1. Jesus is Lord
The incarnation is the pivot point of history. God became man so that man could become God. Once you understand and accept this it’s like a thunderclap.
I spent a long time not believing it. When I found myself no longer able to deny it, it was like door being opened to a new understanding of reality. I now had to measure everything in my life and my mind and my world against the certainty that the immaterial and transcendent Origin of all that is had chosen to bridge the gap between Himself and His creation in order to heal the broken bond with man and give us a very simple message: Love one another as I have loved you. God showed us his face.
And then he left us a Church, and Himself in the Eucharist.
2. Catholicism is true
As I wrote a few years ago when I answered this question, I had searched for truth all my life, passing through agnosticism and quasi-paganism and a whole host of other beliefs until I could no longer deny the Christian God. The absolute last thing I wanted was to return to the Church of my childhood. I was out! I was free! I didn’t want to go back. I had to go back. Other belief systems I’d studied and flirted with had offered pieces of the truth. Only one offered the fullness of the Truth.
3. It’s hard
The dumbest thing anti-religious people say is that religion is a crutch for the weak and feeble-minded. If I had to create a system of belief, this wouldn’t be it. I’d find something where I could sleep in on Sundays, ignore the needs of others, stick my genitals where-ever I want, lie a whole lot, treat my enemies without mercy, avoid contact with a lot of strangers I don’t like, and ignore this silly relationship with God thing.
Religion is hard.
Anything worth doing is hard.
4. I tried inventing my own reality. It doesn’t workThe idea that, in the short span of a human life, you can invent yourself and your entire model of the universe is not merely hubris or vanity: it’s flat-out impossible. Even the most obnoxious fedora atheist borrows his system of belief from another.
We don’t invent knowledge. We find it and test it.
I did not create a belief system: I discovered it. It’s a system that allows me to see the world as it is, not as I wish it was.
5. Mystery is at the heart of human experience
Man is born to love the mysterious: the unanswered question, the unexplored frontier, the unknown. Modern man, however, is conditioned to hate the unknown. All questions, he is told, can be answered: indeed, they must be answered. Catholicism is a system that raises as many questions as it answers, and this keeps me on my toes. It embraces the mystery of life with a passion.
The priest holds aloft the thin wafer and says “This is my body.”
The skeptic says, “How? Why? No.”
I say, “God would not come to us in material form only to leave us hungry for His presence. ‘How’ does not matter. Yes.”
6. Sanctifying time
The Church provides a shape and rhythm to life. It sanctifies time. The minutes, the hours, the days, the years, the life. From birth to death, the life of the believer is an hourglass, and each grain of sand that falls is blessed.
Time is the great mystery that’s vexed my mind since I was a child: its passing, its brutality, its inexorable quality. The pulse of the individual, the ebb and flow of life through all its majestic and tragic and ordinary moments, are all measured out, considered, and sacralized by the Church.
7. The communion of saints
We travel on an endless stream of time that has carried other travelers before us. Saints and sinner, kings and peasants, the extraordinary and the ordinary: they’ve all left markers along the way. Others have passed beyond the cataract that separates the material world from the spiritual, and now they stand by the shore offering us guidance, and aiding in our way. We are on a strange and challenging journey, but we do not travel it alone.