Why I became Catholic
Faith and the Eucharist
Boy, is that a loaded question! It is not easy, yet it is simple. My Father in heaven has brought me to this beautiful place, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Where the history is deep and the presence of Jesus is real. Am I saying that Jesus is not present where non-Catholic believers meet? No. Jesus, himself tells us that if where two or more are gathered in my name there I am also. So… is there a difference in this Roman Catholic Church and other houses of God where Jesus Christ is worshiped as the Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of the world and was buried and three days later rose again and walked on this earth with his friends? Writing this is hard, but I have to say that it has been on my heart. Sometimes I wonder, does God want me to be a writer? I doubt it because I am not near humble enough to do such a thing. To many times I look back on something I have written and feel a sense of pride. I pray that I might be able to turn that pride into thanksgiving for the gifts God has given me, and if that is a gift through writing may I be humble enough to accept it and give glory to God for it. Thanksgiving, the English meaning of the Greek word for Eucharist, what does all that mean anyway? The Eucharist is the gifts of bread and wine, which we as the body of Christ offer God. By the power of the Holy Spirit these gifts of simple bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus by the priest. The body of Christ (community) then receives the body of Christ (Eucharist) and comes into full communion with Christ. By partaking of the Eucharist the
God is brought together in unity with one another from each corner of the world to the glory in heaven that was experienced by
St. John in the Revelation. The Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world, has been held up for all to see and believe and be healed of all sin. In short, Jesus Christ brings us together. Believing that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist was hard for me. I am one of those guys who doesn’t believe in the miraculous very easily. That is how I was brought up, and changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus certainly has to rank in the miracle category. Well, as I have gotten older in this journey called life (very old according to my kids), God has shown me that he is in heaven and can do as he pleases. God has done miracles in my life. I have come from a drunken, lustful selfish life. (All the love I had was for myself.) God has changed me and given me the love of Jesus, a love that cannot be explained. Forgive me if I sound like I have arrived. I am very far from the place that our Father has prepared for me. I guess what I am trying to say is that God’s greatest miracles are when he transforms people from selfish to selfless. Caution! This is not something I can do, but only God does by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the power of love can transform selfish into selfless, and it does not come without pain and suffering. Be encouraged! God gives us the strength we need at the times we need it. As Jesus tells us “Be not afraid,” go to him often for the strength and courage to die to self. How did I come to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? God has given me the faith by the power of his Holy Spirit. Faith is not easy, but it is simple.
The Deep Waters of History
Every since I can remember, I have loved history. I can remember being angry and pouting when Mom and Dad told me it was time to leave a Civil War museum we were touring. I love to read all about everything when I go to a museum (this taxes Teague greatly.) The Catholic Church is just one great big museum. I just love to read about the history of God’s people. Sacred Scripture is a great source of this history and at one time I was convinced that all the history I needed to know was there. When God started changing me, I also began to see how God has continued to work in people’s lives throughout history. The Catholic Church has the richest history of people that have said yes to God and surrendered themselves completely to him. How encouraging it has been for me to read of followers of God such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Solomon, Mary, Peter, Thomas, Paul, and John in the Holy Scripture. The witness of such great people of God does not stop there. God has blessed us with many more examples and witnesses of faith. God has continued to reveal his greatness throughout the history of mankind. Great men and women of faith have continued in the footsteps of the great heroes of the Bible. From Polycarp to Mother Teresa, the Church is full of men and women that God has changed from selfish to selfless. These many saints are gifts from God for their lives have encouraged me greatly. They are not any more or less special than you or I, but the work that God has done in them is indeed the great work of love.
Does all this explain the question why I am Catholic? I can say with certainty it doesn’t. There are to many reasons, and much I just find unable to put into words. Common sense, that is a phrase that Ryan uses very often to explain why he knows something and cannot explain why, is the easiest way for me to put into words why I became Catholic. The more I investigated why Catholics do what they do the more sense it all made. There is so much sense to all of the Sacraments and the Grace God gives us through them. There is so much sense to why the Church does everything it does.