Catholic passion? What reason do Catholics have to be passionate?
After all, people have been leaving the Catholic faith in droves. Our priests have been hit hard both in accusations and in decreasing membership. We bow our heads and ritualistically recite prayers at Mass; we have no real understanding of the Bible, and we are centered around old-fashioned traditions and superstitions.
Or at least that’s what some would try to have us believe.
And in some ways, I understand some of their words
although not the harshness with which they are often spoken
nor do I completely agree with them,
but understanding and agreeing are very different.
Yesterday, I asked the question, Catholics, Where is Your Passion? and explained that when my husband left, I searched for my faith and found a wonderful non-denominational church. The attraction was immediate. I was pulled in by the flashy, but inviting Kids’ Kingdom, the loud (compared to Catholic choirs!), but uplifting band, and the warm crew that welcomed new comers and old friends alike.
But I was also pulled in by the pastor’s message, which was pertinent and pretty closely in line with my Catholic beliefs.
But that was the thing…
It was pretty closely in line, but it wasn’t 100% in line, and as much as I loved going there occasionally, as much as I have met some amazingly, wonderful people there (some of whom are FAR better Christians than I am most days! Love you especially, L&S, G&E) I still found myself missing my Catholic faith and wanting, needing to bring the passion and joy that I had found at the Christian church back into my Catholic worship.
And it got me thinking of all the amazing reasons we have to passionately celebrate the Catholic Mass. Here are just the beginnings of my list. I’d love you to also share why you are passionate about your faith.
5 Reasons to Celebrate Being Catholic:
- The Apostle’s Creed:
I love that we begin each Mass with a public declaration of our beliefs by reciting the Apostles Creed. We connect to those early apostles and weekly renew our vows. What power is in that weekly affirmation, that public declaration, that stance renewed, that simple summary of our faith:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
(Opening lines to the Apostle’s Creed)
- The Lord’s Prayer:
We recite the Lord’s Prayer, those words given to us by Jesus Christ himself over 2000 years ago during the Sermon on the Mount. I attended a friend’s church and the minister spoke of love, soothing the pain I and others in his congregation were experiencing. I identified with his message, but there was no Lord’s prayer. When I mentioned this to my friend, she shook her head sadly and agreed; then she added that she wondered if her children even knew the Lord’s prayer. That astounded me. And my reaction astounded me. Had I taken the Lord’s Prayer for granted, assuming everyone knew it? What else had I taken for granted in my Catholic faith? How could I recite that prayer more thankfully, more passionately?
- Bible Readings:
Some criticize Catholics for not having Bibles in their pews, for mistakenly thinking Catholic Mass is not Bible based. Maybe Catholics overall could do a better job to study, teach, learn and memorize the Bible (Our Christian brothers and sisters do a great job with this), but the Mass does emphasize the Bible. During every Catholic Mass, whole sections of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels are read. This prevents Catholics from falling prey to soundbite Christianity, where one line is used by the pastor to spin according to his needs or the needs of his congregation. Because many Christian pastors are hired and fired, some pastors may feel pressured to tell their congregation what they want to hear in order to keep their jobs. Catholics can read over the entire section of text before the sermon to help keep priests in line with the week’s teachings.
- The Rituals of the Mass:
While some find the predictability of the Mass ritualistic, there is something to be said for those rituals. Catholics can go to any Mass anywhere in the world and be part of a body of people that understands the Mass. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, Catholics can stand together united in practices and beliefs that have stood the test of time. Mass serves as the antithesis of the Tower of Babel. Where the tower demonstrated the destruction of unity, using language barriers to divide people for promoting their own greatness. Mass demonstrates the unification of people, despite barriers of language, culture, geography, race, or economics to unite people to promote God’s greatness.
- The Eucharist:
More than anything else, it was the Eucharist that I missed while attending those other churches. We CELEBRATE the EUCHARIST. We bow before the Body (and, if we are lucky enough to live in a parish which offers it, the Blood) of Jesus. That is powerful. One Sunday, I attended church on a, “Communion Sunday.” I saw the happiness on the faces of those realizing they would receive Communion that day (not a weekly event. Do we also take the Eucharist for granted sometimes?). I remember partaking of the representation of the Body and the Blood and being thankful to join in with fellow believers, but I also remember feeling a bit saddened for them too. They were so looking forward to Communion but weren’t aware of what they really could have been experiencing through the Eucharist. How do you put the Eucharist into words? How do you explain the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to someone who thinks that’s weird or gross or whatever? Really, I am still struggling with putting the glorious miracle of the Eucharist into words. If anyone has ideas, I’d like to know for next time I’m asked.
In the end, it was the pull of the Eucharist above all else that kept me anchored in my Catholic faith, but there were also so many more reasons that I found to love being Catholic, to want to be a more passionate Catholic, to truly celebrate the beauty of my Catholic faith,
but it’s getting late,
and I have to be up early for work tomorrow,
and I believe that God also wants us to rest once in a while
and I believe God wants me to leave some discussions for other days rather than attempt to cram everything in at once which is my own inclination.
And so on that note, I am going ask you to leave your comments. What makes you passionate about your Catholic faith and why? Have you been to other churches? What did you think? Did you learn something? Like something? Dislike something? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tomorrow, for the start of Lent, I will be posting about Chocolate Slavery – Why I’m Going Cold Turkey, Quitting For Lent and for Life, but I will continue this theme of passionate Catholicism in the next few days. Thanks for joining me.