Do you ever find yourself defending the faith wherever you go?
Just recently I went out with a bunch of my friends to a local brewery. There were a few new faces among the group, so I was looking forward to making more friends.
No one mentioned that I am a practicing Catholic; the only thing that was brought up was the fact that I go to church on Sunday.
That must have been enough information for one of the gals, because later on she asked me a series of questions about what the Church teaches about sex.
I realize that most of my conversations about the faith start with clearing up preconceived ideas about what the Church teaches. “No, the Church doesn’t hate sex. She teaches that sex is a good and holy thing in the context of marriage between a man and a woman.”
As the discussion continued my new friend tells me she is sorry that I am so closed minded and a slave to the rules of the Catholic Church. (Sigh … like I haven’t heard that one before.)
I respond with a smile and explain it in this way: Imagine you are an inventor of a car. You are so proud of your invention and can’t wait to share it with consumers. On the first day your car is at the dealership someone wants to purchase it. You walk up to the buyer and say, “I know exactly how this car works. By following the guidelines in this instruction manual you can keep the car performing at top levels and increase the life of the car. You are going to love it!”
The buyer rolls his eyes at you and says, “No, thanks. I will do whatever I want.”
Several years later the buyer returns and he wants a full refund. He says he is unhappy with the car and its performance. Wanting the best for your customer and to improve your invention, you investigate.
On further inspection, you discover that after 100,000 miles the oil was never changed, the filters never switched out and the tires were never rotated. “Of course you aren’t happy; you aren’t doing what is best for the car!”
God is that inventor. He knows what we need. He knows what will make us happy. The instruction manual is the teachings of the Church.
Dignitas Personae states:
“There are those who say that the moral teaching of the Church contains too many prohibitions. In reality, however, her teaching is based on the recognition and promotion of all the gifts which the Creator has bestowed on man: such as life, knowledge, freedom, and love.”
The Church values life and that is why she teaches that abortion is wrong. The Church values freedom and that is why she warns against the slavery of pornography. If the Church says it is not OK there is always a good reason for it.
Being a faithful Catholic is hard sometimes. It is frustrating when everyone around you is doing whatever they want and it seems like you are the only one keeping the faith. Why does God have to ruin our fun all the time?
The Church doesn’t give these guidelines to punish us, but to help us achieve earthly bliss. The Church in her wisdom knows that committing sin will never make us happy. Only union with God can fill our hearts.
So next time someone complains to you about your Catholic “rules,” give them a wink and tell them you have the instruction manual for eternal bliss.