People often ask us about our Catholic faith. They think we are "die-hard." They wonder why we love it so. The wonder how we manage to "fit in" Mass and prayers and confessions. And, they wonder what makes us believe...

First of all, if you are seeking, wondering, questioning, I urge you to look at the Catholic Church. While the humans who make up the Church are imperfect, the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded and is nothing less than perfect.

Here are some links that might help:
If you were raised Catholic, but aren't sure about the Catholic Church: Catholics Come Home
If you are not Catholic, but interested in learning more: Catholic Conversion Stories
For some of the smells and bells, not to mention the substance of Catholicism: "Catholicism" preview . (Full "Catholicism" video series can be ordered here.)
And, if you want to read about Catholicism and learn more, here are some good ones:

My friend, Kim, wrote this post some time ago regarding her love for our mutual Faith. I couldn't say it any better myself, so I post it here for your enjoyment. Check out her top ten reasons for loving her faith. I heartily concur.

NOVEMBER 5, 2010

Ten Reasons Why I Love My Catholic Faith

You may know that I'm a convert to the Catholic Church. I joined the Church in Chicago at Easter 1996, after almost 30 years of happy Presbyterianism. The more I learn and understand about the beautiful Catholic faith, the more I love it. Here are some of my faves:

10) The Liturgical Calendar. The beautiful Church year, with a full-fledged observation of Advent and Lent as well as such events as Jesus' conception at the Annunciation, Epiphany, Mary's birthday, Pentecost, Jesus' Ascension, and so many more beautiful feast days and solemnities. The party never ends!

9) Holy Week and Easter. Next April, come and see for yourself, if you've never attended all the Holy Week liturgies. It is SO COOL. Palm Sunday, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist/Last Supper on Thursday, the solemn observation of Jesus' crucifixion on Friday afternoon, the quiet, dark church in the meantime, and then the glory of the Easter Vigil, which celebrates our entire salvation history in an amazing liturgy that fills all the senses. Did I mention that it is SO cool?

8) I can more fully appreciate Renaissance Art and Architecture. Can I ever--practically all of the significant art and architecture for the first 1500 years of Christianity, and lots more from the following 500 years, was created and/or inspired by or for the Church. I can't wait to go back to Europe, now that I'm Catholic! (Maybe someday?)

7) Marian Theology. Really. Believe me, all those statues and pictures of Mary used to make me a little nervous, I promise. But once I began to understand the Church's teachings about Mary's significance within God's plan of salvation history (hint: Catholics don't worship her), I was blown away. Amazing! Here's a summary, much better than I could ever write up.

6) Sacramental Confession. Yes, you read that right. Before I was Catholic, the idea of Confession just seemed ridiculous to me. Why would I want to tell my sins to another person? I could just as easily, you know, pray, and confess 'em directly to God. But you know what? I didn't. Because doing that would obviously involve admitting that I really had sins, which would require figuring out what my sins actually were. And moi, a sinner? Surely not--really--right?

But going to the actual Sacrament of Confession requires me to really think it out. I have a structured Examination of Conscience to use as a sort of checklist. When I talk to the priest, it's not so much like actually telling another person my sins as it is like telling them to God--out loud. Then when he tells me my sins are forgiven, I can feel that they really are. It's pretty awesome--addictive, even. :)

5) Keeping the "Logic" in my Theology. So far, I haven't come across a theological question that Catholic teaching hasn't satisfied for me. Saint Peter as the keeper of the kingdom on earth? Check. How to reconcile Creation and Evolution? Check. The Church's teaching on love and marriage? Check.

When I was Protestant, I always struggled with this idea that once I "accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior," my salvation was a done deal. How could that be? It didn't make sense. That's not, it turns out, something I have to believe as a Catholic. As St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, we must "work out our salvation with fear and trembling." Of course, to do this, we have to love Christ, but that's not the end of it.

4) Sacred Scripture is precious. And Catholic Mass is full, full, full of it. Catholics totally believe that the Bible is God's holy and divinely inspired word. But again--that's not the end of it. You see, when I subscribed to a sola scriptura viewpoint, the Bible seemed to me to be almost a magical book. Got a problem or question? Just pray, open the book, and surely something suitable would come to me from within. I was forever trying to figure out which verses to take literally (Obey my husband? Really?), and which had been replaced by newer Scripture (Levitican dietary laws, anyone?).

As a Catholic, I don't have to try to wring all the meaning from Scripture, all by myself. I don't have the gift of infallibility, after all (whew!). I get to draw upon two centuries of Christian scholarship to help me understand how it all fits together. Sure, it's God's word; it's just not up to me to interpret it--solo. I think that makes a lot of sense.

3) Other religions are not all wrong. And non-Catholics are not necessarily going to hell. I like getting to believe that a spark of God's truth can be found in various other faith traditions, so that there truly can be a point of commonality from which to start discussions about faith. I must be clear that I do not believe that other faiths are equally true--now that would be a distortion of the word "truth," would it not--and I'm (obviously) convinced that the fullness of the faith is in Catholicism. But I don't have to go around judging other people's souls, based on their demographics. That, of course, is certainly above my pay grade.

2) I get to be a part of the Church that Jesus started. So many beautiful things in Catholic theology and liturgy date from the earliest years of the Church. Learning about history with the kids has given me such an appreciation of the Church's role in the advancement of western civilization. It's so amazing that the succession of the papacy can be traced from Benedict XVI all the way back to St. Peter. And once some people started breaking away from the Church and still called themselves Christian (which, of course, they are), who's to say that one group (say, Lutherans) happened to hit upon the truth more than another (e.g., Mormons)? Does it make sense for people to just up and start their own church whenever they feel like it? As I mentioned in #4, the divine gift of infallibility was given only to the apostles, and even for them only in certain circumstances. I'll stay off that slippery slope, thanks.

1) Most of all, of course, the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist within the beautiful, amazing Sacrifice of Holy Mass. Because, you know, no matter how much you analyze and apologize and intellectualize Christianity, what it's really about is Love. It's a relationship--in which we respond to our Creator's infinite and unimaginable love for us. It is literally beyond the ability of human intellect to truly understand how the Creator of the Universe could and would actually step into time to become one of His own creatures. Not only did he do this, but, subsequent to the days His human feet walked on Earth, He left us with a means of communing with Him on a continual basis for all time. "Do this in memory of Me," He said. And they did, and we still can. Who could have ever imagined that the real, live, Creator of the universe would love us enough to connect us to Himself in such an intimate way? All I can say about that is, well...Alleluia!