I have been thinking lately about what it means to be Catholic.
It is not primarily about membership but of heart; not of church buildings but of actions; not of organization but of obedience. One can be Catholic technically, but not in practice, to one degree or another. In fact, one can be other than Catholic yet lead a faith driven life more consistent with Catholic beliefs than some who are Catholic.
I am not concluding from these observations that it is therefore unimportant to embrace our faith. However being Catholic in name, of itself, does not lead to salvation any more than not being Catholic prohibits it.
Being Catholic is a tremendous opportunity and great gift to participate most fully in the Church founded by our Lord and Savior. That opportunity includes Christian truth passed to us by Sacred Tradition and Holy Scripture, interpreted and taught by a Magisterium protected by the Holy Spirit. That gift also includes the sacraments, administered by those with authority from Jesus flowing all the way from the Apostles. Church teachings gives us reliable catechesis and we receive blessings and graces through the sacraments.
We are free to turn away from God and his Church, fully or in part. Nothing pleases Satan more. Satan has a window of opportunity – our mortal life – to pervert us. He succeeds not only when we sin, but when we question and seriously doubt our faith, or when we create personal theologies — Catholic but… There is a long list of of exclusions some have embraced, to Satan’s delight, such as ignoring holy days of obligation, contraception, premarital sex, remarriage, homosexual acts, misguided “causes” such as women priests, non-Christian beliefs such as relativism, and even abortion.
To Satan’s dismay, most Catholics remain faithful. They study, pray and seek guidance when they have doubts. They work to live free of sin, but when they fail they truly repent and seek absolution through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Their faith is the Catholic faith without personal modifications. I believe faithful Catholics share in blessings of peace, joy and happiness that elude – and will always elude – those in prideful arrogance who follow their own hard heart.
Satan is not satisfied to just tempt individuals. He is determined and thinks big! Through his efforts our human failings are wildly exaggerated in the press (so called mainstream media). We are mocked. Myths are spread. Some are led by apostasy to schism and heresy. Being Catholic means we are steadfast none-the-less, now and forever. We have complete confidence in Jesus’ promise that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail.”
If you are seeking the fullness of the Christian faith, learn more about Catholicism. We are Satan’s number one target for good reason. If you are a lapsed Catholic, come home! The answers you seek are, and always were, right here. Time in our mortal lives is running out.
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.”
View more thoughtful, heartfelt testimonials at Catholics Come Home .org.