Faith

Why Catholic?

If you read this blog, or know our family, then you probably know we are Catholic.  You probably also know, that wasn't always the case.  In fact, when I began writing this blog in 2008, we were very active in an ELCA Lutheran Congregation.  A vibrant congregation full of amazing Christian people, many of whom we continue to keep in touch with today.  

I realize that I never really wrote much about our conversion.  More like one day we were a Christian homeschooling family...then the next day we were a Catholic Christian homeschool family.   I want to give a brief (somewhat non theological, very incomplete/drop in the bucket) explanation to answer the question, "Why Catholic?"  

All the way at the bottom of this post is a link to an index of our liturgical activities, family sacrament celebrations, and faith-based everything else.  Once you have read through this post at least once, it is acceptable to skip down to the bottom and head straight to the index!

1.  The Eucharist

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 Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53) Catholics believe that during the consecration at every single Mass Jesus comes to us in the bread and the wine.  Not symbolically   Not theoretically.  Actually.  In the the flesh.  Completely present.  Every.  Single.  Time.  I won't ask you to share this belief with me if you don't (it takes a leap of faith at first, one that even many Catholics are hesitant to make), but I will ask you this.  If Jesus was available in the flesh to you every single week, wouldn't you want that?  If you want to know another little "secret" about the Eucharist, Martin Luther believed heavily in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  If you don't believe me, look it up in his catechism.  I'll let the experts over at Catholic Answers give you a more theological explanation on the Catholic belief, though.

2.  Catholic Understanding of Suffering.
 

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Sometime after our daughter Kenna died (2007), it really struck me that the prosperity gospel is a false gospel.  If you aren't familiar with that phrase, let me word it another way.  This idea that somehow our happiness is tied to our practice of our faith.  The more or better we practice, the happier or more prosperous our lives will be.  The biggest problem with this idea, for me at least, is that it implies that we determine how happy or prosperous our lives will be rather than God.  If we think we need something and we don't get it then we must need to pray about it more, or maybe we need more people to pray about it more.  Or (as many modern people have decided) maybe God is just a big joke and I'm in control and therefore I will create my own destiny.  

The things is, though, God never promised us Heaven on Earth.  He actually promised us a somewhat miserable existence on Earth.  He promised us poverty and division.  In fact, Christ himself couldn't live a life free of suffering on Earth.  If He could freely choose and accept that God's plan for him involved his death, then I can certainly accept that God's plan for me might not be all sunshine and roses either.  That isn't to say that we don't ask (through prayer) for our suffering to be lifted or removed, again Christ did that too (see Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46).  It's just that if God says no it doesn't mean we did anything wrong or didn't pray hard enough.  It means that this suffering has a purpose in God's plan for our lives.  Just because we can't find the purpose, doesn't mean it isn't there.   

In my life, I have found that when I embrace suffering rather than run from it, I find amazing spiritual surprises (usually in the form of unexpected personal growth).  As I read the lives of the saints and martyrs throughout Church history, I find that these incredibly holy men and women also suffered, in some very painful and traumatic ways, and yet Christ persevered through their suffering and impacted the lives of many others.

3.  The Domestic Church

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Early in our marriage, Tim and I were convicted pretty heavily that typical birth control methods were not for us.  There was a spiritual component and also a health component, but we began to explore Natural Family Planning options (NFP).  Like probably most Americans, we really didn't understand what that meant.  As we began to learn and grow more together, however, we began to be continually converted towards this idea of God's design for our family.  What were our complimentary contributions to be made to our married and family life?  How did God want us to use NFP to be open to life?  What were our duties as parents?  What did that mean?  I read Kimberly Hahn's, Graced and Gifted, cover to cover more than once.  Within a few short years, I was pretty sure that the Catholics had this family thing right.

A short time later, when our daughter Kenna died (I'm pretty sure she was directly involved in pointing us on our Catholic way), we became even further convicted in the area of dignity of each human person from conception to natural death.  At the time, we knew that we held a somewhat minority opinion on the subject in our church, but we accepted that and never had a problem.  A few years later, however, when we were looking for a new church home in Utah, the more we researched churches the more clear it became that the Catholic Church would be the best fit for our family.  In some ways, you might say that NFP was our gateway drug to discovering the Catholic teachings on marriage and family life and eventually the teachings of suffering and the Eucharist!  

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I could write more on each of these three areas and I could add other Catholic beliefs that I hold near and dear to my heart, but these were the three that got me in the door.  They opened my eyes to a much richer and deeper faith tradition than I even knew existed.  One that continues to trickle in and permeate every nook and cranny of my life in ways that constantly surprise me.  Sometimes I feel completely unqualified to even be Catholic, much less to talk about it with other people, which is why I haven't blogged about it much.  Hopefully this gave you a little glimpse, however, into who we are and what we believe!


Feasts, Seasons, & Liturgical Activities Index Page