mistakes.
- Anointing of the Sick is comforting. All the sacraments are amazing, but I find this one especially comforting. To know that I will be blessed before I pass. To know that a priest will be praying for me. It is reassuring to know that no matter how alone I am at the time of my passing, I won’t actually be alone.
- Mary is my mother. Honestly, my personal love for Mary has only just started to blossom. I am in awe of her life and of her everlasting motherly love. It is just another reason to never feel alone because my mom, Mary, is cheering me on from the sidelines.
- Answers can be found if you search for them. So often I find myself completely dumbfounded by a question from a friend. I don’t know everything about my faith, but there are people out there that have the answers. They are consistent and real. All I have to do is seek them out.
- Religious life is inspiring. I honestly didn’t realize how many religious vocations there were within the Church until last year. The different orders of Sisters and Brothers. The orders of priests are really interesting and even the options available for the lay of the church. I am just dumbfounded.
- Baptism is beautiful. I realize that most Christian denominations baptize their members, but the Catholic church has such amazing rituals behind theirs. The symbolism behind the oils and the water are so special to me.
- Suffering is meaningful. In the Catholic church, we focus on Jesus. We focus on his crucifixion. Every Catholic church has a crucifix in it, not just a cross. We look at the suffering face of Jesus during every mass. We know what he went through and it is a large reminder to all of us that he knows our own struggles and that we aren’t alone in them. Our suffering is a Godsend and has a purpose.
- Catholicism is the Church of the senses. Every liturgical season has a color. Every mass we taste the body and blood. We sing praises throughout the mass. We give each other the sign of peace with a handshake and a smile. The incense brings us into meditation – and makes some of us sneeze. The church is stimulating, changing all the time, and sparks creativity in my heart.
Thank you for reading these reasons. I know they aren’t very elaborate, but I will be expanding them into individual posts in the weeks to come, so I thought you would forgive me for holding back. I hope that you have a good day!