Defending my faith is something that comes pretty easy to me, I am a fighter, and it comes natural to me. The problem for me is that I fight the way that St. Peter fought in the garden when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and he cut off the ear of one of them. What did Jesus do? He healed the guy, then rebuked Peter. I almost know for certain how Peter must have felt at that moment, because I’ve been there many times. I have cut off a lot of ears thinking that I am defending Jesus when the truth is that I was just cutting off ears. It’s easy to do, especially on social media.
Social media is a hotbed for miscommunication. I live online, my work is online and I get my news from the internet, it’s how I have lived my life for a very long time. I’ve been on Social Media as a pagan, a new convert and now as a Catholic blogger, radio host and student. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a friendship crash and burn on a thread of some kind because of miscommunication, usually involving a lot of emotions and just the stress of daily life mixed with a good hot button issue on social media. It’s a recipe for disaster. Our life is consumed with 27/7 warnings of all the ways in which we are either going to be murdered, kill our kids, give them cancer or just plain screw them up. Every morning when we wake up we are met with the fear of the day. We can no longer just wake up, drink a cup of coffee and vow to do our best today to be good parents, people and neighbors. Nope, we have to know about all the people who are out to kill us and our children in the worst way possible. Or just take away all our rights. For Catholics pretty much everyone who isn’t Catholic hates us. And if you are online enough then even other Catholics are out to get you. It can easily become a perpetual state of paranoia.
Why would anyone want to be Catholic? Why would anyone defend this faith and actually try to live out the teachings of a Church that was established over 2,000 years ago?
The only answer that I can give is because it’s True. Truth isn’t a thing, philosophy or idea, Truth is a person and His name is Jesus. Truth is Truth regardless of words, definitions or opinions. Nobody can change it, nobody can argue it into extinction and Truth will never be untrue. In a world where everything changes with the passing fad of the day, passing fear of the day, or passing ideology of the day, I need to know the Truth that is unchanging, even when it’s uncomfortable. I am faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church because I know that living according to the teachings of the world only left me empty and alone. I know my sins are not any worse than the sins of others and having the sense to feel love and compassion for other sinners, regardless of what that sin is, is also part of what the Church teaches. I believe that Jesus is God and He died for my sins and rose from the dead to lead the way for me to become a saint and go to heaven if I choose to do that. I know that at any moment, I can choose to reject it all and live in eternity separated from God. I came to know all of this by encountering Jesus Christ in the love and compassion that others had for me when I was deep in a life of sin that I had no intention of leaving. Because of their love, I gave God a chance and He sure took it and changed my life.
Catholicism isn’t about a set of rules, it is about a relationship. Through that relationship, things will change but I can honestly say that I don’t miss any of the things that I was so scared to let go of. It’s been six years since I walked into RCIA and fell in love with Jesus and His Church. I have no regrets except that I wish I had come home sooner. There are ups and downs, including moments when I really was certain that God had abandoned me, but in all of it I know exactly where to go to find Him. I know Who Truth is and that helps me combat whatever the fear of the day may be. Truth reigns as King, not fear.