There are many reasons to be Catholic. The historicity of the Gospels, use of reason leading to faith, a mystical experience, beauty through the arts, an encounter with a saint, and many more.
One of the many more reasons for me is the freedom I experience when I practice my faith. Though not the sole teacher of living a virtuous life, it is definitely the biggest today with the most understanding in her treasure chest. Unfortunately today, many misunderstand this common faith and think that the best and highest position in the Church is to be a priest or even a pope. With the influence of today’s feast day saint, St. Josemaria Escriva, all people were introduced to the universal calling of sanctity. It was not like this hadn’t been the common teaching before, rather it was just not preached on often. With the rise of secularism, I suspect the timing of Escriva was apropos. In a day and age that preached everything except faith, Escriva reminds the world that it is exactly everything that can be sanctified. God doesn’t let into heaven only cardinals and nuns, rather He calls everyone right here and now in every noble profession. The brick layer and the banker, the radio host and university administration, the mother raising kids at home and the woman CEO are all called to make holy their work.
What exactly is holiness though? In short, it is freedom. The most free people are the saints. What is sanctity? The Catechism explains very clearly in paragraph 828, “By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors. “’The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.’” The saints are those that practice heroic virtue and lived in relationship with Him that helps this mission. The greatest title and one open to lay person and clergy/consecrated is that of being a saint. Those bad popes from yester-year were not given a get-out-of-jail card; hence Dante places some of the worldly popes in Hell. Nothing unholy can be with perfection.
So why am I so happy being Catholic? It is simple, it is freedom. The virtuous life, though I fail at times, is a calling to live freely. St. Paul speaks of this in the opposite direction when he says sin is slavery, this is the opposite of freedom. Each human person wants to be free. It was for this reason Christ came to live among us, to give us freedom so that we might be holy.
The growth in virtue produces a person that rejects vice. It is vice that harms people. By rejecting vice, the human person is most free to act. For example, in my life of vice I had been addicted to certain perceived goods of this world. As the addiction grows and the talons further clench down, I became less free to choose good. The vice created a sort of monster that needs a fix. The vice could be lust like pornography or immodesty; gluttony like improper use of drugs, alcohol, or food; greed like stealing or slavery; sloth like not giving of yourself fully; wrath like taking revenge or vigilantism; envy like depriving another person of good that you desire; pride like considering yourself better than others. Each of these enslaves the human person. Each of these makes me more like a monster rather than a full human person. When I imbibe too much, I lose the use of my reason and physical faculties. When I use pornography, I reject the natural good of the warmth of my wife or future wife if not married and isolate solely on myself when the sexual act tells me it takes two to tango. When someone does me wrong, wrath can cloud my mind so that I punish rather than defend.
Why am I Catholic? Well, I desire freedom and I have found that I am most free in this way of life. Like a parent that teaches their children to not touch a hot stove, I have found that when I ignore those warnings that I get burned.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/JTDTAT-Childrens-House-Copy-e1329964684276.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jared Tomanek lives in the country of Texas with his wife Denise, a Southern Belle from Trinidad and Tobago, and his three children. He holds two graduate degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, an MBA and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Having taught for five years in Catholic education, he now works in the construction industry in Victoria, TX. He is a parishioner of Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Parish in the Diocese of Victoria. He also blogs at his local paper on just about everything cool.[/author_info] [/author]