I Love The Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who Lives Within Me, Now and Forever. Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Is it safe to be Catholic?

By: Bertha Peralta (Our Lady of Esperanza Church)

When one asks the question “Is it safe?” this usually means that the person that is asking this question has some kind of fear or doubt. But when this question is in reference to our religion, does this mean that one doesn’t trust God? Or that one doesn’t love Him enough? Well, the answer to both of these questions is “NO!” It is normal, especially for young people like us, to question what our lives will be like now that we are getting into a closer relationship with God. Will our lives change? ABSOLUTELY! Will there be sacrifices involved? OF COURSE! We all know that, but then the question becomes “by how much?” And also, “what will our friends and family think of these changes?”

When it comes to the first question, “by how much?” one can look at the answer this way: when we decide to get closer to Jesus, we’re not only letting Jesus into our lives, but we are also opening the doors to a whole new set of family members (in addition to the ones that you already had). For Jesus said, “…whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt. 12:50). This family is the Church, and as such, we are called not only to care for and help one another, but we are also called to love one another as well. Therefore, our lives start changing in the sense that our lives are not only filled with more people, but it is also filled with love.

Then the question of the family and the friends comes up: “what will our family and friends think of these changes?” Well, they are the perfect opportunity for you to exercise the calling that we as Catholics have to be evangelizers. The Scriptures say: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…[to] proclaim the word: be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage, through all patience and teaching” (2Tim 4:1-2), meaning that we all have the responsibility to not only keep ourselves close to the faith, but help all of our peers do the same. This seed of responsibility is planted at Baptism, watered at the Eucharist, and reaped at Confirmation (our three Sacraments of Initiation).

You might be asking yourself “how is this possible?” or “what can I do?” You can start by inviting them to Mass. Then you can invite them your youth group or to any of their activities. Talk to them about what you do, share the love that you have for Jesus! It does not matter if you feel that you are too young, remember: “Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity” (1Tim 4:12). Some of you might be shy about it, or even embarrassed by it, but the thing is that by doing these things “… you will save both yourself and those who listen to you” (1Tim 4:16).

But sometimes it is hard to do these things, mainly because we feel embarrassed. I think that perfect example of that is when we start realizing that there are certain customs and traditions that we as Catholics have to start adhering to. For example, it is a custom for us to do the sign of the cross whenever we pass in front of a Catholic Church. Usually, we either do it very quickly, which ends up looking like a “garabato” (weird gesture). Or, worse yet, we end up not doing it all, because we are either weirded out by this (“What if somebody sees me?”) or, if we are with our family and/or friends, we wonder “what will they think?” But you see, the closer we get to God, especially through the Eucharist, the less embarrassed or weirded out we’ll feel, and the prouder we’ll be of being Catholic, for “…God did not give us a spirit of cowardice [shyness] but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…” (2Tim 1:7-8)

It is this spirit of love that will give us the courage to see that not only is
it safe to be Catholic, but also we will let others see through our life that this is so. Remember, we must use the gift of love and faith to not only love God, but to love and support others as well, for the Scriptures say: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another” (1John 4:11), and this has to be done through good and bad times. We are all brothers and sisters, and as such we must behave. Take an interest in each other’s lives, help each other out, and try to spend time together, because we are all in this and we all have our fears, doubts, and insecurities. But you see, God is not only with us always, but He has also provided us with the courage to keep going through life, not alone, but with the support of our whole family, which is the Church.

So… is it safe? Well, YES, it is!!! Not only is it safe, but also it is beneficial, for, as we have seen, when we become Catholic, not only do we come closer to Christ, but we also gain a whole new set of family members, a whole lot of love, and, in the process, we help the ones we love to lead a better life as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home