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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Four Marks...or is it Five?

I am working on my Catechism presentation for November.  I have a really easy topic.  Sections 748 - 947:  I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.

I considered asking our DRE if we could change my topic to Nuclear Fusion and its Place in Today's Global Economy but apparently that topic was taken.  Drat, drat and double drat!

At my Dominican meeting, one of my fellows remarked, "Oh, you just have to thoroughly explain the Four Marks of The Church."  Then he said, "And after that you can thoroughly explain The Trinity".

OK, this is one of the reasons I both love and despair of my Catholic Faith.  The reality of her Teachings are pure and clear; unfortunately, God left people like me to try and transmit that purity and clarity.  To do so with a minimum of head throbbing is my challenge and I rarely feel up to it.

I mean, who really understands the four marks of The Church:  We are One, We are Holy, We are Catholic and we are Apostolic?  How many of us think we can also add another mark:  We Ain't Easy.
Then again, if it WAS easy to be a Catholic, everyone would do it.  Shoot, even the ones who CLAIM they are Catholic keep trying to make us a little bit less than what we are just so they can fit into the secular world a little better.  I don't understand that, myself, because I have found that I am a much bigger rebel as a faithful Catholic than I ever was as a hedonistic spoiled brat who declared her liberation was found in the bottle of a liquor bottle or in the bed of a man whose name I didn't know.

I absolutely understand why so many well-meaning Christians fall for that "once saved, always saved" malarky.  It is a heckuva lot easier to just grab the latest translation of the Protestant Bible, say a Sinners Prayer (which is no where IN their Protestant Bible) and declare themselves done with the whole process.  It is difficult to be a mature Catholic, however, because it means challenging yourself every day to read, to study, to pray and to accept the Faith as it has been handed to us through Holy Mother Church.  Ultimately, while it can be a great deal of fun to explore and argue, debate and discuss, everything will come down to, "I believe because it seems logical and because the Church that Jesus founded says it is so and to reject her is to reject Him.  If she teaches error, then He is a liar.  God cannot lie, therefore, I accept her Teachings as Truth".

Many of my Catholic family are content with the teachings they were handed in their youth, and I have no problem with that - the Baltimore Catechism was strong and error free.  If they can cling to that faith, practice and honor the precepts of the Church during their lives on earth without being tempted into the Easy Bake Oven of Sola Fide then I have no problem with their level of understanding. 

I don't want to lose those people who were not solidly catechized as children, or who saw their parents not living as Catholics or who were abused by those who claimed to be good Catholics.  I hope, by teaching what I am assigned, to save those Catholics from slipping into error and walking away from The Eucharist.

We are getting a good response to the presentations.  I see young and old alike in the audience.  I am relieved to see people who are at daily Mass and people who can only get there on Sundays.  What I am experiencing is the joy of seeing Catholic united in their love for His Church, The Sacraments and Truth.

What I pray for is that those who have slipped and fallen and left Him will long to be reunited with Him through the Sacraments, and that they will come Home to Rome before they meet Him face to face.

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