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Why believe? Why be Catholic?

I bet you've all figured out by now that I'm Catholic.

I enjoy going to mass. I pay attention during homilies. I never leave for school without my rosary, several holy cards in my wallet album, and my growing collection of 17 medals/crosses. I have more holy cards than I have Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter merchandise combined. Considering that I sleep on a Legolas pillow, snuggle in a Harry Potter comforter, have a wall showcasing 15 of  my favorite Lord of the Rings Characters, and placed a large Legolas cutout at the foot of my bed (elves never sleep, making him the best guard against would-be intruders)...that's saying a lot.

Yes, I know that holy cards, rosaries, pendants, and crosses are not good luck charms. THEY'RE MUCH BETTER THAN THAT. They are protection. They are reminders. They are signs of hope. They are pieces of of a faith I don't completely understand and they keep the faithful close to me...Not just any faithful, but the faithful that have made it. These are the faithful that walked on the same dirt we walk on now...and breathed the same air we still breathe. Though they lived as we live, they housed the Holy Spirit and they made it to heaven. Though they were made of flesh and blood, they achieved a holiness that we can only strive for in this life. They intercede for us, they watch over us, and they cheer us on as we continue to stumble and struggle to get back up. I carry these cards and medals with faith and the knowledge that I got a whole army up there watching over me...rooting for me whenever the world throws me a curve ball. 

When I pray, I pray knowing that someone is listening to me. I get goosebumps during communion because I feel 2000 years-worth of saints joining us when everyone goes up to receive the Eucharist. I feel Christ's presence during Eucharistic adoration. Sometimes, when I close my eyes I feel him in the room with me and see him seated before me and inviting me to sit with him. He never demands and he never ignores me regardless of how many people may be in the room adoring him alongside me. He simply invites me to stay with him and simply love him. There's no complicated formulas here, no qualifying exams...not even any biostatistics exams. The whole world continues to exist, but I no longer feel like I am a passenger on some planet rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun. I feel like I am part of something much grander than the universe as we know it...more complex, but still simple and far more just than physics and natural selection would have us believe.

Carving from Notre Dame Cathedral. I am no art expert, but I think this scene explains itself.
The people standing beneath Jesus (on the left beside the angel with the scales are the ones that made it.
They're the ones praying for us now. The other guys to the right, by the looks of it, are not so fortunate.
With faith, I no longer feel like I am a mere collection of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and all those other atoms my physical body is comprised of. I feel like a work-in-progress (aka Saint-In-Training) with the potential to be something much greater. I feel like someone who may one day get the opportunity to stand before God and give an account of what I did with my life. This thought may scare some, and it scares me to some degree. However, it is one of those thoughts that brings me the most comfort and it is one of those thoughts that challenges me to do the most that I can in this life. It challenges me to love unconditionally and find the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of whether or not there's something in it for me. I am part of a faith that calls for social justice in a world where putting our own needs ahead of others is not only accepted but encouraged. I am part of a faith that challenges me to be a voice for those who cannot speak, let alone defend themselves. I am part of a faith that challenges me to ignore my physical wants in order to attain self-discipline, patience, empathy, selflessness, and charity. I am part of a faith that calls me to put others before me and a faith where a trait like humility has more worth to it than all of the riches of the world.

I cry during mass sometimes because he loves me. He loves me even though I'm a terrible, imperfect human being who makes more mistakes than I should be allowed to make. And I love him, not only because he forgives me, but because he will not settle for anything less than my best. He will never give up on me until I achieve that best...and because of this, I got a shot. I honestly have a shot at being the best person I can be. I may even have a shot at responding to Christ's call for me to join him in everlasting life...

...and this is all only a very small part of the reason why I believe and why I am Catholic.

Pax Vobiscum

2 comments:

  1. I am now in love with your blog! As a fellow science nerd and increasingly-"old-school" young Catholic, this is awesome!

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  2. A fellow GEEK! Thanks for checking out my blog. Very glad that you've fallen in love with it...I hope I won't disappoint! :)

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