Catholic 5 Years Later

This Easter marks my 5th year in the Catholic Church.

Over this time it’s been mentioned to me, or asked of me how could I or why would I join such an old, backward thinking or otherwise exclusive religion, that if you’re not a part of, “you’re out of luck”. One filled with strict nuns, pedophile priests, of people who judge and look down on others. One that is “against science” or “against women”. I happen to be a women who studied biology, so the irony is clear, naturally! Other’s have questioned how I could have joined a Church that uses idols or prays to anyone else but God or Jesus. I also wasn’t aware of just how much hate existed in some people, towards Catholics, before becoming Catholic myself. It was really shocking! So many misconceptions, and I hardly even know where to begin to be honest. I’m not super good on the spot, but I tend to be a decent writer. So here’s my shot at explaining how I came to the decision of becoming Catholic and why I feel it is one of the best decisions I’ve made on my journey of faith.

I grew up quasi-christian. If that doesn’t make sense don’t worry, it didn’t make a ton of sense to me either growing up. To sum it up, there were scattered moments of attending christian churches but mostly it was not a big deal and church was secondary to other events. God was some strange man up in the sky I was supposed to talk to but never really know. It was odd and by second grade I had all but lost interest.  I didn’t start attending church regularly until high school, and even then only with my mother. So I didn’t have a love for organized religion and preferred the small, unconventional community church my mom and I had found. I did have family, growing up, who were very grounded in their faith, grandparents who spend years doing mission work, and were counselors and pastors, and talked of their faith in Christ. An aunt and uncle who were very involved in their church as pastors as well, and through their example in actions explained their love of God. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for their influence in my life and the impact it had on my relationship with God.

Fast forward to college, where 4 years after being baptized in that community church, I left it searching for a place that could educate me in my faith not simply encourage me to read the bible and feel things. I was looking for something deeper, more rooted but also welcoming. Catholicism never even crossed my mind. Probably had something to do with the fact that I had practically no exposure to it until I was in college.

Fortunately for me God had a plan, and Joe, my now husband, was an integral part of that plan. He came in and swept me of my feet, but that was all in my head at the time, he was much more focused on another girl when we first met! Anyway, as fate would have it, Joe finally did notice, and ask me out, leading to a briefly difficult but eventually fruitful relationship. That relationship was my gateway to Catholicism and all it holds.

So why did I become Catholic? Joe certainly never pushed that on me, and in fact I didn’t become Catholic for nearly another 2 years after we were married. I became Catholic because of the facts, because of the reasoning of the Catholic church, how science friendly it actually is and women friendly for that matter.

I like that the Catholic church is a thinking church. Not to say others are not but to me, it is more so than others. Encouraging it’s members to be aware not only of the bible but the traditions of the church which inform them. The church is also social justice based, meaning it is based on the rights that flow from and, as well as safeguarding, human dignity. I liked that a lot, seeing as being christian means letting go of bias and loving another despite, anything, really.

I became Catholic because of the tools one becomes equipped with, such as the Hail Mary, adoration of the Eucharist, confession (which is really going and expressing your failures aka sins, and humbling yourself before God aka doing better next time), the rosary, mass, and a whole slew of other things I’m just starting to understand. This tool box of spiritual assistance leads to growth if accessed regularly, and growth leads to me being a better person, learning more, recognizing my shortcomings and trying to do better. Any church that encourages that and offers the tools to make it happen is good in my book.

Finally, I became Catholic because I like a church that is both human and divine and right now especially that human ability to fail is being expressly felt. A church that is human has compassion for my humanness, it can accept me as I am and journey with me. This is a church on pilgrimage, it is journeying  just as I am. A quote from the catechism  the church is “zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.”

In other words, not perfect yet but trying, and striving. I can get on board with that.

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2 thoughts on “Catholic 5 Years Later

  1. The Church is made up of human beings, and so of course it is flawed in some ways, due to human error, not of Jesus, not of God. I am a “cradle Catholic” and was exposed to the mean nuns and all the rest, but I love the rituals and “tools” (as you put it) of the Catholic faith, and I do believe it is the original Church founded by Christ. Yes, there are many misconceptions out there, and part of it is due to the ignorance of people, the unwillingness for people of one faith/denomination to try to understand and learn about other faiths/denominations, and part of it is due to miscommunication and mistakes of the Church itself.

    We are all striving to find our path to God. We all need to be tolerant of one another’s beliefs, as long as those beliefs do not hurt anyone. Ignorance is dangerous. Every religion has its problems, because we are human and thus imperfect. I am glad you have found solace in the Catholic Church. It is where I feel most at home, too, despite its problems.

    1. I am so sorry to hear you experienced the very human side of the Catholic church. Even as a “new” Catholic I’ve caught glimpses of the dysfunction, which I agree, exists in any religion. People will be people. I agree with a lot of what you have to say about people choosing to educate themselves, and not remain ignorant or intolerant. This is definitely a journey and I’m glad to have found a faith and Church willing to equip me for the ride! Thanks for your comment!!

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