Dear Friends in Christ:
Have you ever questioned what your Catholic Faith means to you? During this time of fear and uncertainty, we are all being asked that very question in one way or another. What does being Catholic offer us? How does it enhance our lives? What are we willing to do to live our Catholic Faith?
In the last couple of months, I have had two very good friends die. One friend died very unexpectedly and the other died after a long and full life. One was a husband and father and the other was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and widow. I miss them both and am so grateful that I was privileged to call them my friends. In very different ways, they were both very “solid to the core” Catholics. It was ingrained in them. It was in their bone marrow! They weren’t perfect little plastic statues, but they were good, really good, human beings who loved their families and lived their Catholic faith. As I mourn their deaths, I also take consolation that they now have the reward for which they longed and believed. They are rewarded with seeing the God they loved and served in this life as spouses, parents and friends. As I see their families and friends miss them so much, I am comforted that they will one day be together again! As death often does, it makes us look at life. I can see in my two friends, lives that were well lived. I also see that what gave their lives so much meaning was in no small part their Catholic faith! Their faith was not ornamentation or decoration, it was truly part of their very being. Their faith was not “showy” but it was not hidden either. To know them was to know that they were Catholic and that the practice of their Catholic faith was a part of them and meant a lot to them. Knowing them and enjoying their friendship made me want to be a better Catholic!
My friends helped me realize anew that our Catholic faith gives meaning to our lives. It shows that this life has a real purpose and that in big and small ways, we can encounter God and that He has a plan for us. Being Catholic shows us that we are not just the result of a random act of the universe. Being Catholic is more than just believing in God or knowing about Jesus. It is more than just being a nice person! Being Catholic and actively living the Catholic Faith is being able to pull back the curtain and seeing the majesty and wonder of God’s plan for the universe and all creation and for all eternity. It is being able to see that I have a role, however small, and that my participation and my life matters. Being Catholic allows me to experience God’s love in such a powerful way in the sacraments. Being Catholic allows me to know in every cell of my body that no matter what horrors the world throws at us, God is victorious. In a cosmos of chaos, God is truth and reason. In a world of darkness, Jesus is light. In times of pain, faith offers solace, comfort and healing. In an age of uncertainty, God gives surety and hope. In a world of hate and division, Jesus and His Church offer love and reconciliation.
Why am I a Catholic? I can’t imagine not being Catholic. The Catholic Faith offers eternal life in the next world and a loving relationship with God in this world. In the sacraments, I am given life, strength, joy, nourishment, healing, forgiveness, grace and love. In the Catholic Church, I am given the sacraments of grace and a family of faith. Through the Catholic Church, Jesus gives me Mary as my mother and the saints as brothers and sisters, friends, role models and helpers. The Church is a family of saints who were once sinners and sinners who want to become saints! I am given a way to live my life and a direction for my life. I am Catholic because there is nothing that any other life in this world can offer me that is more or better. Being Catholic and living the Catholic Faith offers meaning and fulfillment beyond what I can describe or exhaust. Being Catholic means that I can encounter Jesus in a unique and wonderful way every time I come to Mass. Being a Catholic gives me Jesus in His Body and Blood in the Eucharist! Why are you Catholic?
In pace Christi,