The world will attempt to give you infinite reasons not to be Catholic, but in reality, there are infinite reasons to be Catholic. Here are only fifty brief reasons for us Catholics to remember when we are tempted to give in to negativity:
1. Religion is good. Religion is not the distorted, war-mongering mindlessness that secularism may try to make it out to be. It is a re-tying of ourselves to God, a strengthening of relationship with our Heavenly Father, a way of life, a disciplined defense against the devil’s tricks.
“The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to love…all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love, and have no other objective than to arrive at love.” Catechism of the Council of Trent, preface 10
2. Authority. Contemporary society does not like authority. Well, no authority above themselves. But, accepting the reality that God is King and loves us is freeing. We also as Catholics can be confident that God, who established this Church through Jesus Christ’s apostles, will not let the gates of hell prevail against it—even if people in the Church fall to sin.
“I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.” St Augustine
3. Liturgy. The liturgy is beautiful. Stunning. Shockingly similar yet beautifully various in every Catholic parish throughout the world.
“A man who fails to love the Mass fails to love Christ.” St. Josemaria Escriva
4. Saints as friends not judges. They pray for you, will help heal you and the Church like doctors, call you out for your wrong actions by their witness to the Truth while never pretending to be God by condemning you to hell. They are rooting for us all, and we as Catholics don’t ignore that!
“…although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1862
5. Metaphysics. Where humans like to think we have control and manipulate the physical world, as Catholics we embrace the reality that there is One who created the material we use too often to glorify ourselves and ignore Him. Philosophy is enriching and whether we have a simple or complex understanding of the study, it helps us be fully alive.
“To understand our faith — to theologize in the Catholic tradition — we need philosophy. We must use the philosophical language of God, person, creation, relationship, identity, natural law, virtues, conscience, moral norms if we are to think about religion and defend it. Theology has some terms and methods of its own, but its fundamental tools are borrowed from philosophy. / The growth of religious fundamentalism and the collapse of religious education mean theology is more urgently needed in universities — especially Catholic ones — than ever before.” George Cardinal Pell
6. Sacraments. The sacraments are incredible gifts. Through them we freely receive God’s graces. It begins with baptism, where we are born again with eternal life as the Lord asked us to be for the New Covenant. We are baptized into God’s family, able to inherit eternal life. Welcome to royalty!
“The Lord was Baptized, not to be cleansed Himself, but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of Baptism.” St. Ambrose of Milan
7. Communion. We literally receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, as He asked us to and are thus transformed. Read John 6 and every Catholic book on it that you can, starting with Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper. (In my humble opinion, the Eucharist should be the only reason needed to be Catholic because from it all other reasons follow.)
“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. . . . There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.” J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Reconciliation. We have a relationship with God and when we wound it, we must reconcile with God. Because God is, well, God and we are flawed humans, we will be doing a lot of confessing, but He will never run out of forgiveness, mercy, and love.
“So for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone and a new being there to see. It is all God’s work; he reconciled us to himself through Christ and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
9. Marriage. It’s not a contract of you-don’t-cheat-on-me-and-I-won’t-cheat-on-you. It’s not merely a tax benefit or civil duty to secure society and raise more citizens. It’s a sacramental covenant, witnessed by the Church, and blessed and elevated by God. Married or not, holy marriages impact your life and help the Church be fruitful (and, you know, multiply).
“There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage.” Cardinal Raymond Burke
10. Holy Orders. Priests and religious receive a bad reputation from the minority of them that are criminal or foul, but in reality, most priests and religious are incredible people who’ve offered their lives to witness to eternal life through servitude to God by serving us in the Church. Befriending priests and religious is amazing. They are people, too. They have their flaws, but they have their vows to God, too. Help them uphold them with your prayers and compassion while they help us do the same with our own vocations.
“I have separated you from other people, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:16
11. Last Rites. How often do you think about your death? As Catholics, it’s pretty comforting to know that no matter what state I’m in, there will be a priest there or on his way to give me my Last Rites, my viaticum. People will pray for me, even if they don’t know me. Memento mori, friends!
“How consoling it is to see a just man die! His death is good, because it ends his miseries; it is better still, because he begins a new life; it is excellent, because it places him in sweet security. From this bed of mourning, whereon he leaves a precious load of virtues, he goes to take possession of the true land of the living, Jesus acknowledges him as His brother and as His friend, for he has died to the world before closing his eyes from its dazzling light. Such is the death of the saints, a death very precious in the sight of God.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux
12. Anointing of the Sick. It is comforting and incredible to be able to receive this holy sacrament in times when our physical body is ill or even failing. Catholics know miracles happen. We embrace the unknown. We put the soul before the body. If you are ever in the position to receive this beautiful sacrament, relish the beauty of our faith.
“I suffered a lot but my soul was singing.” St. Chiara Luce Badano
13. Ministry. We are all ministers. We must tend to each other’s needs. We must actively love those in our community and spread that elsewhere. As Catholics, we minister to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and those we meet, whether a cup of tea or one of our many charitable Catholic ministries throughout the globe.
“Teach us to give and not count the cost.” St. Ignatius of Loyola
14. Evangelism. Too often we only think of Protestants as the evangelical type. We, as Catholics, are called to be evangelical, so evangelize with your words and actions, your suffering and your joys. It simply means to spread the Good News. People need to be listened to and hear its comfort.
“Evangelization is the mission of the Church, not just of a few, but my, your, our mission.” Pope Francis
15. Universality. Catholic means universal. We were all Christians in the same Church until we needed to officially differentiate between Catholics and Protestants. There’s no excuse to not make it to Mass as a Catholic on vacation because there are Churches nearly everywhere on the globe, which is an amazing blessing. Our Catholic faith is full of universal truths is for everyone.
“Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.” Pope Francis
16. Perpetual adoration. Not every parish is blessed with perpetual adoration, but at any given point throughout the world there are Catholics praying—Catholics keeping watch at all hours of their night, reverently adoring Christ, and bringing that Spirit into the world with them.
“The best the surest and the most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” Pope John Paul II
17. Redemptive suffering. Any suffering a Catholic endures is viewed as a chance to unite ourselves with Christ in His Passion. This doesn’t diminish the pain we feel; it helps us bear it gracefully and find profound meaning in it.
“Each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” Pope Saint John Paul II
18. Liberation. Knowing yourself—what you were made for, your flaws, your skills—is what we’d call liberating self-knowledge. Society thinks that freedom means doing whatever you want when you want because it feels good, but that’s really just hedonism and makes you a slave to whatever your sin may be. Be free, be Catholic!
“The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age” G.K. Chesterton
19. Humor. Don’t be fooled that saints didn’t laugh. They did. It’s part of the joy of Christ. We just don’t find anything funny about crude or vulgar “jokes.” There’s plenty of other wholesome, intellectual, situationally comical, pun-ny things to laugh at in the world.
“The only time laughter is wicked is when it is turned against Him who gave it.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
20. Family. Our families aren’t all perfectly Catholic, but we do have a huge faith family that stays with us through the ups and downs of the world. From saints to sinners, we’re all one, holy, catholic, and apostolic family.
“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2205
21. Bride of Christ. For better or worse, the Church is the Bride of Christ. We can go this biblically for days, but it’s suffice to say that marriage imagery is important, relevant, and incredible in this topic.
“The first marriage is that of God with human nature in an individual; this is the union of God and humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mother, in Christ Jesus her son, who is the Bridegroom. The second marriage is that of God the divine Bridegroom with each one of his members, each one of the human race, potentially or actually—and this is the Church, which is his Bride.” Fr. Hugh Barbour, O. Praem, The Bridegroom and the Bride
22. Apostolic Tradition. This is also called Sacred Tradition—not mere human customs. This safeguards the true faith and is non-negotiable when it comes to understanding the Scriptures. It is part of the deposit of faith, the living Word of God.
“Therefore, brothers, hold fast to the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
23. Sacred Scripture. “You’re welcome” from our Christian ancestors who passed along, preserved, and collected the Bible. Unlike what some may think, the Bible was not handed to us by Jesus with everything we needed to know. It is the written Word of God, written by human authors, and a canon confirmed again and again. (46 Old Testament, 27 New Testament Books.)
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St. Jerome
24. Mystery. Mystery isn’t something you’d see in the Da Vinci Code or other fictional tall tales. It’s not a CSI case, gnostic knowledge, or secret that God just won’t tell us. This mystery is referring to the fact that we are finite creatures in time and space who simply are unable to fully comprehend the truths our infinite God has revealed to us. We humbly welcome not being the Highest Being and worship Him instead of ourselves.
“God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.” St. Hildegard of Bingen
25. All In. A fully alive Catholic is all in—mind, body, and soul. Our soul is in love with our Heavenly Father, our mind is constantly seeking more understanding, and our body is kneeling, sitting, standing, prostrating, and continuing to worship God in every way otherwise—even when making love, running, cooking, or sleeping. We’re all in!
“The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare tomorrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before.” Chesterton
To be continued…Subscribe To Catholic-Link Emails so you don’t miss Part 2 of 50 Reasons To Be Catholic!