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I am an Air Force wife and mother of three precious gifts from God. I enjoy learning at home with my children, and the many adventures this life sends our way. So stop by often to visit, and check out what the Five Nomads are up to.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Clarifying a few misconceptions. . .

One of my readers asked a question about the Catholic faith. It is my intent to briefly answer this question in layman's terms. While I have been learning with and teaching my children for the past 5-6 years, I do not pretend to be a scholar who is the authority. The more I learn, the more I am humbled and see the need to study. This isn't just MY Catholic faith. The Catholic Church was set up by Christ himself to be universal. For everyone to worship and live together.

So in the spirit of Ask Sister Mary Martha, here we go.

Tessa commented: Catholicism as... they love Mary more then they ever pay attention to Christ and then work their heaven w/ good deeds. I would love to know more about YOUR Catholic faith!!! Because, like I said, I am always very confused about that religion.

I think the key word here is confusion. Many people see a snippet of the Catholic faith, do not understand it, or study to find the truth, and are left with misconceptions. Here is my poor attempt at clearing that up. We'll start with Mary and the saints.

We Catholics do not worship Mary, but we do place her in high esteem. For she is the mother of our Lord. When we pray to the saints and Mary it isn't that we think they are equal to God. Rather, it is a lot like calling up your mom and saying, "I'm having a hard time, could you pray for me?" We do this because we believe we are in communion with the saints, and they can hear our prayers. (Basically just because they are dead doesn't mean they can't hear us.) Being they were very godly people, they will pray for us. Very much like your most trusted Christian friend. You know, the one who just lights up the room with their spirit. Mary and the saints are always pointing us in the direction of Jesus. It is our hope as Catholics that we would follow the example of the wonderful lives they lived for Christ.

As for the good deeds, we Catholics, like most Christians, are very aware there is NOTHING we could ever do that would be good enough to get us into heaven. Jesus died on the cross, and without that gift we would all be in some serious trouble. Through Baptism we are covered by that grace.

However, as a follower of Christ we are called to action. Jesus didn't say, "just believe in me and you are good to go." He calls us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Which is where the good deeds come in. Catholics believe we are to practice the seven corporal works of mercy.

Which are:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit those in prison
7. Bury the dead

This tradition is based on Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ’Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?’ And the king will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”

Tessa, thanks so much for asking these questions. Like you pointed out, just because someone says they are Catholic or Christian or whatever the label, doesn't necessarily mean they are practicing in the true spirit of their church. What I have found over the years is many Catholics have a poor understanding of church doctrine. They know what they are supposed to do, but don't really know the history or reasoning behind the ritual or belief. Let's cut them a little slack though. Seriously, there is over 2,000 years of history and tradition to cover.

Hey, let's be honest here. When you are talking the mysteries of Christ, well it gets heady. Which is why I love the Catholic Church. There are all of these REALLY smart people who help me to sort through it all, and figure it out. Sure it is messy. We, like every other faith out there, have some serious sinners in our midst (me being one of them). But when you get rid of the mess and sin, and study to find the true teachings of the church, you just can't go wrong. I don't have enough space on this blog to express my love of the rituals and sacraments of the church.

I think so many times we are always looking at differences instead of common ground. I often wonder what God thinks when He looks down and sees His children divided. My hope is that as Christians we can come to know the truth of Christ and one day be united. Then we would have a bit more of heaven here on earth.


  1. Nicely done Tami. One of the things that I like about the Catholic Church is the universal aspect of it. There are many Christian denominations out there that say that if you don't believe in exactly what they believe then you are condemned. Our faith does not teach that. We hold out that many of our fellow Christians have aspects of the truth and that they can be saved as well and we hold out hope that someday we will be unified as a single body of Christ which is what it was always intended to be. Let us come and reason together and focus on the things that unite us rather than separate us.

  2. I love what Phillip said about all Christians being saved. The God of my understanding is all love, and only gets angry at the injustices in this world. He would never condemn a soul to hell unless it was a soul not worth saving. This is the God I have to believe in, otherwise it won't work for me. I strongly believe that God looks in our hearts and is the final judge, no matter what Religion we choose, and that if he finds goodness in a Pagan heart, it will not go unnoticed. I know that is not "Christian", but it is loving, and my God is first and foremost, loving. It's been very hard to find a religion(in small town America) that doesn't want to exclude most of the human race.

  3. EXCELLENT answer! It is nice to see someone ASK about it. You are right. Too often, people just assume and don't look into the truth! It is refreshing!

  4. I'm just catching up on my blog reading. THANK YOU, thank you! That helps a lot. I always just went w/ what one of my growing up, girlhood friends told me about the faith. My mother, however, always told me just about what you said, that there are CHRISTIANS in every (well almost) church. That's not up to us to decide. Thank you for the great response, it clears a lot up for me:) I never did understand that Mary and saints thing. I understand what you mean now. I guess I personally don't agree w/ praying to anyone but God, but that's just me... that doesn't really mean you're right or I'm right... it's just what I know. I think when the rubber hits the road, all that matters is how you've lived your life to impact the Kingdom and what kind of personal relationship you have w/ Christ. And you are so right, we love to find all the differences instead of the common ground and love one another and just help each other grow... even if we don't always believe exactly the same thing. Some of that won't matter when we get to Heaven... so lets just love and edify one another!!! Thank you again for this post!!!!!