I am a cradle Catholic, meaning I was born, baptized, and raised in the Catholic Church. But, like most cradle Catholics, when I got out on my own and attended college, I fell away from my Catholic Faith.
I believed in God, but was not sufficiently catechized to hold firm against the mentality of young college students – the idea that one can have faith, but didn’t need religion. And, perhaps more persuasive, the notion we can celebrate God everywhere, and don’t need a church.
Furthermore, because I believed in God, and at the time didn’t know enough of my own Catholic Faith, I found myself pulled into the churches which had upbeat music, no incense, and whose pastors seemed to be highly energetic and passionate about their sermons and ministering to their flock. I enjoyed myself in those churches; they were vibrant, charismatic, enthusiastic, and offered me an opportunity to be passionate about God. They were all things I felt was missing from all the Catholic churches I had attended.
As the first year slipped into the second year of my undergraduate degree, I began to feel that something was missing for me when attending these other churches. But, as I continued to attend this church or that, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was different. So, one Sunday afternoon, I trudged to the Newman Center on campus for the 3:00 PM Mass. Walking in, I felt uneasy, not entirely sure what I was doing attending another Catholic Mass.
Much to my surprise, as Mass began, and I began to hear the words familiar to me from childhood, I began to relax, and feel comforted.
It would take me another four years to begin trying to determine why I felt a pull toward Catholicism. During that time, I was briefly engaged to someone who, while nondenominational, had strong Baptist leanings. His family would grill me on my Catholic Faith, and I still had very little understanding of how to defend my Faith. I just felt there was something more to it.
After our engagement ended, I began asking myself why I was Catholic. And, decided if I was truly going to be Catholic, I needed to know what makes me Catholic. While I didn’t fully learn the depth of the Catholic Faith until after my son was born, I did figure out long before then what had been missing from my college days.
What I missed, and subsequently began treasuring the more I dove into the depths of Catholicism, was the Eucharist.
I firmly, wholeheartedly believe the words spoken in John 6:51-58, that Jesus is “the living bread that came down from heaven… Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink…”
Even the Gospel of John acknowledges many who heard Jesus’ words found them difficult to understand. Some disciples, even as late as the Last Supper, walked away from Him when they heard his words. It was uncomfortable to hear then, and it is uncomfortable for some people still today.
Yet, I have been given the faith to believe that what happens in the Mass is truly miraculous. I have been given the faith in the belief of the Body and Blood of Jesus.
I believe that every Mass I attend, I am given the gift of participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – I am given the gift of receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity every. single. time!
As our chaplain said this past Sunday – what separates Christians from other faiths is the belief in the Holy Trinity. That God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate entities… in One!
What separates Catholics from other Christian denominations is
the Eucharist is not a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice,
it is not a sign of Jesus’ sacrifice.
It IS Jesus’ sacrifice!
St. Maximilian Kolbe is credited with saying,
I believe the Catholic Church, and her priests, were granted Apostolic Authority – meaning, authority passed down from Jesus, to the apostles surrounding Him at the Last Supper, giving them the ability to change the bread and wine on the altar into Jesus’ Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Every single time I celebrate Mass, I am able to receive Jesus. I am able to mimic the disciples who truly believed. And, that is something I can’t get by celebrating God’s beauty and creation out of doors. It’s not something I can get by attending any other church or denomination.
The Eucharist brings peace to my soul, and brings me the closest to Jesus I am able to get, until I meet Him as my Merciful Advocate, praying He advocates for me to our Merciful God.
And, that is Why I Love My Catholic Faith.
This post is written as part of the monthly Catholic Women Bloggers Network (CWBN) Blog Hop. Hosted over at Reconciled to You, each month, many Catholic women bloggers tackle one subject – this month’s being “Why [We] Love [Our] Catholic Faith.” To read other women’s insight as to why they love their Catholic faith, click on the image above and check out some other fantastic writers. As with any faith and religion, we all have our own stories and reasons why we choose our Faith – or, why we answer our Faith’s call, when it is received. So, I encourage you to read some more awesome, faith-filled women, as they explain why they love their Catholic Faith!