What does it mean to be Catholic? What does it mean to be a Catholic particularly in our world today? A world that is so filled with darkness; a world that is so filled with pain; a world that is embroiled in sin. What does it mean to be Catholic in the world today? To begin with, I must say that the very Spirit of God is at work, and continues to work tirelessly in aweakening the Catholic Church. I find it very interesting that within the last few months, there has been this burning desire in me to do a lot more with this site - FullyCatholic.com. Apart from that, I have noticed a definite and deliberate movement among some Catholic Communities in clarifying or should I say, defining what being Catholic is all about. That is definitely the movement of God's Holy Spirit.
There has been in me this urging to share the Catholic faith with the world, and to help fellow Catholics be aware of their faith, love their faith, live their faith. What is even more interesting is that within that same period of time, I am seeing the same movement of the Holy Spirit on the other Catholic networks, especially EWTN. Added to which it all local Catholic community here in Trinidad, it has also been a lot of talk about living the Catholic faith and about being proud of the Catholic faith. I am convinced that God is doing a bit of a rebranding ex ercise on us Catholics encouraging us to stop hiding our faith under the umbrella of being Christian.
As mentioned in one of my early writings about being involved in youth ministry under the umbrella Fr. John Theodore and Sr. Therese Dookeran here in Trinidad, I have been extremely privileged to have found out a lot about my Catholic faith. I learned then that the Catholic Church is the only Christian church that can trace its origin all the way back to Jesus's time. From all present Pope all the way back to St. Peter the very first hope the Catholic Church has existed and will continue to exist for the word of Jesus himself assures us that the very gates of hell cannot and will not prevail against it. You can read more about this and listen to the actual presentation by going to the History of the Catholic Church. It is indeed a great joy and great privilege to belong to a church that has such a solid foundation; a foundation that is deeply rooted in Christ Jesus himself when he first commissioned the church and gave that church its mission statement that Ascension morning more than 2000 years ago when Jesus said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations; baptized then in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I give you. And you know that I am with you always; yes to the end of time.”
Jesus when he came to earth as God’s plan of salvation put in action in the form of his son came to make amends as it were for all of our sins by his life death and resurrection; by his blood to blood of the Paschal lamb that was slain for the remission of all our sins. When Jesus says work, when his mission here on earth in the form of man was done, he sent his Holy Spirit to be with us through the holy Roman Catholic Church till the end of time and through the holy Roman Catholic Church to lead us to the complete truth since as Jesus said he -- the Holy Spirit -- will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he had learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.
For me, being C atholic means belonging to a church, worshiping in a church, glorifying God in the church that is guided by God's Holy Spirit. One of the things that I had learnt very very very clearly in my life is that the Holy Spirit will never ever lead you astray and that is an absolute guarantee. Throughout the history of the church all of its teachings have been born directly out of the Bible -- which is filled with the Holy Spirit -- or through the magisterium of the Church which has just explained is on fire with the very spirit of God. What that means is that all that the Church teaches comes from the very heart and mind of our God. About confession and the sacraments, about the Eucharist, about the body blood soul and divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ being powerfully present in the Eucharist, it all comes from the heart and mind of God who loves us with an infinite love.
So what does it mean to be a Catholic especially in a world today; a world that challenges our faith, a world that is growing more and more hedonistic by the minute. For me it means embracing all of the teachings of the Catholic church, and not picking and choosing those that I am comfortable with. For me it is so much more than being a Catholic by birth, but rather one who seeks to live the faith of receiving Jesus's body and blood soul and divinity into my mortal sinful body as often as they go to receive him, then just as Jesus is bread for me, I too must be bread for others. That may mean that has bred was broken on the hillside by Jesus and given to the multitude to feed on, so too I may be challenged in my brokenness to feed others in an effort to bring them to the fullness of life in Christ Jesus. For me being fully Catholic means accepting all the teachings of the church; the teachings on abortion, the teachings on pro-life, the teachings that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the teachings on confession, the teachings on the Saints and very especially the teachings and Mary the mother of God and our mother. For me being Catholic means accepting all these teachings knowing fully well that born out of the breath of God, born out of the spirit of God, there can be no lies in the them since it comes from the very heart of God. Being a Catholic to me means in faith, accepting and living even those teachings of the church that I may not fully understand, and also accepting that I have a responsibility to myself and to the Body of Christ – The Church - to try to find out from the proper channels about those teachings, those truths that I may not fully understand.
I am extremely proud of my faith. While I cannot claim to know all there is to know about my faith, I have full confidence in God's Holy Spirit that has led the Holy Roman Catholic Church from its very inception, from its very birth more than 2000 years ago and continues to lead the guide and fill the Church. I want to challenge you fellow Catholics, you readers to go to the proper channels to find the truth about the Catholic faith. I guarantee you that you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find and you will absolutely love what you find.
May the grace and peace, may the love of Christ fill your hearts and your minds. May He send his Holy Spirit upon you and remain with you and to lead you to His complete truth; the truth about himself and the truth about the Body of Christ -- His Church, the holy Roman Catholic Church.
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