Recently, a friend and I exchanged a handful of emails, in which I attempted to answer many of her questions about Catholicism. She wrote back saying, “Thanks to you, I feel I have the best understanding I’ve ever had about Catholicism and to be honest, I agree with a lot of it. I think where I struggle is the ‘why’ behind it all”. Basically she was asking why we need Catholicism to help us be good people and do the right thing. Isn’t being a good person and doing the right thing enough? The question got me thinking about why I believe Catholicism is the best way to live, why I love it more than life itself, and how I could begin to attempt to answer the biggest question of all … the ‘why’ question.
Why be Catholic? Because of Jesus. His Sacred Heart. His Mother, Mary, and her Immaculate Heart. Christmas … the Mass of Christ. Advent. Advent candles. Advent wreaths. The First Noel. O Come, O Come Emanuel. Away in a Manger. Silent Night. O Holy Night. O Come All Ye Faithful. What Child is This? Angels we Have Heard on High. The Nativity. The manger. The infant Jesus. Divine and human. His suffering. His Cross. My Cross.
Why be Catholic? Because of Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy Chaplet. The Year of Mercy. The Holy Doors of Mercy. The Spiritual Works of Mercy … ·instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish Sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead. The Corporal Works of Mercy … feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead.
Why be Catholic? Because of Rome. The Vatican. St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basilica of St. John Lateran. Scala Sancta. Pope Francis. Saint Pope John Paul II. Pope Emeritus Bendict XVI. Peter, the first Pope. “I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Heaven. The Communion of Saints. Angels. The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit … charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit … wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, awe of the Lord.
Why be Catholic? Because of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Francis de Sales, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio, Saint Gianna Molla, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Dominic, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The Early Church Fathers. St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas More. Theologians. Modern authors and leaders. Matthew Kelly. Scott Hahn. Jason and Crystalina Evert. Immaculee Ilibagiza. Jennifer Fulwiler. Blessed Is She writers. Dynamic Catholic. Truth, beauty, and goodness.
Why be Catholic? The Mass. The Eucharist. The Word. Liturgy. Tradition. Candles. Chrism oil. Incense. Sacraments. Baptism. First Eucharist. Reconciliation. Marriage. Holy Orders. Anointing of the Sick. Sacramentals. Last Rites. Theology of the Body. Priests. Deacons. Sisters. Brothers. The Trappist Monks. The Carmelite Nuns. Monasteries. Abbeys. The Franciscans. The Jesuits. The Benedictines. The Dominicans. Catholic schools. Catholic parishes. Dioceses and Archdioceses. Bishops and cardinals. Lay men and women. Religious education. The Commandments – don’t kill, steal, cheat, lie, honor your parents, worship only God, spend Sunday with the Lord. The Golden Rule.
Why be Catholic? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and his eight Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The six new Beatitudes proposed by Pope Francis: Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
Why be Catholic? Holy indifference. Detachment. Redemptive suffering. History. Tradition. Faith and works. The twelve disciples and all the apostles. The cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and courage. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. The Gospels. The Acts of the Apostles. The Epistles of Saint Paul. Psalms. Proverbs. The conversion of Saul. All conversion stories. All holy men and women. The music, art, cathedrals, basilicas, churches, and chapels. Lourdes, Fatima, Our Lady of Peace, The Grotto -The Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother. The Pieta. The Sistine Chapel. Forgiveness. The prodigal son. The good Samaritan. The woman at the well.
These are just a few of the reasons why I love Catholicism. Why I believe it is the best way to live. Why it helps me take ‘being a good person’ to the next level. Why it helps me seek the highest good and the greatest love possible.
Because beyond why I love Catholicism, is why I need Catholicism. Perhaps there are a few people out there who can fully live the life of Christian principles without Christ and His grace and divine assistance but one of the few things I know with certainty, is that I am not one of them.
What’s your ‘why’?