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.