Four big reasons for liking being a Catholic.

Monday, 5/4/15

Since today’s readings do not suggest anything special to me, let me fill in this space with something I wrote last week. A friend of mine who has left the Catholic Church , wondered what I liked about it, so I listed these matters I like about being a Catholic.

 1. I like being associated with the solid men in our heritage.
2. I love what Thomas Aquinas said about God’s three unique qualities.
3. I like to meditate on Chapter One of the Gospel according to John.
4. I love the Mass as my way of sacrificing myself with Jesus.

1. I like being with Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati and Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore.
In 1830 Purcell was sent as first bishop of a Cincinnati where Catholics were a rarity, and where
Protestantism was going through what was called “The Second Great Awakening.” In 1835, its fiery champion the Reverend Alexander Campbell, traveled to Cincinnati to expose Purcell in a six day debate. But, after it, the local papers and the city reluctantly gave the victory to Purcell. 

Then, I like being on a team with Cardinal Gibbons. As archbishop of Baltimore, he led the Catholic Church in America from 1877 to 1934. Teddy Roosevelt called him, “The most venerated, respected, and useful citizen in America.”

H. L. Menken, who made his living out of pointing out religious frauds, wrote of Gibbons: “He was a man of the highest sagacity. There is no record that he ever led the Church into a bog. He had Rome against him often, but he always won in the end, because he was always right.”    

2. Next, I love what Tomas Aquinas said about God’s special qualities. Thomas said that God is all Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. So, to the degree to which anyone becomes beautiful and good, he or she becomes God-like. (Since God is pure beauty and goodness.) Then, since God is essential truthfulness, the closer we come to the truth in any science, by that much we come closer to God.

3. I meditate on the phrases in Chapter one of the Gospel according to John. The old Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary became old for me. So, on my evening walks I make Rosary Mysteries out of fifteen phrases from Chapter One of John’s Gospel. They are first, “In the beginning was the Word. Then, second” “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” My third mystery there is: “All things came to be through him.” That has me thinking of God being like a watchmaker who fits together the billions of cells in my body, keeping them running in harmony with the millions of atoms he installs in each cell. 

For the fourth phrase from that first chapter of John’s Gospel we read, “In him was life, and the life is the light of the world.” There, I consider how parallel that is to the way all energy in our solar system comes from the sun. In the same way all the mental energy we expend is light from his life.

4. I love the Mass I offer each morning.

At the last Supper Jesus offered the traditional three-part table blessing. It made each meal a sacrifice to God.

In the first part the host asked the diners to recall the favors God had showered on them. In the second part he asked them to be aware that they were in God’s presence. In the third part he asked the diners to join with him as part of one pleasing gift to God.

(The word Eucharist is Greek for “pleasing gift.”) Their sacrifice took the form of joining the host in a complete submission to God’s will.

At that very point, when Jesus is asking us to join him as part of the pleasing gift, he gives us his body and blood so that we might be physically as well as mentally part of that same pleasing gift.

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