What do you love about being Catholic?
Recently I posed this question to a cross section of people. Their responses provide a window into the richness and beauty of Catholics. Here are a few of those responses, along with my reflections from a missionary perspective.
I love my Catholic faith…
“…because it is the first gift I received from my parents at my birth.”
What a lovely insight! The first gift given to us who were baptized as children! At our baptism we (or our parents & godparents) are instructed “to always walk as a child of the light.” As children of the Light who have received a gift, we now share as a gift with others.
“…because of the gift of the Eucharist and the traditions that have always been a part of my life. They are the source of hope.”
The miracle of the Eucharist is just that: it is the source and summit of the Christian life (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1324). This means that Christian life flows from the Eucharist (the source) and so Christian actions should be directed towards it (the summit). The Eucharist is at the heart of being Catholic.
Imagine living in an area where there is no celebration of the Eucharist. What most Catholics take for granted is still not available to millions here in the United States. It is precisely these areas where Glenmary focuses our missionary effort.
“…because of the sanctity and universal aspect of the Mass and for its foundation in service and respect for those less fortunate.”
The missioner shares the sacred and holy not only in our sacraments and in our manner of worship but also in our vision of missionary ministry. Our founder Father William Howard Bishop instructed his young missioners: “No work will be so powerful for us as apostles of peace on earth—the temporal and spiritual works of mercy, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, ministering to the wounded and the sick, loving the poor and underprivileged.”
“… for its capacity to take all that is good, true and beautiful in the world and connect them to Jesus Christ.”
As Jesus’ ambassadors, Glenmarians share our faith with all those we encounter in our mission areas. As our founder, Father Bishop, wrote: “The true missioner adopts all the people in his area, regardless of creed for his own. His aim is to make all of them better people and bring them nearer to God.”
“… because, in spite of shortcomings, it is a community of faith that nurtures my faith in God, through the richness of worship, service and family.”
How we organize our families and society—in economics and politics, in law and policy—directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The depth and richness of our Catholic social tradition is planted and shared in the mission counties that we serve.
So what do you love about being Catholic? I invite you to either email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write an actual postal letter to me at Father Dan, Glenmary Home Missioners, P.O. Box 465618, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45246. I’d love to hear from you!