The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why I Am Catholic

I am Catholic because I found God in the Roman Catholic Church in the person of Jesus Christ, and I continue to find God there daily. To my surprise once I found God, I discovered that God had been looking for me. It just took me a while to learn God’s vocabulary and so to see how God had been inviting me into relationship for a long time. Since then God has given me a life of hope, joy, healing and peace – a new way of living and working - that I could never have created for myself.

It was not always so. From the time I was 22 in 1969 to August, 1986 when I was 39, I attended no church, looked to no god, sought nothing “religious,” though I lived what I think was a moral life of honesty, generosity and service. But by August, 1986 my life had become burdened and empty. On one day that August I experienced a moment of panic, a conviction that I was hopelessly lost, that I could see no way forward nor any hope for future happiness. I know in retrospect that this was an unconscious cry to God.

A series of twists and turns over the next 20 months took me through meditation, bits of the New Age, and an unexpected foray into Catholicism. One day in April, 1988 I found myself in St Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, DC praying to Jesus: “If you’re there, do something!” Intuitions and unexplainable stirrings in me, especially during the Mass, had been suggesting that something very real but unknown was going on – and I wanted to know. At that moment I was filled with what St Ignatius calls consolation, “an interior movement…aroused in the soul by which it is inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord…an interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly…by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord” (The Spiritual Exercises, 316).

A short time later on the basis of this experience Fr John Gigrich, a priest of St Matthew’s Cathedral, confirmed me in a side chapel on the Cathedral’s upper floor, just inside the archway at the center of the accompanying photo to the left of the organ pipes.

And so I am Catholic because I found God in the Roman Catholic Church, in its sacraments, and in its people. And I continue to find not only God there, but I also find my vocation, my life’s work. I find healing and peace, and I find protection, comfort, and courage when doing my life’s work brings challenges, obstacles, and hurt. I am experiencing the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I invite you to seek God, if you do not already know God, and to be surprised as I was that God has actually been looking for you all this time.

But, you might ask, Why should I look for God at all? Why should I be religious? Excellent questions, but questions for another blog.

October 18, 2006 St Mary’s Hall, Boston College


Click here to see more pictures of St. Matthew's Cathedral.

2 Comments:

Blogger St. Luke's Parish said...

Hi Fr. Ben,

Thanks for sharing your faith, insight and experience. After being raised Catholic, receiving religious ed. and the sacraments as a child, I rebelled in my later teen years, leaving the church for about 5 years. During my time away I sensed something was missing, and was searching for spirituality. I eventually found my way back in my early 20's, when I met the woman who I’ve been fortunate to be married to for the last 26 years. We strive to pass our faith along to our (young adult) children with varying degrees of success.

I thought you would appreciate an inspiring web video, “Why am I Catholic?” produced Katerina Marie of Lake Charles, Louisiana for a confirmation retreat and available at YouTube.com. It is simple to embed in a weblog or a web page. I added it to my parish web site stlukesparish.com/faith_video.htm , and encourage you to consider mentioning it on your blog. (email me if you would like any help to reference the video)
Peace be with you.
Chuck A.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thank you for your story, Father. These personal recollections always help people.

For my part I was brought up in an Anglican household, but attended Roman Catholic primary schools. By the time of my secondary education in an Independent school, I was not very religious. Once at University, I dabbled with Buddhism and Hinduism, culminating in a summer in a Hindu monastery. It has taken me until now, 26, to come back to Catholicism, via Anglicanism. Pray I may be received, when God wishes!

4:31 AM  

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