Catholicism Is Not a Set of Rules, but a Response

I seriously need a 12 step program to help me get past my addiction to Facebook. I have only been in two threads in a week and posted a few updates because it is difficult to not be on social media when you are a blogger. I love blogging because it allows me to be on Facebook  practice writing.

The saddest part about the new way my addiction to Facebook is manifesting is that I feel like a loser for logging in so I just lurk and then I feel even worse because I’m cheating and in the end people are still making stupid comments that make my head spin and I’m still reading them. In other words: I’m right where I started which is being mad about what people I don’t know are saying and wasting my time.

The thing about lurking and not commenting though is that I can really think about things instead of just typing out my very first thoughts and getting into a Facebook argument that leads nowhere and it ends up in flames. Something that I’ve been thinking about over and over in my head is about how  many people are in hysterics over the SCOTUS ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. From what I’ve seen in all the reasons people put out there about how this ruling will cause the end of the world, I see very few of them talk about their relationship with Jesus. I can’t really make any judgment on whether they have one, but if the reason you are fighting for traditional marriage is because it is the “right” thing and it has nothing to do with your own personal relationship with Christ, then you are doing it wrong. In fact, catechising without Jesus at the center is what got us to this point as a Church. The point where our own and those around us no longer understand what the Church teaches or why. If we teach a set of rules that have nothing to do with a relationship with God, then eventually those rules will make no sense, especially in a culture that makes some very good arguments about why they don’t make sense because love is love.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 

426 “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.” To catechize is “to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words and of the signs worked by him.” Catechesis aims at putting “people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.”

I have been pretty open about the fact that when I began RCIA I had no intention on changing my views about my sex life or anything else about my life. I had come to my values by rejecting everything Christianity was about. I had come to worship God in my own understanding and that was that. There was not going to be any way that anyone telling me that God gave us commandments was going to change how I was living my life. And I stuck to that, I didn’t change my life because anyone told me that God gave us commandments or that I was a sinner on the road to hell because I was breaking them all. I changed my life because I encountered Jesus Christ and my response to His love is living the life that I live today instead of the life I was living 5 years ago. Hell, it’s different today than it was 5 MONTHS ago. Because everyday Jesus asks for a response to His love for me.

It is all about relationship and you do things out of love in relationships, you don’t just follow rules. I don’t sleep with other men outside of my marriage because I love my husband, not because he is oppressing me. Everything that I do in my marriage is in response to my husband’s love for me. Everything my children do for me is out of response to my love for them. When they don’t feel loved guess what? They rebel. You can’t preach love by yelling and expect anyone to listen to you.

I have seen people share a picture of the Vatican quote saying that we must oppose the laws allowing gay people to get married. My problem is that I see so many people who think that loudly shouting hysterically is the only way to oppose those laws. There is a video that was made into a picture and now a t-shirt of a grown man yelling at a 7-year-old little girl in the name of Jesus with a man carrying a sign about hell behind him. This video makes me cringe, not only because of how awful it is to see the name of my Lord used to attack a 7-year-old child, but also because I am all too aware of how many people I know will think that he is brave and courageous. People who go to my parish, people who are a part of my faith, people who call themselves Christians and people who blog in the Catholic blogosphere and think they are the end all, be all of standing up for the faith. I also know that I have friends who think that this is what Christianity is about and that I must be like this man because I do not support gay marriage. So here I am. In the middle. A Christian who thinks that yelling at 7 year olds in the name of Jesus is a greater sin than anything gay people may or may not being doing in their bedrooms and who thinks that God created us, our bodies and kind of has an idea of what marriage is since He MADE us and everything around us for our good and happiness, including sex, marriage and families.

Elizabeth Scalia wrote so beautifully on Jesus and the woman at the well  while talking about how proselytizing doesn’t work. Her post brought me to tears because I was that woman. I was living a life that went against everything the Catholic faith stands for. It was an encounter with Jesus where He told me who I was and who He is that got me to begin to live in response to the knowledge that God loves me more than I think He does.

Catholicism is not a set of rules to be followed, it is a response to the knowledge that God loves us. Everything we do is about that response. That is why we don’t yell at children, that is why we don’t shun gay people, that is why we don’t treat sinners like lepers, that is why we understand that we are also sinners in need of God’s mercy just the same as everyone else around us. That is why I get out of bed in the morning. Everything I do is me saying “I love you too” to God.


2 thoughts on “Catholicism Is Not a Set of Rules, but a Response

  1. Please don’t waste your time on Facebook where people do not appreciate you properly. Write for your blog, where your eager follower (followers?) are waiting to read what comes next.


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