Susan Smith is one of our regular retreatants here. She comes two or three times a year. She has a wonderful way expressing herself about her faith and I want to share something that she has written to me. She is very intelligent and a very delightful person to meet. This is her take on being Catholic. She is a very open person and respects all faiths, but loves her faith and has a deep loving relationships with Jesus Christ. I know that not everyone will agree with her, many hate the Catholic church, or believe we aren't Christian, or bring up our history which is very checkered, which all Catholics know about.....so you can respond in that vein if you want to, but I have heard it all so many times that it means little in the end.---BrMD
WHY I AM A CHRISTIAN/CATHOLIC
I take comfort and pleasure in my friendship with God. Why? It’s not because of the Heaven/Hell thing. (I question whether the former is that enjoyable, and I have strong doubts that I would "qualify" for the latter.) No, it’s more like the (first?) Clinton Administration, when people took pleasure in being known as “a F.O.B.,”—“a friend of Bill.” I’m a F.O.G.—a friend of God.
What do I receive in return for my status as a FOG? Like everyone else, I encounter lots of things that could go wrong in my life. But they don’t, by and large, in my life. Why? I regard it as “pay-back” by God for his friendship. They're "miracles" to the extent that there is no scientific explanation for their its occurrence. But they're not miracles of the scale that support canonizations. But so what? I appreciate small-scale miracles.
But there's another way that I "benefit" because I'm a F.O.G. When I do things called "corporal works of mercy" and "spiritual works of mercy," I do so, because God takes pleasure in my doing so. And what is our reaction when we do something for a person that we love? Happiness and pleasure.
If one wishes to be a F.O.G., must one be a Christian? Not necessarily, but it helps. Why? Because the revelation of what God likes and dislikes comes more clearly to Christians than to adherents of other religions. But, even if a Christian, why a Catholic? Because Catholics receive a revelations beyond those received by non-Catholic Christians, for example on the importance of “church.”
“Church” is the vehicle for revelations and sacraments. “Revelations” regarding both faith and morals are protected from “error” by God’s Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean that they’re always totally right, but only that they’re never entirely wrong. I see many Protestant denominations attempting to make God’s revelations fit with their own expectations; like: Wouldn’t It Be Nice If God Wants Us To Support Same-Sex Marriage?” The Catholic "magisterium" seems focus on what is God's will rather than what we may want God's will to be.
Then there’s the sacraments. I believe that God created, say, the Eucharist so that we can have a sense of togetherness with God that is lacking if the bread and wine are simply symbols. I don’t suppose that “confession” is the only means by which God can forgive sin, but it is a confirmation that he has done so.