10) The Catholic faith is true in its entirety. Cultural or cafeteria Catholics (like I was) are missing out on the beauty of the whole tapestry by embracing some aspects of the faith while rejecting others. The Old Testament prophesies are fulfilled in the New Testament. Our religion is compatible with both faith and reason. It all fits together perfectly and makes so much sense if one takes the time to study it.
9) God loves a cheerful giver. When I started to tithe (donating ten percent off the top to the Church or other charities), I was blessed with more resources than ever before. Like so many aspects of our faith, this paradox is an amazing example of the mysterious way God works.
8) It is never too late to come back. God’s mercy can penetrate the hardest hearts. Some of the most inspirational people in Church history like St. Augustine and Thomas Merton were self-described great sinners.
7) More Bible. As an enthusiastic revert, I went to my local bookstore to purchase a Bible to carry with me. Unfortunately it was too small. The Catholic Bible has seven more books including Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Baruch (includes the Letters of Jeremiah), I and II Maccabees, and additions to Daniel and Esther. Until the Reformation, all Christians accepted these beautiful writings as sacred scripture.
6) The rules are for my good. The Ten Commandments and the Church’s rules are actually gifts for our benefit. Like a good father, God establishes boundaries to keep us from hurting ourselves. If we break the rules, he doesn’t love us less. In fact, He goes out of his way to find the stray sheep and to welcome the prodigal son or daughter.
5) Obligation or privilege? The miracle is that we get to go to mass, not that we must go. Much like the commandments, the obligation to go to mass is for us. God loves us so much that he wants to spend time with us. He wants to give himself totally to sinners like me. Christ is fully present in the Eucharist and that is something worth celebrating at least once a week.
4) We always “get something” out of Mass. How often have you heard someone complain that they didn’t get anything out of Mass? God’s grace is present whether we feel it or not; whether we like the homily or the music or not. The same is true for all of the sacraments.
3) We do this every day. Mass is so central to the Catholic faith that it is celebrated every day. Daily Mass is a much simpler and more intimate encounter with the Lord; I encourage you to experience it. If you go to daily and Sunday Mass over the course of three years, you will hear readings from most the Bible proclaiming the whole narrative of salvation history.
2) To die for. . . since 33 AD. Ten of the eleven apostles who were witnesses to the resurrection were persecuted and died violent deaths rather than recant this truth. Who would willingly die for a myth? Clearly, they had absolutely no doubt that Christ had died and risen.
1) Jesus Christ, the Word of God. For some reason, I never realized the Jesus existed as the second person of the Holy Trinity from very beginning, before he was born on earth. John 1:1 states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is present in both the Old and New Testaments. On the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:27, Jesus revealed this. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
I am still learning. There is so much to know. Two thousand years of history means that I can always look forward to discovering more about our amazing faith.
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