5 Things You Need to Know About The Catholic Church
1 - It isn't what you think it is. Catholicism isn't just a set of doctrines or a hierarchy of clergy. Catholicism isn't just a moral code or social teachings. It is much more than we could ever know. The Church isn't so easily definable, which is why we have so many different ways of describing it - the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the people of God, etc. What we need to know is this - The Church's identity is wrapped up into the person of Christ and thus shares in the mystery of God. When we think we "know" the Church, we are fooling ourselves. This is why continued education about God's Church is so important.
2 - The Trinity really does matter. Many Catholics wouldn't care if the Pope declared that we don't need the Trinity anymore, because it makes no difference in most Catholics' daily lives. But, it really does matter. Why? Because if God is a communion of persons, a family, and we are made in God's image and likeness, then our families and relationships are called to reflect the same kind of relationship found in the Trinity - the gift of self to another - true love. This is where the paradox of the Gospel finds a foundation. To gain life, we must lose ourselves. To live is to die. To die is to live. All because of the Trinity.
3 - The Incarnation changes everything. An all-powerful, eternal, all-knowing, divine being decided to create the universe and then he becomes one of the creatures he created. This is mind-numbing. Furthermore, in humbling himself to take on our flesh, he raises up our nature to a greater dignity - one that now shares in his own nature. We share in God's nature. This is flabbergasting. The world is never the same and all of creation and time revolves around this one moment - when God becomes one of us. Our response should be to see God in all of his creation, but most importantly in all of humanity, including ourselves.
4 - The Church is beautiful. Because of the first three truths above, we can now see the beauty of the Church. Is the Church full of sinners? Certainly. But, we sinners are not the source of the Church's beauty, God is. We are called to reflect this beauty as best we can, but true beauty is found in the being of God, who is beauty itself. The Church reflects Christ beauty to the world. Through the Saints' lives, the Cathedrals and artwork, through the music and songs, and through the teachings of the Church. It is in these ways we see God's beauty rise up for a world that focuses all too often on what is ugly.
5 - The world needs the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has the answer for all the world's problems in the fullness of truth and the fullness of grace she offers to the world. The Church gives us a moral anchor, an answer to broken families, addiction, sin, war, violence, abuse, and all the other issues in our culture. More than ever the world needs the Catholic Church, if our society is to last. This answer is the personal relationship with Jesus that the Catholic Church offers to us all through the Sacramental grace, teachings of the Church, and in our own personal prayer we all need.
Jesus created one Church. We are that Church, the Catholic Church. If the world needs the Catholic Church, then the Church needs saints. We need to be holy if we are to change the world.
Time to do our part. Time to be holy. Time to change the world. This is what we all need to know - and do.