“Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we work together for your joy, for you stand firm in the faith.”
Every morning I wake up and since the day of my Confirmation (and even before that) I say yes to the Church. I say yes to her teachings, her priests, her traditions, her celebrations. I choose the Catholic Church every day and I gladly live as the Church Militant on Earth. I choose to follow the successor of Peter and fully engage in the Catholic faith.
But why? Do I think that our Protestant, our Christian, brothers and sister are lunatics? That without the sacraments they are damned to burn in Hell. Do I think God turns an deaf ear on their prayers? Maybe I think that their baptisms are less valid? Or perhaps I’m imaging that their understanding of salvation is corrupt and too easy.
In fact, after recent conversations I’ve been having with Protestant friends, converts to Catholicism and others striving for a deeper understanding I’ve learned that they’re right. Yep! I said it. I agree (so far) with the concepts and ideas of Non-catholic Christians and I think they’re TRUE.
So why Catholicism? Initially, my parents chose this way of life for me in the sacrament of Baptism. But now I’ve chosen it as my own. I choose it because it is complete. Our fellow Christians are right when they say that God speaks and guides us in through His word. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). They are also right to say that only by God’s grace will we enter Heaven. For by grace we have been saved, through faith– and this is not from ourselves but is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). They’re right!
However, the Catholic faith goes the extra mile in our practice of these things. If my protestant friends say they read the Bible nearly literally I remind them that Christ called us to “Do in memory of Him” and that’s what the sacraments are! We are acting as He desired of us!
When they say by faith alone I remind them that faith is more than just their belief that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Faith is commonly illustrated by moving mountains. A powerful tremendous act! Faith itself is an action. God has placed faith within our hearts but by his grace, we act upon in. Anytime the Bible discusses someones faith (Hebrews 11) it’s because of the acts they did through it.
There’s so many other times when Christians have the right ideas and then through 2,000 years of tradition that began with what Christ taught us the Catholic Church fleshes these ideas out and completes them. In the Church, in my universal community my faith is made complete and made whole.
Catholicism is so fulfilling and challenging and enriching. I trust my Church. Other practices just seem to fall short or they just haven’t fully grasped everything that IS. They aren’t wrong, not at all! As Christians we should work together to complete our joy. Together we stand firm in the faith. We all share in the foundation of our faiths which is the Word of God and the ministry of Jesus Christ the Messiah on Earth.
Let us continue to pray for Christian Unity that we might all share in wisdom from God and the knowledge of eternal life. (1 John 5:20).