My parish is encouraging all of its parishioners to read Rediscover Catholicism (as I know many churches are now). Since I am a peer minister with my parish I figured I should take part in this initiative, even though I’m in the middle of a couple of spiritual books right now. Anyway, there is one passage in Chapter 4 that really stood out to me. This chapter is about the ways in which people try to find identity and there is a section about Catholicism being a lifestyle and one paragraph just reminded me so much of my personal journey:
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; It has been found difficult and not tried.” This is particularly true of Catholicism. Of all the many people I know who have rejected Catholicism, or who are critical of it, I do not know a single person who has truly explored and embraced the Catholic lifestyle. If you humbly [emphasis in text] open your heart, mind, and soul to the genius of Catholicism, you will not find it wanting.
–Rediscover Catholicism, p.52
Before I made a decision to consider Catholicism, I fully rejected it. The few teachings I knew of made no sense to me. They seemed ridiculous so I rejected all of Catholicism, just as my friends at my old church did. Even when I first started to learn more and seriously consider what the Church teaches, I was apprehensive. There were times when I wanted nothing more than to turn around and go back to my old church. But I had heard God’s call and I humbly opened my heart. I searched for answers without assuming that the Church was going to be wrong. I gave her a chance to speak for herself for once and as soon as I realized that Catholicism isn’t “just another religion”, it’s a unique lifestyle based on the life and teachings of Jesus, I could not turn away. I was new and had a lot to learn, but I could see now that it was worth it. And after I was confirmed and started to surround myself with students striving to live this lifestyle, it sank in even further. And now Catholicism is the only thing that makes sense to me. It’s only been about a year and a half since I officially decided to become Catholic, (not even a year since I was confirmed) but I already feel like I’ve always been Catholic. I can hardly remember my time in any other type of church. That is how transforming the Catholic way of life is. It is a life of prayer and thanksgiving, faith and community, love and sharing, and so much more. It is a rich way of life. It is the way that Jesus calls us to live. And I thank God everyday that I answered that call with a yes.