When I started RCIA, I what I was looking forward to at the end of the classes. I enjoyed learning everything I needed to know to become Catholic. I was already attending Mass regularly, so I knew how beautiful the Liturgy is. The music and and movements already had me hooked. More than anything, I was intensely looking forward to my first communion. Little did I know, everything I was experiencing was just scratching the surface. Come to find out, there were so many other things I would come to love. Here’s a few:
Why doesn’t every Christian faith kneel during church? I mean, it is all over the Bible that kneeling is something we do… a lot. I heard about how we should kneel in songs and in sermons, but I never saw it in most protestant churches. Kneeling might be my favorite thing we do in the Mass. I love having the opportunity to show humility to our Lord. I love knowing that a miracle is about to happen. I also love knowing that this is something people have been doing for over 2,000 years while in Mass.
2. A Love of Mary
During all my years as a protestant, Mary wasn’t much more than an afterthought. I never understood that, though. There is a passage in the Bible that always stuck with me and made me wonder why we didn’t give a little more attention to Mary.
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. – John 19:26-27
The words, “Behold, your mother!” That constantly rang in my head. There had to be something deeper there. Deeper than, “Hey bud, can you take care of my mom?” Come to find out, there is something deeper there: she become the mother of all Christians!
3. Gregorian Chant
Is there anything more beautiful than Gregorian Chant? If you don’t know what it is, you should Google it and look it up on YoutTube. As soon as you hear it, you will want to either take a nap or contemplate your entire spiritual past, present, and future. There is such a deep history, I mean, I can’t even begin to add it to this post because it deserves it’s own.
4. The Pope
I remember asking in RCIA, why do I need to care about the Pope? I don’t remember the answer. I’m sure I was fine with it. But, ever since then, I have come to love and admire the Pope. Especially our current Pope. Pope Francis is such a wonderful example of how to spread Jesus’s message through service and charity to others. Past Popes are inspiring as well. You can learn so much from them.
5. Church History
Seriously, I will never get completely caught up on Church History. But hey, that just means I will always have that to look forward to.
6. Living without artificial birth control open to life and love
This is actually what brought me into the Catholic Church. Once I read St. John Paul II’s Theology of The Body, I was sold. Once I understood that Church’s stance on birth control and making babies, I could not wait to apply it to my life. Everything about my marriage has improved. We are open to life every time we are intimate. We are both on the same page, because not using contraception encourages BOTH the husband and wife to share responsibility of fertility. Fertility and sexuality are such a huge part of marriage, and the Church has a great plan for it.
7. Written Prayers
When I was still Protestant, praying with others was one of the scariest things you could ask me to do. Talk about a huge spike in anxiety. Even though most Protestant prayers sound exactly the same, I never felt like I knew what I was supposed to say. If there is one thing that written or common prayers did for me, they taught me how to pray.
8. Babies And Children In Mass
I love watching children, especially my children, learn how to love Christ and the Eucharist just by sitting in Mass with their parents. It is such a beautiful reminder that Jesus LOVED children.
9. Using Words Like “Religion” & “Tradition”
To those who aren’t Catholic, the word “religion” smacks of zealots, emotionally and spiritually numb people who know only the motions, and none of the heart of their faith. But once I became Catholic I realized that religion is so much more than repeated motions. Those motions, like the Rosary, have a deep and powerful meaning to me. Likewise, the word “tradition” smacked of extra-biblical ideas and vain repetitions, completely missing the meaning of the gospel message. But I was wrong. Traditions are both biblical, and necessary to our faith.
For so long I avoided this, obviously after being Catholic. In time, as my heart and mind realized that this was not a punishment, but an enormous act of mercy and love, I took on a whole new outlook on reconciliation in the confessional. Making confession into a habit can be life changing, and I hope you continue to confess to your priest often, and detailed.