Why am I still Catholic? It’s a great question. Fellow Patheos bloggers much wiser, smarter, and better than me have been posting about this all week (link to the original below), and after having given it some thought and prayer, I’ve decided to contribute. It won’t be profound, but it will be honest.
First things first. I accept and believe all the Church teaches and preaches, because what She teaches is Jesus Christ, who is Truth. Now, I don’t claim to understand all of it, and there’s stuff I struggle with. And despite seeing family members and close friends fall away – for whatever reason, and in their minds, quite valid reasons – I have thus far resisted the occasional temptations to chuck it all. There but for the grace of God go I.
So why am I still Catholic? Two reasons, really.
One – I’m so terribly bad at being Catholic, I’d most definitely be worse anywhere else.
There is still so much for me to learn – on how to be a faithful disciple, on how to show mercy, on how to live intentionally, on how to be humble, to name a few – that if I were to leave the Church, I would most likely never ever learn those things. I don’t see how I could. The best chance I have at becoming the person God created me to be, is to remain a faithful Catholic.
I have a crappy prayer life. I’m lucky if I pray five days out of a novena, or say the rosary on a regular basis. I do say grace before meals, so I have that down. I’m fairly reliable at intercessory prayer, too. But the “make your life a prayer” thing? Still needs way more work. The Church can teach me to be a better pray-er, if I open my heart to learn. And nobody does prayer better than the Church.
I need to be a better husband and dad – and the Church is the best school in which to learn those skills and improve those relationships. I probably would be divorced if I weren’t Catholic. In fact, I know it.
I need help in resisting temptation and avoiding sin – without the sacraments, where would I receive the grace necessary to find the narrow path, and the strength necessary to stay on it? No where else.
For me, imagining how much of a worse person I would be without my Catholic faith, can be more than enough some days to stay in the Church. Most days, though, the challenges of loving more, forgiving more, believing more, and learning more provide sufficient reason to stay Catholic. If I can be a slightly worse person today than I was yesterday, then I’m doing okay. I don’t believe that would be the case if I were to stop being Catholic.
Here’s Reason #2.
I had a powerful reversion in 1997, after having been away for about twelve years. It was the Blessed Mother’s intercession that led me out of the darkness. She showed me Jesus’ mercy, that I wasn’t beyond redemption, that my sins didn’t define me, and that there was much to hope for. Christ came that we might have life, life in incredible abundance. I took her hand, and she led me to her Son, and I’ve experienced that abundance in real, tangible ways.
A good son doesn’t abandon his Mother – not twice, anyway. My goal is to have been a prodigal son only once in my life. And while it’s not up to me to judge whether I’m good, the least I can do is try my best. Even when my best sometimes isn’t very good.
My devotion to Mary is the tether that binds me to Jesus. Every so often I feel the tug of a mother’s love on my heart – to keep going, to stay faithful, to follow Him – and I get back in line. Though to be honest, sometimes it’s more like a 2×4 to the side of the head. I don’t do subtlety all that well.
I love being Catholic. I’m still not all that good at it, so I stay faithful, with the hope I can be slightly less worse today than I was yesterday.
(Tod Worner – the original post who started all this!)
Image Credit: via Pixabay