Why Are You Catholic?
I’m sometimes asked the question, “Why are you Catholic?” I’m asked this most by my students because they are natural seekers of truth. The inquiry is simple, but the response, I have found, is not easily formulated, and nowhere close to simple. Yet, despite the inclination to reveal a philosophically and theologically convoluted answer, I often respond with, “Because I love Christ and the Church he has ordained.”
While my response seems simple, it nevertheless answers the inquiry in a more fruitful and better way than any other answer could. However, since all children are naturally curious, such an answer will not suffice. They will go on to ask, as my students often do, for an explanation of the response. At this point I would further explicate my answer with something like this:
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that the things we love reveal to us who we really are. Since being a Catholic means that I am open to the transformation by Christ and his Church to become a person who pursues Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in a more perfect way, it therefore means that the reason I am Catholic is because I love God and his Church.
Yet, whatever our answers to the question may be, it should be genuine and honest, through both words and actions. Our answers must be simple enough for our children to understand, but also complex enough so as to rouse further curiosity from them, which hopefully leads to further fruitful discussions about our faith. And our actions must reflect our answers so that we may show our children that we are “doers of words and not hearers only,” as St. James puts it.
May the Holy Spirit give us the wisdom and humility to be bearers and doers of the Word.
(John Huyhn, Theology Teacher, Dowling Catholic High School)