Rediscovering Catholicism

I just finished reading Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I’m not writing a book review. I love reading, but that’s totally not my thing… so I won’t even try. What I WILL do is comment on some of the awesome things I picked up the first time through! I didn’t know you could get a free copy here, but I’m glad that if you can’t afford to purchase a copy, you can still get your hands on it.

This book is full of questions and challenges for WHY we aren’t the people we ought to be. Of course, that’s a question we’re always trying to answer. But especially as the Catholic Church, where is our vigor? Our zeal? Our passion? It’s something that I have been struggling with for almost 9 months now.

Sometimes, I felt like Matthew Kelly was taking thoughts right out of my head… as if we had just spoken and he had recorded what I said on paper. Sometimes, his perspective is something I wasn’t seeing.

“Holiness brings us to life… it elevates our emotions. Holiness doesn’t stifle us, it sets us free. Holiness is to allow each moment to be all it can be.”

“The surest signs of holiness are an insatiable desire to improve oneself and an unquenchable concern for unholy people.”

“There is nothing more attractive than holiness.”

Wow. Maybe that’s old news for you, but in my journey… coming from the the community where I grew up and the Church as she interacted with me up until last summer, this is big news. I have said it a billion times since moving back home: I don’t feel like anyone ever called me to holiness here. No one called me to be the “best version of myself,” as Kelly puts it. No one made it so simple!!

“If you went into an ice cream store and there was no ice cream, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” If you went into a chocolate store and there was no chocolate, you’d say, “There’s a problem!” The mission of the Church is to share the Gospel, and to teach, challenge, and encourage people to become more like Jesus Christ. So how is it that we can belong to a local church community that goes on year after year with almost no outreach to the unchurched in the area, and with very few people really becoming more Christ-like (i.e. working to be holy!), and yet think there is no problem?! Let me tell you, if this describes your church community, “There’s a problem!!”

I suppose what it really comes down to is whether or not we sincerely believe that knowing and following Christ is the best way to live. I suspect that, on some level, most Catholics don’t. Because if we did, we would most likely be more excited to share it.

What an achievable, easy thing to do. It’s not new age. It’s not complicated. It is exactly what the mission has been from the beginning. Be holy, as Christ was holy! Then WHY is it so difficult? Why have our communities forgotten to keep working towards holiness?

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Mother Teresa and Catholicism

So I’m reading this incredible book right now… and I plan to post about it at length in the future. BUT for now, an excerpt that’s really a quote:

“Religion is not something that you or I can touch. Religion is the worship of God — therefore a matter of conscience. I alone must decide for myself and you for yourself, what we choose. For me, the religion I live and use to worship God is the Catholic religion. For me, this is my very life, my joy, and the greatest gift of God in his love for me. He could have given me no greater gift.”

— Mother Teresa

I absolutely love this. I’m sure it resonated with me because I often feel like it is difficult to describe why I believe, in the deepest part of my heart, that the Catholic faith — the Catholic way of worshipping God — is the one intended for us all. Beyond all the apologetics and history, I ask myself, Why this faith? Why these rules? Why these traditions and this way of life? Mother Teresa puts it so simply, and so beautifully: it is the greatest gift God has given me. It brings me closer to the heart of Christ and the loving arms of God than any other religion could… and that is my joy.