This is a really short version of Why I am Catholic. Hopefully I will have a chance to share more about why I love the Church and how the Church helps me to love God even more every day.
I first “got saved” at summer camp the summer before 4th grade. The camp director asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus that they should stand up, so I did. I had an encounter with Jesus that week. A bunch of my friends did too. It was wonderful, and I knew that I would always live for him because of what he did for me.
Until a few weeks later when the Jesus high wore off. I remember wishing that it didn’t and that I would always feel that good about being a Christian, but it wore off. As a fourth grader I couldn’t really make sense of it. When I went back to camp I asked my counselor about it and he gave me some good advice. He said that sometimes we can get swept up in emotion and not let the Gospel penetrate us as deeply as we want it to. He never said I wasn’t saved, but he did say that it wouldn’t hurt me to stand up and give my life to Christ again. So I did. I “got saved” the summer before 5th grade at summer camp.
That one didn’t work either. Neither did the next few. At camp Malibu (a young life camp) I “got saved” again, for the last time. Malibu was amazing, and this time was different. I could drive now and so when the week was over I could go to a Church that I wanted to go to.
I didn’t like going to my family’s Church very much. Although I kind of thought it was cool to be Catholic, I really didn’t like Mass very much. Even though I went to Catholic School for 9 years, I really didn’t know what I was supposed to believe concerning Jesus or anything. The lesson that sticks out most in my mind was when my teacher taught us that the Pope was wrong about banning condoms and not ordaining women to the priesthood. So when my friend and I started going to the non-denominational Church near the local University, called The INN.
I loved the INN. Lots of young Christians who I could really relate to. I decided to keep going to the INN after I enrolled at the University.
I made a close friend at college who also went to the INN. He knew I was “Catholic” and one day asked me a series of questions which really caused me to think. I couldn’t answer these questions, which were very, very basic. When I gave protestant answers (like that we are justified by faith alone) he said that he was pretty sure the Catholic Church didn’t believe that. So I needed to figure it out. Was I Catholic? Was I Protestant? Was I something else like a Mormon? I honestly didn’t know. All I knew was that Jesus was very important to me and that I believed that he died to save me from my sins.
I decided to research the questions on Catholicism. I went to a Church near the University that was specifically for University students. I remember my first impression. I said to my self, “These people seem so… protestant!” They had zeal. They were every bit as committed to Jesus Christ as the evangelicals at The INN. And, they all knew why they believed what they believed. For every question I asked I received very deep answers. My sophomore year I prayed with these people, studied the Bible with these people, and hung out with these people. They changed me, and I found more depth in the Catholic Faith than I ever thought I would find.
I began to attend Mass every day. I grew closer to Jesus Christ by attending Mass daily, praying in front of his substantial presence in the Eucharist and saying the Rosary (yes, you do grow closer to Jesus through this prayer, and EVERY Christian should be encouraged to pray in this way). I even worked for the Ministry. I even came to understand that God had a special plan for my life. He wanted me to serve Him and His people as a priest. God willing, I will be ordained in June of 2011.
God gave me a great love for Him and His people. I feel called by him to share that Love by helping to straighten out many of the misconceptions held by protestants and non-Christian about what His Church teaches, so that they can enjoy all the gifts that God has given to His Church, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is the substantial presence of Jesus Christ. For this reason, I have begun DriscollWatch.