Mar 272013
 

Patheos has asked bloggers to finish the sentence: Why I Am A

They’re giving us 200 words to answer. I don’t need 200 words to tell you why I am Catholic. I only need four:

Because Catholicism is true.

St. Thomas Aquinas gave me the tools I needed to understand my experience of God

It’s that simple. It’s not a matter of “belief.” Belief presumes that there’s some option: that I have a choice in my favored model of reality.

No such choice exists. (I would have chosen … something else.) As I tell my students: this is Truth. You either accept Truth, or you reject Truth. What you want to “believe” is wholly beside the point.

My whole life I looked for truth. I shed this faith as soon as I was able, along with what I saw to be its silliness, emptiness, and illogic. I thought I found a better model for reality in the god of the philosophers, but it did not suffice. Fifteen years after I lapsed, I was given a profound experience of the living God.

I doubted it. I resisted it. I applied reason and logic to understanding it, and reason and logic are what allowed me to come back. I was given the gift of a conversion experience, and the church gave me the tools to test it. And in testing it, I found my way home again. (source)

When I first saw this question asked today and some of the responses, my own thought came down to the same Because Catholicism is true. This first response in my mind still seemed incomplete to me. Catholicism is true, yet most people and even many Catholics don’t believe all the truths of Catholicism. So for me my real answer is Because of grace and that Catholicism is true.

Also for me the temptation early in my conversion was to assign the source of my conversion to my intellect (such as it is). That I had grasped that Catholicism was true and thus I became a Catholic. Other turning points in my life were also predicated on that same reasoning. A intellectual pride that I was willing to change my current belief if given evidence for why I was wrong. I viewed my conversion almost in Pelagian terms without crediting really the sheer grace of God in all that he provided me. Now I can see it a bit more clearly in realizing the gift of faith while also seeing my own cooperation in responding to that grace.

It was ironic that my efforts to redouble my atheist faith turned out to be my own reaching out to God. I was seeking truth and was slowly (very slowly) realizing all my atheist pat answers were not the fullness of truth I expected.

As an application developer one of the things I do is to write unit tests to verify that the code I had written performs as expected. When code is checked into a continuous build server, that server runs all the unit tests to make sure a change did not break other areas. I mention this since in the back of my mind there is a form of a continuous build server always evaluating my observations to verify if what I believe is true. A form of what St. Paul’s said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. It is only with the Catholic faith that truths keeps ringing through. There is zero incongruity with the faith and the reality I am able to observe. When a test seemed to fail it always turned out it was my understanding of the faith that was lacking.

So praise to the Holy Spirit and that my inner Mr. Magoo was still able to respond to the faith despite going down so many wrong paths.

  4 Responses to “Why I Am Catholic”

  1. (((When a test seemed to fail it always turned out it was my understanding of the faith that was lacking.
    So praise to the Holy Spirit and that my inner Mr. Magoo was still able to respond to the faith despite going down so many wrong paths.)))

    Jeff! I’ve been told that “IT” is not polite to pick some body’s brain so why are you doing so with me?

    Long story short! “I’M” a Cat lick, “I” mean Catholic because me, myself and i got “LUCKY” is all.

    Hey Victor! You would be nothing if “IT” wasn’t for U>S gods who keep helping you out!

    Sorry sinner vic! All of U>S usual sinners almost for got that we must get out of our flesh on occasions NOW!

    Go Figure!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrN7kxmhT2s

    Peace

  2. Excellent point, Jeff – “BECAUSE OF GRACE, and…”

    And grace is a matter of PRAYER. When I read GKC or think about GKC, I always marvel at this little detail, almost lost in all the other information about his conversion: it’s in a letter from his friend, Maurice Baring, just afterwards:

    In writing to you the other day I expressed not a tenth part of what I felt and feel and that baldly and inadequately. Nothing for years has given me so much joy. I have hardly ever entered a church without putting up a candle to Our Lady or to St. Joseph or St. Anthony for you. And both this year and last year in Lent I made a Novena for you. I know of many other people, better people far than I, who did the same. Many Masses were said for you and prayers all over England and Scotland in centres of Holiness. I will show you some day a letter from some Nuns on the subject. A great friend of mine one of the greatest saints I have known, Sister Mary Annunciation of the Convent Orphanage, Upper Norwood, used always to pray for you.
    [quoted in Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 475]

    Our Lord told us to “pray always” (Lk 18:1) – let us do so, NOW, while there is still time. We may never know who will convert to Truth in this life, but we shall find out in the next installment of the Story.

    May you and all your blogg-readers have a blessed Triduum… and let us remember each other in prayer.

    PS Your observation about “unit test” is quite in harmony with GKC: “The Catholic convert has for the first time a starting-point for straight and strenuous thinking. He has for the first time a way of testing the truth in any question that he raises. As the world goes, especially at present, it is the other people, the heathen and the heretics, who seem to have every virtue except the power of connected thought.”
    [GKC The Catholic Church and Conversion CW3:106, emphasis added]

  3. [...] “Catholicism is true, yet most people and even many Catholics don’t believe all the truths o… [...]

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