I’ve invited several readers to guest post why they choose to remain in the Catholic Church. This is a submission from a lovely lady I’ve known since she was a girl. She is a young woman, a college student, with a beautiful and vibrant faith. I’m thrilled to be able to bring you this piece by Molly Cromer. ~ Rebecca Frech
When I was 6 months old, I became Catholic. While many Catholics have been so since the cradle, it is not uncommon for many to practice the faith simply because it is the status quo. Making it to Mass on Sunday (and better yet, on time) becomes the length of our practice. It becomes a habit, a series of motions which are poorly understood. I myself am no exception having been lukewarm for a time. But in His infinite mercy, every so often the Holy Spirit gifts us with an opportunity to reflect on why Catholicism is so much more than boring repetition.
Simply put, I am not Catholic today because I was baptized. I am Catholic because the Church is my home and my family. My faith has formed me, fed me, nurtured me. I stay Catholic because the Church is the rock. It is the original, the one true church. Our Lord established it and gave authority to Peter and each of his successors through the ages to lead it infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit.
I am Catholic because of history—the powerful dedication and witness of the saints and martyrs. The members of the early Church who would rather die than deny their faith inspire me to seek something greater than myself.
I am Catholic because of beauty. When I reflect upon nature, art, music, and poetry; the divine stirs up in my soul the yearning for something beyond this world.
I am Catholic because the church is a loving mother who establishes rules to keep us safe both physically and spiritually. I am not bound by her rules that are commonly thought of as strict and tyrannical. Rather, I am protected and freed from distress caused by the immorality of societal norms. I am not merely told to save myself for marriage. Because of Church teaching, I have learned the value of my self-worth and sexuality. Because of the Church, I have chosen to save myself from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. I am not merely told to stay off of birth control, but I choose to not pump my system with artificial chemicals, hormones, and carcinogens. I choose to be open to life naturally within the safety of a steady and faith-filled marriage someday. Because of Church teaching, I have been protected from premature, destructive, and drama-filled relationships.There is power in the willingness to wait for a holy relationship, with Christ who strengthens me; for I have sought out and found true love in Him.
I am Catholic because the nearness of heaven through the sacraments is a beacon of light in a dark world. The light is my strength to love, to fight, and to pick myself up after a fall.
I am Catholic because it is the original love story from which I have no doubt the fairy tales of old came forth. Christ is the hero who, by laying down his life for His bride the church, saved us from the snares of sin and death. It is an unending love story, for the story is alive in each of us. It is an epic romance.
The King of the Universe not only died for us, but makes Himself present to us to feed us, to listen to us, to forgive us, to grace us, and to commune with us, His bride. Catholicism is the embrace of imperfection, the love of humanity, and the reminder of mercy.
It is consolation in adversity. It is a universal family. The Catholic Church is assurance of the necessity, the dignity and the importance of every human being, as each is made in His image and likeness. It is a journey, a pilgrimage toward our eternal home in heaven. It has proven itself not only something worth dying for, but something worth living.
Molly Cromer is a sophomore at Benedictine college where she’s majoring in Journalism with double minors in music and dance. She’s a ballerina, violinist, cupcake guru, and a master of the impossibly ridiculous. She will be chronicling her adventures this summer as a Parisian nanny at her blog Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
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Photo credit: Mosaic in the facade of Bremen Cathedral showing the crucifixion of Christ By Alvesgaspar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Molly Cromer used with permission