I believe that my stay in the Church is on account of the gift of faith granted to me by God. In my student days I had my disbelief and confusion. Those days I spent time to read the Bible, and many other books. Slowly the turbulence died down and my mind was firm that Jesus is true, without a blemish and He would not cheat.
Jesus told his disciples â€œNo one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws himâ€ (Mat. 6:44). There may be many ways God chooses for the individuals. It may be very difficult to understand the theory, but if we believe Him we have to believe the word of Jesus. God loves us and He wants to perpetuate His love through His promises and His Word.
The promise of the Holy Spirit
The greatest gift that God has given the Church was the Pentecost day. Jesus ascended into heaven after forty days of his resurrection. He and the Father sent the gift of Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary when they were praying in the upper room where Jesus had celebrated the last Supper. They heard a great wind and the Holy Spirit descended on them in the form of flames of fire.
They who were afraid of everything were filled with courage given by the Holy Spirit. Also the Holy Spirit helped them to remember all what Jesus told them and to understand its deeper meaning and guided them in what they were to say and do. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would always guide and protect the Church until the end of time.
Jesus also gave the gift of leadership. One day when He was with his disciples, He asked them who people said He was. They answered that the people were saying â€œprophetâ€ â€œJohn the Baptistâ€ and so on.. Hearing this He asked them who they thought He was. Peter answered that He was the Christ, the son of the living God. At this point Jesus told Peter that the revelation came from God. He commanded him to lead and guide the Church. Ever since then the Church has been guided by a successor of Peter whom we call Pope or Holy Father.
The past 2000 years have witnessed many turmoil, confusions, reformation, threats and sufferings,, even fights for power in the Church, but the Church stood on its feet and survived all threats and difficulties. The most modern crisis is the clergy sexual abuse. Apart from the sins and shame it brought about, the enemies want to make the opportunity to humiliate and threaten the leadership. We know the Church has nothing to fear. The Catholic leadership is not a dictatorship, but a collegiality, with all the bishops of the world as leaders. We have the bishops who guide the local Church, assisted by priests.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession
Jesus died on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven. This Sacrament enables us to experience repentance and forgiveness in a very real way. In the Old Testament we hear the prophets asking the people to repent. Jesus in many parables spoke of the joy God has, when the sinner turns back from sin. Same joy God feels when we go for confession. God through his priest tells us how much he loves us and forgives us.
The Holy Eucharist
Jesus is God andÂ saviorÂ . He died for us all generations till the end of the world. He wants us to remember his death and resurrection. So he wanted something to perpetuate the memory Jesus therefore instituted the Holy Eucharist and asked us to remember him through the celebration of the Eucharist.
He has to be remembered as the one who came down from heaven, lived among people, suffered, crucified, died, buried and risen to save us. It is a great privilege for a believer that he/she can eat his body and drink his blood in memory of him and get strengthened in body and spirit.
Confirmation, matrimony, Holy Orders and anointing the sick – Through all these sacraments grace is poured out to the believers, the bride and bridegroom, the priests and all.
Word of God
The Bible which contains the Word of God is another great gift of the Holy Spirit. When we listen to the Word of God, we feel his proximity. The Word of God is a light in our path and strength to our souls.
The Church is guided by traditions also, for it is one of the ways that God reveals His will. It is defined as practice and beliefs that were not written down but which have been passed on to us throughout the history of the Church. Therefore Bible and Tradition are sacred.
We have so much for which we can be grateful. Possibly the most precious gift is our Catholic faith. We have received a gift that not everyone has. Those who have not got this gift are not bad people or condemnable people. But we who have the gift should work to make it grow in our lives and be willing to share it with others. This is best done by becoming a good Christian in all our words and deeds.
I am happy to be a Catholic because I believe that the Catholic Church is the depository of all truth and wisdom.
Why Be Catholic, Dad?
Are Catholics Christians?
– – – written by K C Thomas