Why I Love My Catholic Faith … Let Me Count the Ways
Less than one month after I was born, my parents brought me to our local parish and asked the Catholic Church for a gift on my behalf. They asked that I receive the sacramental grace of Baptism, to become a daughter of God and a member of the Catholic family.
Growing up, I loved Jesus. I was one of those kids who enjoyed Mass and Sunday school. Church was a familiar, comfortable place. Looking back, I didn’t attend a particularly orthodox parish. There were no statues, devotions, or traditional Catholic practices. But I walked through life happy to be Catholic. It was who I was. It was the family I was born into. And I knew from an early age it was the church Jesus established when He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16:17-19).
I ended up attending a fairly liberal college. I wanted to go to a Catholic school, and I was naïve to think that Catholic in name means Catholic in practice and identity. So for a few years, especially as a theology minor, I learned about liberal approaches to the faith without having any real knowledge of a more authentic Catholicism. It was somewhat confusing and frustrating. More than anything, I sensed a lack of joy in those radically progressive ideas. And even though I couldn’t explain or defend my faith, I associated a lack of joy with a lack of truth.
Thankfully, I was rescued from the tangled confusion, and I found myself on a path that opened doors to truth, beauty, and goodness. The more I learned about the true Catholic Church, the more excited I became. Every time I discovered something new-to-me, I was led to something even deeper and more profound to learn and experience. It was like receiving the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. That one big box that has another box and another box inside just waiting to be unwrapped.
I had a renewed gratitude for the absolute privilege it is to be born into the Catholic Church. Even more so, I was grateful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, for His gentleness and patience as He walked through life with me. All along, He guided me, even when I didn’t realize it. When I was lost and confused in those college years, He didn’t give up on me. Rather, He stayed with me and saw me through.
Fourteen years ago, my husband and I brought our first child to our local parish and asked the Catholic Church for the grace of Baptism on her behalf. Now, as we raise our six children in this fallen world, we strive to pass down the Catholic faith to them. In our family life, we have uncovered devotions and traditional Catholic practices that we didn’t grow up with but that we now cherish. And as our children learn the faith in a more traditional way, we learn right alongside them. For example, when my oldest was in Kindergarten, she learned the Prayer to St. Michael. And guess what? We learned it with her. “Why didn’t I learn this when I was six?” I asked the Lord. And in His gentleness, He was just happy that I was learning it now.
I was born and raised Catholic, and I never left the Church. But it has been in the past 17 years that my faith has flourished. In this time, I have discovered a love for Sacred Scripture and understanding the story of salvation history through the Bible Timeline. I have claimed a true devotion to Jesus through Our Blessed Mother Mary. I have learned a wee-bit of Latin and truly appreciate it in the Mass. My love for the Sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Holy Confession, have grown into something indescribable. I simply love that Jesus is so present to us. His love and mercy are overwhelmingly beautiful that I can’t imagine being anywhere else. “Lord, to whom can we go?” (John 6:68)
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the Christian U.S. population has sharply declined. And I recently heard a startling statistic: For every one person who converts to Catholicism, seven leave the Church. This is incredibly sad, because it shows where our culture is as a whole. But it is not time to jump ship, give up, or freak out! Jesus knew that in the world we would face tribulation and persecution. But He commanded us to take courage and be not afraid! For Jesus has conquered the world (John 16:33).
“In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.” —St. Boniface
Indeed, this study is a wake-up call for those of us who love our faith and believe in the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” that Jesus Christ founded. But as I look around, I truly see a beautiful, vibrant Catholic Church! I see incredible apostolates, dynamic authors and speakers, a vibrant media presence, studies that enliven Catholic teachings for all, a 25% increase in priestly ordination in 2015, the powerful testimonies of converts to the Catholic Church, new vocations to the religious life, and the experiences of cradle Catholics like me whose faith has unfolded, grown, and deepened over time.
Our Church might seem to be smaller, but it is getting stronger. We have been through rough patches in history before. And we have had historic periods of rebirth and renewal in the Church, too. Speaking about the Church, Jesus said, “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). And His word is good enough for me! Jesus knows what’s going on! And He has put us here “for such a time as this,” to grow in our faith, to pass on our faith, and to live our faith as best as we can (Ester 4:14). Well into eternity, the Catholic Church is and always will be. I love being a member of this family, and I am here to stay.
Why do you love your Catholic (or Christian) faith? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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11 thoughts on “Why I Love My Catholic Faith … Let Me Count the Ways”
Everything you have written is so true! Growing up (non-Catholic) we didn’t do much. Even after we converted, there was not much change in our home. It takes time to embrace these things.
As my daughter was being homeschooled, I started to dive deeper and eventually, began this thirst for the Catholic truth, and identity.
I feel the same way about the Saint Michael prayer! I went to Catholic School and not once did they mention this (or the Rosary). Now, I homeschool my children, and I hope that we are instilling a stronger Catholic faith than what we grew up with.
Hi Kalley, thank you for stopping by! I appreciate you sharing a bit about your own journey. It is so beautiful to hear how people have come to be Catholic. Whether by birth or through conversion, being Catholic is a lifelong journey … to Heaven!
Such a great post, and I love the quote by St. Boniface!
As I read your closing paragraph, I called to mind the statement (I don’t remember if it was a saint, or a pope) who said something to the effect that the Church will grow smaller, but more devout. And, that is okay if it grows smaller, as long as those who profess the Catholic Faith truly believe in the saving graces.
I hadn’t heard the research for every 1, 7 leave, but that is disheartening. However, my fervent prayer is that those who do leave will have a conversion of heart and “Come Home.”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Hi Anni, thank you for stopping by! I also pray that those who leave will always know they have a Home to return to … Above all else, the Church is a family, a welcoming place to come home to …
Thanks for a wonderful article, Sarah! I really enjoyed it. I liked the quote about “Well into eternity, the Catholic Church is …and always will be.” Well said!
To answer your question about what I love about the Catholic Faith, the list is long! I love the reverence and devotion we give to our Blessed Mother. (I hate it when non-Catholics claim that we “worship” Mary. It’s so frustrating to try and explain it to them.) I also love to read about the Saints and the Doctors of the Church, their constant and steadfast witness to the Church and all they had to say about our beautiful Faith. Finally, I love to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Such a rich and powerful resource that I wish more people would read and consult when feeling confused or uncertain about how one is required to act or behave in a certain situation or predicament. It’s all in there…just look it up!
I wish you a very BLESSED day, Sarah! I really enjoy reading your Facebook posts and articles. PEACE!!!
Tim, thank you for stopping by and for your kind comments. I appreciate you sharing what you love about the Catholic faith! There are so many reasons, it’s hard to just pick a few … But you picked some great ones! God bless!
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! It is so nice to hear you recognized you were not getting the Truth from your college atmosphere. I actually chose the college I did because there was no requirement to take religion courses because I was so anti-religion, mostly anti-Christian. Four years after graduating college I was baptized into the Catholic Church.
I see a definite rebirth and renewal in my little Parish. The gates of hell will not prevail, indeed!
Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing just a bit of your story with me. God is so awesome! I am so glad you found Him … and the Catholic faith.
I love that St. Boniface quote. I am lucky to live in a Diocese where the Catholic population is growing. It always makes me so sad to read about the parishes that are having to close. But we have the assurance that it will all turn out right in the end!
Hi Leslie, yes, I also live in an archdiocese that is flourishing. It is not without problems, but the Catholic community is really solid. And it will indeed turn out alright in the end. Amen!!!
What a great post.
Our Faith is like the gift that keeps on giving. I loved the visual of the big box that has another box and another box….
It’s sad that people leave the faith. I recently met someone who left when she had children because there are too many rules. I pray they will come back.
Anyway – always great to read your posts.
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