Hi! My name is Dawn and I am a Roman Catholic Christian woman. I love Jesus and everything He represents. My Christian faith is a defining characteristic of how I live my life, love the people around me, and make life decisions. One of my favorite lines from mass is “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church”. Why is this my favorite, you may ask?
Catholic Means Universal
While Catholic with a capital C defines a denomination of the Christian faith, catholic with a lower case c means universal. Think about that line. One, Holy, Universal, Apostolic Church. One large group of believers brought together by the love of Jesus Christ, who was willing to come down from heaven and walk among us. When the Lord looks down from heaven He sees one group of believers, all praising Him. He does not look down and see a group of Catholics over here and Baptists over there, and Methodists across the way. All He sees is one, holy, catholic, apostolic church praising His name.
My Experience with Division
The Lord may see us as one Church, but the earthly masses have not caught on to the message. Unfortunately for all of us, the universal church is divided. Often times each group is claiming their way is the only way and everyone else better get on board. I’ve experienced this in my own life. I’ve sat in Bible studies and been told the version of the bible I hold in my hands is incorrect and uninspired. People have openly questioned whether Catholics are going to heaven in my presence. Just last summer, I came across a Twitter thread stating that Catholics needed to repent and throw themselves at the foot of the cross and beg for salvation. My reaction is always the same, I love Jesus same as you!
My Christian Curiosity
I am a baptized and confirmed Catholic, who has worshiped in Baptist, Episcopal, and Non-Denominational Christian churches. When presented with opportunities to go to bible studies and Christian conferences of all denominations, I am all in. I read Christian literature written by people from all denominations. I know what makes us the same and am not afraid of what makes us different. When faced with people who have fallen away from the Catholic faith, my first response is “have you tried another church? Maybe you can find a better fit for you.” It is not necessary to give up on Jesus just because the tradition you were raised in doesn’t fit your current circumstances. You have options.
A Friend Who Shares My Passion
In the last year I connected with a fellow writer who shares my passion for the universal church. She loves Jesus with her whole self and is eager and interested to learn all the things from all the traditions. You can find her at Traces of Faith where she blogs about church traditions and everyday faith. She has a book coming out in the Spring of this year titled – All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are NotLost. When presented with the title, I felt as if she wrote the book just for me. I am eagerly awaiting its release. Traci and I connect often on Twitter and I love to read about what she is learning and her perspectives on different aspects of church traditions. If you are looking to feed your Christian curiosity, I highly recommend you check out her work.
Can We Form the Universal Church?
Here is a novel idea, what if we focus more on what makes us the same instead of what makes us different? Our traditions may be different. I am not arguing that we celebrate the Lord differently. But we share the most important part of our faith – Jesus. When I talk about faith with my children, I always tell them Jesus gave us the two most important rules to follow: 1. Love God, 2. Love People. I do not see love traditions, love judgement, or love being right. Jesus was both human and divine, so I don’t think he forgot to fit those things in. He was very clear in what was most important. Jesus has a spot for each one of us at the table; he is not taking attendance and seating us by group affiliation.
As we kick off Lent 2020, let us all pray about being one, holy, catholic, apostolic church. My prayer for this season of Lent is that we focus more on our similarities and less on our differences. In a world full of negativity and discontent, let us focus on Loving God and Loving People; more than being right and passing judgement. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for each of us to have a spot at the table, we only need to walk up and take a seat.