Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I Love About Catholicism: It's Good Medicine

Do you remember when you were a child and became ill? Often, either your mother or father would give you medicine (like cough syrup), which would taste just awful, but they'd assure you, "Take this. Trust me, it's good for you. It will help you feel better."

As we grew older, we realized that there is a time and a place for medicine and it if we could persevere through the unpleasant taste, it did help us feel better.

I'm reading Teresa Tomeo's testimonial book, Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist. I can relate to the "surprising" part of her journey since I'm on one of my own. However, something I just read made me realize the truth of the Catholic Church:

It is my prayer that if you are struggling with a particular tenet of the Catholic faith, or if you have a difficult time accepting certain Church teachings, that you will hang in there. Allow your heart to be transformed by your Creator. Ask God for the grace to open your heart and speak to you concerning your won walk with Him and to truly see how the areas the Church provides whatever it is that you need.

I have found that most people leave the Church because they don't truly know what she teaches. Additionally, many people think the Church dogmas are unrealistic, outdated, and too difficult to apply to their lives when, in actuality, Church teachings, or more precisely, God's teachings, are meant for our well-being.

After all the years away from the Catholic Church, I can say with confidence that very few non-Catholic churches provide complete "good medicine," like Catholicism. We know that a caring parent is not going to give a child everything he demands. Young children are very self-absorbed, and it is the parent's role to help them understand that the world doesn't revolve around them. It is an unfortunate turn of events when a parents does not do this, and the child grows up to be selfish and defiant; expecting the world to cater to him.

Allowing oneself to be disciplined and taught is a humbling thing. A child has few choices except to submit to the guidance of their parents. But as a child matures, he needs to guide his own life, and if he had a strong foundation built, will usually make the right choice, even if it may take a few attempts to do so.

There are many reasons why I am back in the Catholic Church, but now see that my upbringing prepared me. I was taught at an early age that momentary discomfort could be endured for a long-term benefit. In essence, I was taught to see "the bigger picture." The Catholic Church is all about "The Big Picture" - which is the transformation of a believer from a selfish child, in a sense, to the image of Jesus Christ - a saint.

Oh, how so many fight against this! When I returned to the Church, I was slightly amazed to see dissenters trying to justify their childish "wants" to Rome, insisting upon their own way - which included issues like the the ordination of women as priests, marriage for priests, and recognition of same-sex romantic relationships. To me, they seemed to be nothing more than toddlers, throwing a tantrum because they weren't getting their way. And if they couldn't get their way, they'd recruit the help of the world, which was only too eager to plead their case in the media.

I say "slightly" because it really isn't a surprise if you think about it. We all have our childish moments when we look at what God is asking of us and yes, pout. It's not easy to sacrifice our own preferences but what we need to remember is that our own preferences lead to death. Satisfying the lusts of the flesh, which doesn't just include sexual issues, but issues such as pride and unforgiveness, does not lead to the joy we are seeking. We may feel temporarily satisfied, but it is hollow, quickly dissipating like the dew in the morning sunlight.

The Sacraments are for our benefit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, is for our benefit. Wonderful priests and nuns who proclaim the truths of the our faith, teach us such difficult lessons for our benefit. It is "good medicine" for our souls.

I think about those who rebel against the Church, especially Catholics who call themselves "progressive" and I wonder if the scales will ever fall from their eyes. Will they ever understand that our Lord Jesus Christ desires their complete loyalty and fidelity? Will they ever understand the ramifications of that desire? I know in my heart the answer is yes, and although it can be discouraging to witness such events as this past weekend's graduation ceremony at Notre Dame, I realize I cannot stop praying for it.

We must press on and tell people the truth. The truth, Jesus Christ, is the "best medicine" for a very sick and ailing world. Only through our complete surrender to God will we receive the healing we need. For "by His stripes, we are healed." (1 Pet. 2:24) And if you look at Google's logo today, you can see how they, along with everyone else is rejoicing at the possibility of finding the "missing link" that connects humans with an ape.

God is the God of science. He knows our innermost thoughts, and the functions of our bodies because He created us. And praise be to His name forever, He has given us the "good medicine" we need to rid ourselves of the poisonous sin of Adam and Eve, who birthed the bondage of the flesh.

I know I'm filled with joy to take my medicine, however it appears, for, "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28) Amen, and amen!

Note: I found myself commenting on Fr. Longnecker's blog regarding a few entries he posted recently regarding the "new angry atheism." I don't mind talking to atheists. In fact, I enjoy the intellectual challenge. But I just came to this conclusion: I would much rather converse with those who want to find reasons to believe, than those who want to find reasons to disbelieve.

Some of my other thoughts regarding the existence of God:

An invisible God uses invisible means, to make Himself known.

How can we expect a finite mind, to understand completely the infinite? If I am able to "prove" God's existence, then He really wouldn't be much of a God, would He? God is not a science equation although He is the creator of science since all things were made by Him. But it is a pretty ridiculous argument to think that my mind, with all of its limitations, can somehow explain something as enormous as God.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

It's a little overwhelming when one considers the number of souls that are blinded by the ways of the world.