Why I’m Still Catholic –a response

Recently, I have read a post from Patheos asking all Catholic bloggers, authors, priests, speakers, etc… on “Why do you remain a Catholic?” This is my response.

It took me a while to form my thoughts on this certain topic, because honestly, most of what I wanted to say was already touched on by amazing writers of our diverse Catholic community. However, as I was reading posts from Catholics all over the world, it gave me a reason to write, because despite living in a world where believing is seeing, and ignorance of faith has been rapidly increasing; there are still quite a number of people who believe in what I believe in.

Born and raised Catholic, I grew up with a strict ideology of why going to church was a necessary tool for growth in our faith–although I never really understood how until I fell in love with the church itself. The purpose of this post, however, is not to tell you how I came to love the church, but to simply give you my reason why I’m still and will continue to stand by the church.

I only have one reason to give–apart from hundreds of wonderful testimonies, countless logic and reasoning–I have, but one. And that is, it simply gives me hope. Frankly, I can’t imagine living my life without it. It gives me the reason why I continue to do the things I do. It gives me joy. It gives me my purpose–I know that my purpose is not just to live, but to simply live for Him. I know that beyond this life, there is a God who continues loving; beyond this world that continues hurting, there is a heaven that is life-giving. I’ve always kept Mother Teresa’s quote at the back of my head because she is the epitome of love and she gave the perfect representation of a true Christian witness, “…You see, in the final analysis (of life) it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.” 

You ask me why I’m still Catholic, I’m Catholic because that’s what I’m meant to be and as Matthew Kelly would say, “Be the best version of yourself.” Being a Catholic, I become just that.

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“Actions speak louder than words…”

…whether you like it or not, whether you mean to or not, and whether they judge you or not. It’s true and it will always be true. It’s unfortunate, but that is just the way how most people work. You cannot be one thing and claim to be another. A dog cannot be a cat all at once, the way I can’t be a girl and a boy simultaneously. Now, before you start to scroll down and look for the comment section and voice out your opinion how I’m being so insensitive and how I’m being such a hater of the LGBT community… Hear me out.

You are entitled to have your own identity. You are entitled to be you. I am not stopping you to be yourself. Go ahead and be yourself… but did you ever stop and ask yourself, “Who am I really?” We always seem to have our focus on other peoples’ identities that we neglect to reflect on our own identity.

“Who are you really?” 

Take away all generic representation of ourselves regarding name, gender, race, etc. How would you address the question?

Simply put, you are a child of God.

I want you to realize it, because it’s true. Behind our identity lies our biggest blessing. We can only be true to ourselves when we acknowledge ourselves to be children of God. You are entitled to be a child of God, because you are a child of God; but just like a child who obtained their parents’ last name, our identity should reflect the being of Our Father. The culture says, “actions speak louder than words.” We can’t just claim to be God’s children, we have to act on it, and we have to be proud of it. Come face to face with yourself and see that within the silence of our always aching heart, there is a voice. Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to act? Are you willing to swim against the current? Because believe it or not… I can’t do it alone.

Why I Want to Quit my Job–(a Confession)

Almost four months in since I’ve started working in a corporate job setting. Almost a year since I graduated from a degree I thought would bring me contentment. You see… this job pays the bills. It pays a lot of things– my wants, my needs, my leisurely expenses, my convenience… sometimes even my temporary happiness. I’m happy with my job. I like it. Not too stressful, not too boring, it doesn’t take away my time from service. Although since I’ve started, I have had this recurring thought/question of a desire I never once dreamed I would have. What is my purpose? What is it really? Am I really just supposed to be earning money to pay my loans? Is that really what I’m supposed to be doing? Is that it? It sounds so–monotonously boring and dull. It feels empty! I have always thought that working in the corporate world would bring satisfaction, because it would fulfill my financial obligations. I’ve always thought having money for travel, for shopping, for anything… would lead to my perpetual amusement every pay day… but I beg to differ. I have always looked forward to weekends consisting of multiple community events, meetings, and fellowships. I have always looked forward to finding the fulfillment of my purpose through my service, because I am never satisfied in anything else. It seems like I’m craving for something more–something greater. I even took on more work responsibilities because I felt like the job just got too repetitive, still the need to satisfy the void recurs. I’ve bombarded the Lord with questions, and in my confusion, I’ve asked Him to lead me on how to fulfill these desires. Do I sound too foolish to think that there is a greater purpose than what I’m really doing? Do I sound selfish to be even thinking about these things because of the blessings God has graciously blessed me with? Am I the only one who feels/thinks/aspires that God has a greater purpose in my life–in our lives?

I feel like I’m the only one. I can’t be the only one.

Jesus Shock (Book Review)

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I had always limited myself to books that are easy to understand, relatable, and those that are very engaging with lots of anecdotes. Ever since, I’ve read this book, I’ve become more and more interested in books that enhances my Catholic faith, because indeed I felt the Jesus Shock! This is indeed a very shocking book that makes you feel happy to be a Christian–to be a Catholic. Jesus is indeed a very shocking subject, and Peter Kreeft had done an amazing job portraying the Jesus Shock in his book. Jesus is not a self-proclaimed King. He is King because of who He is– because of what He had done and continues to do,  whoever holds the the truth, holds Jesus. Peter Kreeft’s excitement about Jesus can be felt throughout the book and I do encourage everyone to read this very short book! It’s a must read!

One of my fave quotes from the book,
“Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked.”

The World We Live In

We wake up, eat, and go about our day,
We try to live as though everything is okay,
We turn on the news and see the world’s slow decay,
And act as though this problem will eventually go away.

We find having sex rules,
While porn’s been talked about in schools,
And often deemed as a fool,
When you talk about Jesus being cool.
We witness violence around us,
Everywhere hearing boys and girls learn to cuss.
Don’t you see what is happening?
Our desires slowly deceive us.

We hear children get abused,
And babies getting killed,
Through our actions and choices,
That were poorly instilled.
We see people stand up for causes,
And blindly see their destructive sources,
While our children suffer,
To all kinds of divorces.

We see more families that are broken,
Ripped to pieces and forgotten,
Children left alone–
Left alone and downtrodden.
We wish for a revival.
A quick tool for survival.
What happened to the Church?
The Church which deserves more approval.

We feel our hearts long for love,
An authentic kind of love,
But we ourselves settle,
For less love than providential.

Is this the world we live in,
Where the norm has been to sin?

When will we realize,
And stop believing the lies?
When will we ask ourselves,
To open up our eyes?
Is it okay to watch and wait,
And realize that it’s too late,
When will we start having faith?
That the youth deserves a better fate.

When will we finally defend,
The truth that will hopefully amend,
A future that promises,
A life that has no end.

The Passion of Christ Movie– (a long overdue review)

I am the type of person that hates, loathes, despises anything violent. I avoid it. It is just plain disturbing for me when I see or hear someone in pain. As soon as I know something excruciatingly painful is about to happen or show up in movies, in the news, or on the internet; I run the other way and avoid the subject entirely. I once walked out of the movies because it was mentally challenging for me. I felt like I was getting sick. I practically self-diagnosed myself of algophobia (fear of pain) because it haunts me.

Last night, I decided to watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ movie. As I turned the lights off, I wondered why on earth I would watch a movie so physically and emotionally disturbing for me. I told myself that I owe it to Jesus to be with Him on His passion. By trying to bear the gut-wrenching moments of my self-diagnosed disorder, I forced myself to watch the movie without looking away, without avoiding the painful scenes, without holding anything back, and just to be in the moment. It was a whole new experience for me, because during the entire movie I was balling my eyes off. Every hit and miss, every blow, every slap and spit, every single one they threw at Jesus, my heart started hurting. I couldn’t take it… I kept saying, “Lord… please no, stop” literally. I feared that I must’ve woken someone up while watching, because I was literally wailing. I have never forced myself to watch something that disturbed me so emotionally and it was distressing. It hurts. My heart was in pain.

Imagine… Jesus who is without sin, died for me. Why me? You don’t just look at the cross and see Jesus, you look at the cross and see love. That is love, brothers and sisters, pure love. True love.

I challenge you to journey with Jesus today. Journey with Jesus everyday, and remember why He took on that cross for you. Do you feel it?

Crucem tuam adoramus Domine, resurrectionem tuam laudamus Domine. Laudamus et glorificamus.

Why Going to Mass is Simply Not Enough

I am 100% Catholic, born and raised. I believe in what the Church believes. My faith is built upon its teachings, liturgies, doctrines, and all of its wonderful services. I have never missed mass my entire life. My parents were always so strict about missing mass, and although I found it a chore to go to mass despite not understanding what the mass is all about. I now know and understand why my parents were being strict about it. Come to think of it, I have been exposed to Jesus for the entirety of my life (appreciate them strict Catholic parents!) You’re probably thinking if this’ll be another life conversion story, where the writer falls in love with the Church. No. I didn’t fall in love with the Church. I didn’t fall in love with its teachings, or with the gospels, homilies… or priests. I didn’t. (Although that came after...) First, I simply learned… to serve.

At this point I’ve probably lost some of my readers, because frankly… most of us think that going to mass is enough. MOST OF US, IF NOT ALL OF US, THINK THAT BEING GOOD IS ENOUGH! (Sorry for the caps I got excited.) I don’t blame you, because for the most part of my life, I thought it was enough too. I’m a cradle Catholic, and that probably is one of my biggest advantage and/or disadvantage of my faith life. You see… we can be Catholic by birth from the Sacrament of Baptism, we can attend mass every Sunday and receive the Holy Eucharist, or go to confession every Lent. We experience all these Catholic celebrations, and think that it’s simply enough. Often we live our lives just trying to get by, just trying to make the right choices for our well being, and consider our life to be well put. We don’t seem to want to look for answers and meaning. We don’t seem to want to fill the void in our hearts–that void being Jesus. A priest once said in his homily, “We, Catholics are scared to learn more about our faith, scared to discover the teachings of the Church, because we know that when we start to know more about the genius of Catholicism…. it starts to become more difficult.” We pretend to be ignorant, because we want our faith life to be easy. Jesus didn’t say that our journey will be easy. It’s not in the Bible! We just know, quoted in several verses in the Bible, that He will be with us, that He will be our strength, and that nothing cannot separate us from Him.

Having faith is a blessing from God. Acting on that faith is grace. Learn more about Jesus. Read the Bible. Read Catholic books. Read your Church bulletins, read The Carillon. Read about the Saints. Read about Mary. Pray to Mary. Pray, pray, pray. Always pray. One minute prayer time? Fine, just don’t forget to pray. Serve the Church, be a reader, be a eucharistic minister, join the choir. Have a spiritual relationship with your priest. Join a lay community. And love. Always love. One of Mother Teresa’s famous quotes, “Faith in action is love– and love in action is service.” 

God bless.