I’ve seen the call-out, the challenge, to many prominent web-based Catholics to explain why they remain Catholic spread across the Internet today. Thanks to the lovely and intelligent Elizabeth Scalia for challenging the Catholic online world to this exercise. So as a borderline-millennial (born in 1983, so I can be grouped sometimes into Gen X & sometimes into Gen Y), I feel the need to chime in with my 2 c.
As I watch most of my peers stop going to church, move in with significant others before marriage, and do generally everything that used to be frowned upon morally, I have remained in the faith. Mostly. I can’t say I haven’t been tempted to leave because it certainly would be easier. I’d probably fit in better with my peers. Heck, I might even be married.
But all that isn’t worth giving up the Catholic faith. Don’t get me wrong. My thoughts are sometimes to the contrary when in low moments of doubt and lack of faith. But I’m trying. Faith isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
I was catechized as a young age. The Holy Spirit caught fire in my heart at the tender age of 15 when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I went onto to college and studied theology alongside communications. Now I use my knowledge to attempt to (hopefully) spread the Good Word using new media.
The Church speaks to me. Deeply. Even when I try to push Her away. My favorite things about the Church also end up being the biggest challenges for me to do consistently:
– Confession — I need this Sacrament so much. All the time. Sin is a real thing and clouds your mind. Confession heals. Jesus is merciful.
– The Mass — Jesus is present in the Eucharist. The Word is delivered each time. We can pray and enter in with the Communion of Saints at every Mass. We are unified globally with our brothers and sisters every day because of the Mass.
– History — I’ve been blessed to visit Rome, Greece & Turkey on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul. I’ve breathed, walked and eaten where the New Testament was written and set. Irrefutable to see all this in person, to experience what Mary, St. Peter, St. Paul and the early apostles did. That trip changed my faith life.
– Community — Many fallen away Catholics would disagree on this one, but there is nothing like finding out someone else is or was Catholic. It’s like finding out someone went to your same high school or college. It sparks a conversation and provides a unifying point. Whether the person practices or not, they still identify with being Catholic in some way. You cannot escape the seeds that were planted.
It’s Jesus, the Sacraments and the people that make this whole thing great. Oh and Mary and Joseph and the priests and beer-brewing monks and Rome and St. Paul and the Bible and … the list goes on.
The Catholic Church is the best way to fully encounter Jesus, particularly in the Eucharist. I’ve felt, seen and been loved by God the Father and the Holy Spirit. How could one leave after that’s happened?