I posted about my love for the liturgical year a couple of days ago. There are heaps of other things I love about being Catholic. I picked up this list from another convert, Chris Hoyt, at Practical Christian Mysticism:
#10) Social Drinking – Seriously, I love being able to go out after a parish event with fellow parishioners and know I can order a drink without worrying about offending the “Jesus turned water into grape juice” guy.
#9) Cool Accessories – I admit, I love accessories. Rosaries, medals, scapulars, etc. add a tactile elements to religion I enjoy. What I really like is that I feel less stupid holding a Rosary during a prayer, which has generations of history and meaning, than a “Prayer of Jabez” lucky coin.
#8) Art and Style – I love great art (like art that requires hard work, not that “my kid could paint that” stuff). The Catholic Church is stuffed full of centuries of art. I am always surrounded by works of expression by those who love Jesus Christ.
#7) Bigger Bible – I always wanted a sequel to Proverbs.
#6) Catholic Radio – This is probably one of the major factors that lead me to the Catholic Church. I listen to the American Catholic Radio podcast every week as well as Catholic Answers and my local station. I virtually never hear a word about Iraq, Hilary Clinton, or the real estate crash. Catholic Radio is timeless, talking about things that are relevant to our souls and everyday life instead of fads and temporary issues.
#5 ) Knights of Columbus – Great life insurance! I’d tell you more, but then I would have to kill you… (just kidding… or am I?)
#4) Blessings – I have been using blessings and purifications for years. Most evangelicals consider that “voodoo”, but now I get the bonus of having a priest who can do it with the whole authority of the Church!
#3) I Can “Come Out” – Many evangelicals think you attend Hogwarts and ride a broomstick when you say you are a “mystic”. When I tell Catholics I am a mystic, they usually know what I am talking about and start talking about St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
#2) Saints – It is like collecting baseball cards as a child. The Catholic Church has a vast history of people who broke the norms and rose above the world they were in. It is hard to find role models these days for genuine faith, so having a well documented history of thousands of individuals who overcame the world and achieved the miraculous is an inspiration. It is also nice everyone has a “Patron Saint” that relates to their particular circumstances.
#1) The Real Eucharist – No more Welch’s and saltines for me! Reading letters by the Early Church Fathers lead me to realize just how much they cherished the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church’s dedication to keeping the sacred and divine nature of Eucharist intact is probably the greatest driving force for myself, and many others, to convert.
Good list. I agree with lots of that. Not so much Catholic Radio, but I do love Catholic TV (we get EWTN on Freeview). And the accessories really are way cool, even if the Jesus portrayed in the Divine Mercy picture does look as if he’d have to go into the house for a lie-down if he had to get up on a ladder and hammer in a couple of nails. I also love the traditions and practices, some of which have leaked into the mainstream culture and been transmuted (gold into plastic – sad), but most of which I’m still uncovering and discovering. Catholic culture has neat recipes for its holidays, did you know?
I also love the people I pray with. In every parish I’ve known a few elderly women who have been faithful all their lives and who have peace coming out of the pores of their skin. They’re a great gift and a blessing to all who are privileged to know them. And the other kind are a blessing, too, teaching us tolerance, patience, and tact (which are good to have). My current parish has far more of the first sort (and lots of younger saints in training), and fewer of the second than I’ve been accustomed to in the past.
I love the prayers – even the ones that sound kind of odd to modern ears. I especially love the Divine Office, which brings me to the next point.
I love the liturgies. It’s interactive theatre, and its fun. Yes, I know it’s a lot more than interactive theatre, but it is at least that, and when it is done well, with everything going like clockwork, the music well chosen, the symbols of the particular liturgy meaningful and beautiful – it’s stirring stuff even without the deeper dimension. Who didn’t get a tingle down their spine during the litany of the saints at Pope JPII’s funeral?
And I love the priests I’ve known. Perhaps it is the nature of the role; perhaps it is the fact that they’ve made a thoroughly counter cultural commitment, but many priests don’t seem to feel the same need to fit in that afflicts most people, and makes them keep their idiosyncracies firmly squashed. It makes them a lot of fun.