I am a cradle Catholic, which basically means I grew up going to Mass almost every Sunday, going to Catholic School, and having all the sacraments. I, like many other children—nay, preteens, had my Confirmation in Grade 8, and there I made a promise to God that I would follow him. I truly believed—and still do—that there is an indelible mark on my soul, and that I am meant to be a priest, a prophet and a king (okay, well, maybe a princess instead of a king because I have always wanted to be one of those…). The point is, I took the ceremony and its implications very seriously—far more seriously than many of my classmates—and despite the temptations that would be hurled at me in my teenage years, fear of God and fear of my parents kept me on the right path most of the time.
Now, years later, I have come to realise how much easier life would have been if I weren’t a Catholic and if I hadn’t lived the faith I’d been raised in. First of all, I wouldn’t have felt so guilty when I did something wrong… Oh wait, I still have a conscience and would still know right from wrong, so I technically would still feel guilty if I did something bad…
Next, I wouldn’t have had to get up for church every Sunday morning, which would have led to much more partying on Saturday nights… Oh wait, I am not one to go to parties and stay out late anyways, and while sometimes getting up for mass is definitely a chore, it’s an hour and a half maybe out of my week. (not that there aren’t other benefits to mass, but I’ll get to those later.)
If I wasn’t Catholic I wouldn’t have to defend my beliefs… Oh wait, I would still have ideas and things I felt strongly about that I would have to defend to others, and I may not have a group—a large group—of people behind me who shared my same beliefs.
If I wasn’t Catholic people wouldn’t be able to accuse me of throwing my religion in their faces or of acting “holier than thou”… Oh wait, people would still find ways to hurt and belittle me because I do care so much about others and what they think.
So truly how different would my life be if I weren’t Catholic? If I weren’t Catholic then all the times I have been ravaged by depression, I probably would have taken my life. If I weren’t Catholic then I wouldn’t have met and married my wonderful husband, who also converted to Catholicism. If I weren’t Catholic I wouldn’t have experienced Jesus’ love and grace through the sacraments. If I weren’t Catholic I wouldn’t have met wonderful friends, like Dave and Theresa, who help me to keep the faith when I feel so burdened by our culture and its views of Christianity. Finally if I weren’t Catholic I wouldn’t have the grace or incentive to forgive all the people who have hurt and belittled me. That is why I am proud to be a Catholic.
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