Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Why Catholic?

One of the biggest questions I've continued to ask myself in the last year, and one of the most common questions I get asked by other is "why Catholic?" Yeah, that's a big question. Answers are hard to come by as well.

My life until probably the beginning of this year was all about doing things my own way. If I didn't like something, I changed it or fixed it or ignored it. I was fortunate enough to be able to have the opportunities to be selective in my likes and activities. I was raised a secular "cafeteria-style" Protestant. I talked to God directly, brushed my sins under the rug, and went about life like the Big Kahuna I thought I was. Church wasn't important, an option for the devout (or crazy some might say). My life was easy.

Catholicism challenges me. When I decided to become Catholic, it meant giving up a lot of those beloved freedoms. It meant I didn't get to wander between cities looking for a pastor I enjoyed. Of course, I've been blessed by great priests and enjoy those I've encountered, but I'd have to drive to the next city if I wanted to find another Catholic Church. I don't get a say in who is elected to be the next Pope. I don't even get a say about who a new priest might be. I don't have a say in what songs are sung or what readings get read. I'm learning to love that.

Catholicism challenges me. I did something no one else in my family has done. Maybe some think I "joined the dark side," but I hope that, with time, they'll see what I have come to love. I'm not out to convert everyone, only to share should they invite me to do so. Being Catholic isn't popular. Very few of my friends are Catholic. Even fewer of them go to Mass on any regular schedule. Many times already, I've encountered hostility or negative remarks about being Catholic. It's not fun, but not everything about religion is fun either.

Catholicism challenges me. I've had to learn traditions that go back thousands of years in order to understand simple phrases or gestures. I asked questions, read, studied, took quizzes, and stayed up way too late many nights trying to absorb complex ideas or mounting even more questions on top of other questions. I'm not sure I fully understand anything yet. Learning that the mystery of not knowing something--and leaving it that way--is more important than having answers has been one of the most challenging things I've done as a Catholic.

Why? A zillion tiny reasons and one really big one: because it was important to me. That's all I can explain.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Being one of those Catholics that hardly ever goes to mass, I can't help but understand you in your question "Why Catholic?" Being a person who usually is quite secular in nature, I still can't quite let go of "being Catholic". There is an odd comfort there, one that I can't even explain to my fiance. I'm just trying to say that I support you in your decision, no matter how confusing your "logic" may seem to others. Some things shouldn't be based in logic, but something deeper...