Patrick Ward writes…
“The trouble we have at the moment,” said an old friend of mine I bumped into at St Mary’s in Twickenham today, “is that not enough people are saying what is so good about being a Catholic these days. We usually only hear the bad and the misrepresented.”
So, I thought, in these few days of the Pope’s historic visit to the UK why not share some thoughts on what is so good about being a Catholic? Now I don’t want to do this alone. Surely one of the greatest things about the faith is its… well, it’s catholicism (small ‘c’), its richness, its depth and its breadth. So if you happen to read this blog and want to share your own ideas on what is so good about being a Catholic, please comment.
But to start you off, I will share three of my own ideas:
- Community. The Catholic faith brings people together. This might be through the weekly parish gatherings or great events like we are experiencing this week. I’m not the kind of person who goes to many Catholic gatherings or groups but I can say, hand on heart, that some of the most cherished times of my life have been on group pilgrimages or through attending faith events with others. Being a Catholic can provide a wonderful sense of community.
- Family. For me, Catholicism has enriched the relationships I have with members of my family. Through difficult times, the faith and the tradition we share acts like glue which holds us together no matter how much we may want to pull apart. Our faith gives us a very real experience of grace. I appreciate that this is not true for all and that family relations can often seem irreparable, but this is very much my personal experience.
- Prayer. How strange and useless prayer must seem to people of no faith. And yet for me it provides such enormous strength that I wonder how people live without it! In my late teens / early twenties, I went through something of a prayer-rebellion when the standard prayers – the Our Father’s and the Hail Mary’s – seemed repetitive and nonsensical. Now, I greatly rely on these prayers, especially the rosary, as a pillar of my prayer-life. Ah, the arrogance of youth…
So there’s three. What else is so good about being a Catholic these days?