Ever wonder why some Catholics seem a little “overboard” with the faith? Celebrating a Saint’s feast day every week, going to Daily Mass, and constantly pondering on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas? Well maybe they’re not “too into it,” perhaps you might not be experiencing all that the Church has to offer! Here’s seven epic things (in no order) about being a practicing Catholic that you might not be aware of.
1. Heaven on Earth
The Catholic lifestyle revolves around the source and summit of the faith: The Holy Eucharist. With spiritual authority tracing directly back to the twelve apostles, any legitimately ordained Catholic priest has the authority (and privilege) to turn unleavened bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. Not a symbol, but a sacrament. God being mystically present in every tabernacle throughout the world, the Catholic Church literally is Heaven on Earth.
2. Whole Lotta Partying
Have you ever looked closely at a liturgical calendar? I’m not only talking about how Christmas and Easter last longer than a day, but also the multitude of feast days throughout the year celebrating the multitude of saints! Want to find a reason to buy ice cream and celebrate something? Chances are the Saint whose feast day is being celebrated is relevant to your life (besides them being a Saint, of course). They might share your name. They might be the patron of your field of work or hobby that you partake in. They might even be your confirmation Saint! Regardless, most days of the year (besides days of penance) are the feast of a Saint worth partying for.
3. Always Improving
Unlike protestant denominations, the Catholic Church teaches that “it ain’t over til’ it’s over.” There’s no such thing as “once saved always saved” while living the life of a practicing Catholic. It takes consistent obedience to God’s will and living life according to His teachings. This mentality, like other aspects of Catholicism, touches every aspect of an individual’s life. Ever fear getting lazy in school, sports, or your career? Just look to the wisdom of the Church for inspiration on being the best you can be.
4. Aptitude for Learning
Who proposed the theory of the expansion of the universe? Fr. Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest. Who was the first woman to earn a PhD in computer science? Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller, a Catholic religious sister. Who conducted experiments on genetics leading to modern conclusions on heredity? Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian friar. With deep historic roots, great thinkers, and consecrated men and women who have made fascinating scientific discoveries, the members of the Church have and still do play an important role in academic prowess.
5. Serving Others
It would come as a surprise to those who proclaim, “feed the poor, sell the Vatican,” that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable institution in the world, and that’s just taking physical poverty into account. Caring for the whole person is seeing them in the image and likeness of God, and since the Christ commands us to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy to our neighbors, it is our duty to serve all people physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually.
6. Sustainable Community
Sustainability seems to be all the hype among social justice warriors today. But has anyone ever considered that the most sustainable community on the planet is the Catholic Church?! 2,000 years later and still growing, human history itself is strong evidence for the stability of the Church which Christ Himself promised the protection of the Holy Spirit until the end of time. Because of the responsibility that Catholics have to live simply and balance our lives with work, prayer, and recreation, there is no need to overindulge in food, money, or entertainment, resulting in a community that survives on love of God and neighbor. It’s at least worth checking out.
7. Life to the Full
When pursuing a life of holiness, joy, dedication, intellect, service, and accountability, why would you expect anything less of a well rounded, fulfilling life? And the best piece of the deal is that the goal isn’t even to have a fulfilling life, but a higher purpose which is spending eternity with God.
Not everyone has a shot at a life with the opportunity to know Christ from a young age and freely practice faith in Him. These aspects of the Catholic lifestyle are not what any of us are entitled to, but what is available for us all today due to the prayers, sweat, and bloodshed of the saints before our time. Realize how fortunate you are to be Catholic today and live the faith to the full!