Monday, May 19, 2008
What I Love About Catholicism: Our Worldwide Family
I recently read an article which reported that for the first time in thirteen years, Catholicism was being openly practiced in Arabia. I found my reaction to this substantial. I felt happy and connected to my fellow believers. I also wondered if my reaction was similar to American Jews understanding they are connected to a larger worldwide group.
When I was attending non-denominational churches, I knew there were Christians around the world who took their faith very seriously. Many were martyred for their faith. But I also discovered that there were differences in the various Christian churches. Some were founded by American Christian missionaries and as a result, bore a distinctive American mark on their worship. Others were more native in their approach and were helped by translators (such as the Wycliffe Bible Translators) who worked hard to bring the New Testament to their village.
But Catholicism is different by keeping the same standard - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I know there are slight differences throughout the world with how Masses are celebrated. In Africa, they dance because that's what Africans do. However, even though they may be doing a jubilant dance as they bring up the offering, they are still bringing the offering. I find it humbling and inspiring that when I attend Mass, I am joining hundreds of thousands all over the world who are doing the same thing. These are my brothers and sisters in Christ and through the sacraments, we are bound.
My desire is to someday attend Mass in many different countries. How awesome it would be to pray the Rosary with these Catholic believers. I have been noticing I've had visitors from Europe, Korea, and the Philippines. I was especially happy to see someone visit me from Albania! We are connected through the mysteries of our faith. I need to remember our Catholic brothers and sisters in other parts of the world more often in my prayers, especially those in the Middle Eastern countries.