All over the internet people are commenting on the teachings of the Catholic Church. We write, read, and argue about what is modest, how NFP should be used, if altar girls are bad, whether guitars and tambourines are reverent enough for Mass, and if women will ever be priests.* These conversations can be very interesting and have helped me focus on understanding my faith. All the back and forth in the comment boxes and on blog posts challenge me to discover what the Church really teaches and how it should be applied to my life.
But I fear that in these conversations we are losing the ability and desire to talk about what really matters. The great Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, ”The only way to win audiences is to tell people about the life and death of Christ. Every other approach is a waste.” I wonder if we are so busy debating and discussing with one another that we are not telling people the basic message.
Of course it is important to explain the Sacraments and the saints and the rosary and the “extra” books of the Bible. Of course! But what do those things matter if we first forget to tell people the basic Gospel message? Personally, I have been more comfortable explaining why Catholics believe in the True Presence than sharing with people the depth and width of God’s love for them. I have been embarrassed to say such things. How heavy my heart is to recognize and admit that!
But I am tired of Catholics leaving the one, true, holy, catholic Church for a denomination filled with people who are not ashamed to preach the love and mercy of Christ! We must be better at this. I must be better.
So please let me begin here. God loves you. He created you so He could have a relationship with you. He wants to spend eternity with you and, because evil entered the world, He became man so that He could save you. The Infinite became finite so He could win your life and your heart. The birth, teaching, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of old and gained for you salvation.
Once I really came to know, understand, and believe in Jesus Christ the Sacraments, saints, rosary, and Bible made so much more sense to me. They brought colorful illustrations to the black and white story. So let’s continue to debate and discuss. Let’s continue to present the teachings and Traditions of the Church in intelligent conversations. But let us be intentional in sharing the Gospel and ensuring that people are always aware of its role as foundation.
Image courtesy of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation.
*My opinions on these matters are as follows: pants not too tight/skirts to the knees/no cleavage/covered shoulders at Mass prefered; prayerfully; not bad but not the best; sometimes and never; I’m leaving the day Rome okays that one – which it won’t, so let’s move on.