Praise be to Jesus Christ! Today is the seventh anniversary of my Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion, the day I entered the Church! So I wanted to talk about seven things I love about being Catholic or wish I had known when I converted. First, is that at the end of the day, Catholicism is true. That is the only reason to be Catholic.
I am absolutely in love with the Sacrament of Confession. I know that many of my Protestant friends do not understand Confession, or don’t know where it is found in Scripture, or even find it blasphemous to confess our sins to a priest “instead” of to God. However, Scripture is quite clear that Jesus deputized the Apostles (who in turn deputized their successors) to have the power to forgive and retain sins in his name. And I am utterly grateful to Christ for doing so. Something amazing happens in your soul when you confess your sins to the priest as opposed to whispering them at your bed at night. God’s mercy becomes tangible to our senses through the words and prayers of the priest, through his encouragement and advice, and through the penance he assigns. Confession has truly changed my life.
The Eucharist. The Church Fathers have written enough about the Eucharist to fill libraries, as have the theologians throughout the ages, along with bishops, popes, priests, and religious. Hundreds, if not thousands, of miracles have been documented throughout the centuries relating to the Eucharist. But none of these compare to the real, personal, experience one has in the presence of the Eucharist, which is not a piece of bread or a drop of wine, but is a person, Jesus Christ. I honestly don’t know how, as an Evangelical, I was able to ignore the plain meaning of so many Scriptural passages regarding the bread and wine. I love being able to receive Jesus in the fullest reality of his Incarnate existence.
I don’t think a lot about Baptism since it is a one time, never to be repeated thing, but it is another one of those things that boggles my mind. How could I, as an Evangelical, read any passage about Baptism in the Scriptures and twist it into being a simple public testimony of faith, when Scripture refers to it in much more solemn terms? It is our being buried and raised with Christ. It is our being integrated into the ecclesia, the Church. It is for the forgiveness of our sins. It is the starting point of our salvation. It is our washing and regeneration through the Holy Spirit. No Scripture passage speaks of it as being a public testimony to faith at all. Seven years ago today, I received Baptism and was forgiven of every sin I had committed in the first 21 years of my life. It was not me proclaiming what God had done for me, but rather, God proclaiming his power to me to make me into a new man.
One of the things that drew me into the faith, subtly, but no less strongly, was the Catholic teaching on sexuality. I could elaborate more, but I think my blog speaks to that pretty emphatically.
I wish I would have known on the day I entered the Church that even though I thought I knew a lot, I knew practically nothing, and that I should have been more humble. I learned so much in the last seven years, more than I could even imagine possible, and I know that I will learn so much more in the years to come, so that even all that I know today will appear as nothing. That is one of the greatest mysteries of being in love with the infinite God as a finite creature: there are inexhaustible graces and knowledge to be met in Christ.
Before I share the image of mercy for the week, I have to say that it was very hard to write this post (not including the fact that when I finished, wordpress deleted half the post without saving it which had nothing to do with user error) because I cannot condense a love affair with Christ into seven little sound bites. It takes at least an entire blog to do so. I hope that that I make that clear here on my blog, that I am madly in love with Christ because he was first madly in love with me.
Image of mercy: