When a friend asked me what I liked about being a Catholic these four thoughts came to me.
A. I like being associated with the solid men in our heritage.
B. I love what Aquinas said about God being pure Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.
C. I like meditating on the phrases in Chapter One of the Gospel according to John.
D. I love the Mass as a way of sacrificing ourselves with Jesus at the Last Supper.
A. I like sharing the heritage of Purcell of Cincinnati, and Gibbons of Baltimore.
In 1830 Archbishop Purcell, came to Cincinnati as an oddity. With the Protestant city being swept by their Second Great Revival, they invited a fiery Reverend Alexander Campbell to a week-long public debate with Purcell. Afterwards, the local papers reluctantly gave the victory to Purcell.
Then, Cardinal Gibbons, as archbishop of Baltimore 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, of Gibbons wrote: “He was a man of the highest sagacity. There is no record of his leading the Church into a bog. He had Rome against him often, but he always won in the end, because he was always right.”
B. Next, I love what Aquinas said about God’s Goodness, Beauty and Truth.
Thomas Aquinas said that since God is pure Beauty, and Goodness, as anyone increases in beauty and truth he or she becomes increasingly God-like.
Then, since God is truthfulness, the closer we come to the truth in any science, by that much we come closer to God.
C. I like meditating on the phrases in Chapter one of the Gospel of John.
The old Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary became wearisome for me. So, in the mornings I came to use the eight Beatitudes and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit as Rosary mysteries. Then, on evening walks I use fifteen phrases from Chapter One of John’s Gospel. Here are the first four phrases.
1. For “In the beginning was the Word” I think of how when there was nothing but God, he had a mental picture of himself. That picture remained substantial and steady. It became his “brain child.”
2. For “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” God loved that mental picture he had of himself, and that picture, the Word, loved him.
3. “All things came to be through him” might have you thinking of God as a watchmaker who fits together the billions of cells in my body, along with the millions of atoms in each cell. He keeps them in running order. (That makes me feel that God is multi-task enough for him to tend to the prayers of each of us.)
4. The fourth phrase from that first chapter of John’s Gospel is, “In him was life, and the life is the light of the world.” Just as all the energy in our solar system comes from the sun, so all the mental energy that each of us expends is light from his life.
D. I love the Mass I offer each morning.
At the last Supper, Jesus offered the traditional three-part table blessing that was a miniature sacrifice.
1. First part: he asked the diners to recall the favors God had showered on them.
2. Second part: he asked them to be aware that they were in God’s presence.
3. In the third part he asked the diners to join their selves with him as part of one pleasing gift to God. (The word Eucharist is Greek for “pleasing gift.” And their self-giving took the form of a complete submission to God’s will.)
It was at that point, when he was asking us to join him as part of the pleasing gift, that he gave us his body and blood. He did that so that we might be physically as well as mentally part of that same pleasing gift.