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As a Catholic I worship God.

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Two years ago I attended a Baptist service celebrating the Dedication of a friend’s baby to God. A  substantial service which consisted of a significant praise and worship segment, prayer, preaching and finally the dedication of little Noah. I was moved by the intense prayer for the baby during this part of the service. Four members of the church community (who seemed to have standing in the community) prayed over the baby. This was followed by tea and then a luncheon.

It was at the luncheon that  my daughter and I got chatting with a couple who were seated at our table. We discussed the service amongst other things and the conversation inevitably led to us discussing which church we belonged to. As soon as we said that we attend St. Joseph’s, an uncomfortable (albeit short) silence ensued and the conversation petered out after that.

On coming across the above poster recently, my mind was taken back to this encounter and yes, I understand now what my Catholicity may have represented to that couple. Their reaction was a plainly visible physical recoiling as they realised that we are Catholic.

This brings me to the sermon at Mass last Sunday. The picture on the bottom right of the poster brought me here, because what I do at Mass is exactly this, listen to the Word of God, and  praise Him in thanksgiving through song and prayer and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. We were reminded that the Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. That we should  give thanks for everything we have, freely and willingly. We should go to church every week to ‘freely and willingly’ give heartfelt thanks to God, not because we feel that it’s our duty to go, but because we want to thank God  for all He has done for us through Jesus. We were gently reminded too, that often-times Catholics take for granted the Great Gift that  we have in the Eucharist because that is what we’re used to having at Mass. There shouldn’t be an ‘ought’ attached to this weekly Worship. We should respond in true thanks-giving each week. If there is an ‘ought’ attached to our attending Mass, we should stop and think about our motives.

‘What is our calling as Christians? To thanks God. When all our worldly goods are removed from us and we are faced with the essential nature of our lives, the most important ‘thing’ that we are left with is God. We need to thank God for Him, because He is everything. We are totally dependant of God’s divine mercy. He gave Himself to us, and as an act of worship, we give thanks to Him for this.’ 

This is why I go to church.

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15 Comments

  1. Filipe de Melo

     /  October 20, 2013

    This article resonates with me, as I’ve also experienced the same confounded reaction from the part of our non-Catholic Christian brethren. I have just two short observations…

    The first, relates to the strange/peculiar habit Britons have of calling Catholics “Roman Catholics” (it’s on the poster), as if there were different types of Catholics. There aren’t. No one else in the world calls catholics “Roman”. It’s probably a hangover from the Henry VIII debacle, yet if people thought about it a bit they’d actually realise that it’s an oxymoron – Catholic means “Universal” and by implication you can’t have “Roman Universals”. We’re the same big family regardless of geography. While it’s true that the other apostolic (read Orthodox) Churches call us the Roman Church, the fact that the Papacy is based in Rome is incidental (If the Pope relocated to Jerusalem, would we suddenly become “Jerusalem Catholics”?). Call catholics “Catholics” and drop the “Roman” – it confuses people.

    The other point is this: the Church teaches that the main reason for the Mass is the perpetuating of the sacrificial offering which Christ instituted. We go to Mass because we’re commanded to, by His “Do this in memory of me”. We go to Mass to give thanks – yes, to worship – yes, for fellowship – yes, to the hear the Word of God – yes, to go to Communion – yes, but principally to partake in the Sacrificial offering, which is THE MOST important aspect of the Mass.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your insightful and accurate comments, Filipe. Great to have you visiting upstream.
      Yes, ‘we are commanded to, by His “Do this in memory of me…’ ‘… but principally to partake in the Sacrificial offering, which is THE MOST important aspect of the Mass’.
      As Catholics are raised knowing that we are commanded to partake in the Sacrificial offering of the Mass, but as the years go by, many lapse in their faith as they think of Mass as an ‘ought to go’ because of this. I think the sermon last week was used to remind us of Christ’s Sacrifice and that we should attend this Sacrificial offering every week in thanks-giving. If we’re are attending out of an ‘ought to’ position we need to question our motives for attending. Perhaps this perspective could lead to a disconnection from the Mass and eventually not attending Mass simply because we are commanded to.
      Understanding the why behind the ‘ought to’ may bring our lapsed brothers and sisters back into the fold.

      Reply
    • The reason why those in the UK speak of Catholics as “Roman Catholics” is because the Anglican Church, far more in their early days, oriented themselves much more with the Catholic tradition, theology, and worship than they did with either the reformed or Lutheran “protestant” churches coming into being in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. They still viewed themselves as “Catholics” but of an Anglican bent, rather than a Roman one.

      I really don’t believe Roman Catholic Church truly confuses anyone. I think it is actually more accurate as a denominational descriptor because the true catholic church, the Church Universal, encompasses believers within the RCC, baptist, reformed, pentecostal, Coptic, orthodox traditions and beyond. I am not a part of the Roman Catholic Church, but I am a member in the Church Universal.

      1CatholicSalmon, I loved this post. It is always good to read of those who are worshiping God in traditions different from my own. Be blessed.

      Reply
  2. I was struck by this post, your telling of the sudden uncomfortable silence at the table . . . I think most of us have had this experience at one time or another. Right after I read your post, I went to another one that I follow (apronheadlily: http://apronhead.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/and-god-weeps/) and it, too, dealt with this same thing. I reblogged it.

    A comment on a comment: As for the British calling us “Roman Catholics”, Americans do this, too. I don’t know the British reasons for that distinction but in my town we have 6 Catholic churches celebrating in the Roman rite, one in the Ukranian rite, and a short distance away a Chaldean rite priest celebrates the liturgy of that tradition when he can, and likewise, a Melkite priest. All are Catholic, all in communion with the Pope. All of the liturgies have differences in format and language, although not in purpose, meaning, nor essential elements. But we do make that distinction, in order to know more of where the other is coming from, and to understand their liturgy of the Mass. When you drive up to a church on Sunday that says “Ukranian Catholic Church” on the sign, you expect to have Mass celebrated differently, yet with just as much beauty and joy.

    Reply
  3. Great post – I laughed out loud at the poster, as we have all certainly experienced those differing viewpoints of Catholicism, and the uncomfortable silence with which we are sometimes greeted. I agree with your reasons why we should go to church, to offer our ceaseless thanksgiving and praise, but I wonder if “duty” can also be a fruitful reason? It seems that in moments of darkness in our lives, when perhaps our weaknesses blind us to God’s love and the joys of His grace, that our sense of “duty” which God has instilled in our hearts may be His Love at work within us? Maybe going out of a sense if duty falls short of the fullness of thanksgiving, but is nonetheless a lifeline God has given us to keep us on His path? Maybe I speak from too much personal experience here, from my own failings, but duty can be a blessing as well.

    Thanks for another great post as always!

    Reply
    • ‘It seems that in moments of darkness in our lives, when perhaps our weaknesses blind us to God’s love and the joys of His grace, that our sense of “duty” which God has instilled in our hearts may be His Love at work within us?’
      Such a comfort to think about and accept. A loving God indeed.

      Reply
  4. Miss Alexandrina

     /  October 22, 2013

    Reblogged this on Miss Alexandrina.

    Reply
  5. This is a fantastic post. I’m an Anglican but I’ve been to some services in Catholic churches and fundamentally we all believe the same thing as Christians – that Jesus died and rose again. I feel it’s so important to have communion regularly to remind ourselves of what Christ did for us.

    Rather than be prejudiced against each other, as Christians we should be supporting each other no matter what denomination we belong to. We live in a world which in parts is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian message and so we need each other to face these challenges together.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment. What is your view on the Ordinariate?

      Reply
      • I have to confess to being a bit ignorant here and not totally understanding what you mean by ‘ordinariate’. Are you referring to the clergy or lay people?

      • In the last three years or so , 80 Cof E clergy and their families were incorporated into the Catholic church and they now serve as Catholic priests.

      • Well I think it’s all to do with where you stand with your own conscience. If in all honesty, someone really can’t agree with female clergy, then I can understand that, although personally I don’t have a problem with female clergy.

        But I would take issue with those who don’t agree trying to undermine the Anglican communion by being polemical about it. By all means let those who wish to leave and join the Catholic church, but it would be good if it could all take place without too much bitterness on either side. That’s just not good for anyone involved.

      • Thanks for your comment.

  6. ‘Wat is onze roeping als christenen? Om dank God. Als al onze wereldse goederen worden verwijderd uit ons en we worden geconfronteerd met de essentiële aard van ons leven, het belangrijkste ‘ding’ dat we blijven zitten met God is. We moeten God danken voor Hem, want Hij is alles. We zijn volledig afhankelijk van Gods goddelijke genade. Hij gaf Zichzelf aan ons, en als een daad van aanbidding, geven we Hem dankbaarheid ervoor.Amen.

    Reply

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