If you are a Catholic Christian you will want to read this article. Catholic Christians are very often the subject of rumor mongering with regards what it is we believe. This could be because a Catholic is not really much for talking about what they believe. Why is this? Simply put: the Catholic faithful understands that faith must be, according to the the words of St. Francis of Assisi, ‘preached through actions’ rather than human words! Words alone will only serve to attach futility to what is of natural spirit generated humility.
When our good Lord, God’s only son, came down-to-earth in flesh He came with the intent to form a community of unity that is One, Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic. He walked amongst all and showed what had to be done to enter into this divine union. There was no need to parade one’s phylactery, a small leather box worn around the head of Jewish men of the temple in Jesus' day, that reminded them to keep the law. He never mentioned 'bible thumping' of chapter and verse while standing upon self-made ‘soap boxes,’ and no need to speak of one's 'personal relationship' with the Savior to anyone. Nothing required but to act on faith of what He, who was God incarnate, created. A Way to live 'wholly' with Him and out of 'the world' where that devil roamed seeking whom to devour.
The intention of the walk of Jesus, the Christ — the Savior of souls — was that of creating a community that was both human and Divine in nature that goes back to the beginning days of a girl named Mary, a man named Peter who Jesus declared the ‘rock’ upon which His church would be built, and a continuity of one faith emanating from the work of his original 12 Apostles,whom he sent out to teach the traditions of faith that brings His graced Spirit to all.
Words alone are indeed futile to explain to those who are on the outside and looking in what a good Catholic understands by faith and grace. The quiet nature of Catholics does not mean Catholics are apathetic when others speak false ideas about who we are. I’m sure all who are reading have heard the commonly held misinterpretations of Catholicism: ‘Catholics worship Mary.’ ‘Catholics pray to statues.’ ‘Catholics try to earn their way to heaven.’ Most recently I have heard: ‘Catholics are not Christians.’ To attempt to defend or explain our faith will meet with the frustration of our mere words being shut down by those who ‘know not’ what they say or do.
To keep the focus on what our mission of faith is on earth and avoid quarrels and arguments comes down to four simple words.
YE-S-S-S! – Sanctified, Serving, Sacrificial.
Catholics live the Divine life of Christ, God’s only son, when in understanding of these four words. The yes said with enthusiasm to any call we hear from God to serve others reminds of Mary, the new Eve, that first said YE-S-S-S and became an integral part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world when He could come to earth ‘in flesh’ and by name: Jesus: the second Adam, the Savior, the Christ, the Messiah for God’s chosen people. With His life now part of our life, via baptism in the blessed waters He went into, we begin the ‘process’ of being sanctified (made holy) and are able to then go and serve others. The good we are able to do ‘through Him’ is then ‘offered up’ at altar. (no need for doves, goats, or lambs as was done in the days Jesus walked this earth) We, in the offering up of the good we do, at the Holy Sacrifice of Mass, are now ‘wholly’ participants of that ONE Supreme and eternal sacrifice that goes on until all are brought under the same fullness of God’s graced presence as was Mary. One Holy Family and sinless by reason of the graced presence of God’s only begotten son. One Holy Body of Him.
Don’t try to explain to those on the outside but just keep in mind these four words of why you are a Catholic: YE-S-S-S! – Sanctified, Serving, Sacrificial!
In future articles I will be elaborating on each of the three S's ... Sanctification, Serving, and Sacrificial.