Why am I a Catholic?
I do not think that such a thing as "being" a Catholic exists. It is a fiction. Neither does thinking make me a Catholic [See the post entitled 'Safari']. Whether or not my thinking is 100% consubstantial with the official thinking of the Catholic Church is irrelevant to my Catholic identity [See the post entitled, 'Instant Catholics']. What defines me as a Catholic is that I am seeking God at the Catholic holy places. I desire to find God and I look for them at the Catholic holy places.
Where are the Catholic holy places?
Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. Godlessness is not a nice place. To rescue us from godlessness, God established an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, and entrusted the map to the Church.
What takes place at a holy place?
At a holy place, a close encounter with the living God takes place. During a close encounter with the living God, we include God in our lives and God includes us in theirs. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. During a close encounter at a holy place, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness.
The mission that God gave to the Church was to lead a new exodus as the new Moses on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land. The escape from godlessness to God is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect (Matthew 23:13) (Matthew 23:24) (Matthew 6:33). The mission of the Church is to be grease for the wheels of the escape not an obstacle in its way. The mission of the Church is facilitate the escape not to filter it.
Godlessness is a sinking ship. The Church is its crew. We are its passengers. The mission of the Church is not to save the ship but to save its passengers. The mission of the Church is to get all of the children of Adam and Eve into the life boats - all not some - and on their way to safety - regardless of whether their thinking is less than 100% consubstantial with the official thinking of the Catholic Church - regardless of whether they are sinners or saints. The Church is forbidden to judge.
Examples of the holy places upon the earth at which close encounters with the living God take place are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, suffering, the hour of death, etc.
The movement of the new exodus forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction.
But why? Why am I seeking God at the Catholic holy places? Why have I joined the new exodus on the Catholic escape route from godlessness to God? What motivates me? My parents, Adam and Eve, took me into godlessness. Why don't I stay there? Why pull up stakes? Why uproot myself and make my escape?
I have tasted with my own mouth the sourness of godlessness. Sickness. Death. Tragedy. Adversity. Injustice. Betrayal. Etc. Life is hard. Predators desire to devour the sheep. My rationality tells me that godlessness is not a nice place. My rationality tells me to run for the exit. The sourness of godlessness pushes me through its exit.
I have been shown the sweetness of paradise and promised a taste. For thirty three years, the Son of God visited us at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of the earth known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. The birth of the Son of God in a stable convinced me that God is humble. The miracles of the Son of God convinced me that God is kind. The survival of the Son of God after we tortured and killed Him convinced me that God is omnipotent. The survival of His love for us after we tortured and killed Him convinced me that essence of divinity is indestructible love for us. My rationality tells me to run to the entrance of paradise. I have a sweet tooth. The sweetness of paradise pulls me through its entrance. Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of such a King?
A potential difference exists between the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise. The Son of God became the bridge between godlessness and paradise so the current of salvation would flow. I feel the current. It is rip. It pushes me away from godlessness and pulls me into paradise. It flows from godlessness through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ into the loving embrace of the Son of God. I go with the flow. I drift with the current. I let it carry me home.
Why do I patronize the Catholic holy places?
For more than two thousand years, the Catholic Church has explored the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Its experience has given it great confidence in its understanding of God and earns it great credibility. Over the years, It has accumulated a vast treasure chest of knowledge of God. It has the map. It knows the way.