Hey there! Hope y’all are doing well! Grab a cuppa and find a comfy spot, and I’ll do my best to answer the question. It’s no secret that I joined the Catholic Church this past Easter. I thought most folks knew. Apparently I was mistaken, and I’ve had several express some disappointment. Some who knew have expressed downright puzzlement. As I began to do “Catholic” things, and talk about “Catholic” devotion, I received some minor push back. This surprises me due to the timing, but it’s all in love and I don’t feel attacked. 🙂 One friend quoted the Scripture about leaving the truth for doctrines that tickled itching ears. I love her to pieces. But there had always been little 2% questions in the back of my mind about some beliefs in parts of the Protestant/Evangelical Church. I found answers that made sense to my heart and my mind in the Catholic Church. So, I joined it.
I’ve written a lot about my journey in the blog; it’s really why I started it in the first place. The readership isn’t huge. Actually, it’s pretty miniscule. But that’s okay. My job is to write; God’s job is to distribute and widen the readership if He chooses. This post will be long, I’ll warn you up front; it will be in several parts. 🙂 And right out of the gate, I want to say this. You asked why, I’ll give my reasons. This is not a forum to argue with me or attempt to ‘educate’ me. Please don’t try to use it as such.
As a staunch, Bible-thumping, evangelical Protestant, who knew literally NOTHING of the Catholic faith, I spent my entire adult life ‘preaching against those heretics!’ Areas of contention were transubstantiation, ‘repetitious prayers’, ‘worship’ of Mary and the saints, and the abuses in the Catholic church, not to mention the male-dominated hierarchy and antiquated rules.
When people ask me why, and I tell them I found a faith that better expresses what I believe, they immediately ask, “Like what?”
Let me start with what’s the same. The biggies! Same God the Father, same Lord Jesus Christ, same Holy Spirit. Same salvation by grace through faith, not by my works, although we do believe in personal responsibility. We have Holy Communion. We have services on Sunday in a building called a church. We have the Scriptures and read them at every service. We pray, we sing hymns. We have church organizations like a women’s auxiliary (we call it CWO – Christian Women’s Organization), a men’s group (One of them is the Knights of Columbus – think American Legion of the Church) and a choir. We have baptism, we have marriage. We have a variety of pastoral servants – priests and deacons, bishops and archbishops. We believe in sin, hell and the devil, as well as holiness, heaven and angels.
One huge difference from most other denominations (and I was educated recently that not all Protestant denominations differ radically on this point) is the way we believe in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. We believe that during the consecration prayer by the priest, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ. The outward form doesn’t change; the substance changes. Hence, ‘transubstantiation’. My main Scriptural basis for this is John 6, read without any pre-conceived notions. Don’t get me started on figurative language versus literal. I don’t have room here. 🙂 Eucharistic Adoration is one of my favorite prayer times. You can Google it. 🙂
Another area of major contention is Mary, the mother of Jesus. I’ve covered this in other posts, but true Catholic teaching does NOT worship her! Semantics get in the way – she’s called the Mother of God (Jesus is God, but she certainly did not create God!) and co-redemptrix (she was with Jesus from beginning to end; co- means ‘with’ not ‘equal’ in any sense- Mary redeems no one!) And ‘pray’ means simply ask – it does not equal to worship. Otherwise, in court documents, we’d be worshiping the civil court system!
Let’s talk about the rosary for a second. “Repetitious prayers!!! You aren’t heard for your many words!!!! Idolatry at best, witchcraft at worst-praying to Mary” Like any form of devotion, the rosary can become automatic and our mind detached. Truly praying the rosary combines meditation on events of the life of Christ with prayer. I may do a post on the rosary. There’s actually a richness there!
If we have eternal life, and believe in the afterlife, why can’t we ask the saints in heaven to pray for us? We ask the ones down here all the time! I am continually excited to find some saint who can pray with or for me over a specific area where they have had some great influence or success on earth. A current favorite is St. Isidore of Seville. He is the patron saint of the internet and computer people.
I’ll pick this up again next time. As always, if you have issues in your own life that you need help with, find a pastor or a priest. They can help. Have a great day!