Thursday, November 21, 2013

Waking Up Is Hard to Do

If you were to stumble across a motionless human body, you could determine if the body was alive via signs, like a heartbeat or breathing. Observing these signs, one could say the body is alive, but only alive in a minimal sense.  A human fully alive would have many more signs of life like dancing, playing, working, loving, learning, etc.

The same is true for waking-up. Upon observing signs like siting, walking, talking, etc. one could say a person is awake, but perhaps not fully awake, like the person not fully alive. We might experience a waking up process every morning feeling tired, slow and groggy at first, but energetic after a baptism of sorts in a hot shower.

Of course the signs are never the destination. Signs always point to something else, so the signs of being fully alive or awake point to perfect being itself. If God is perfect being itself, then the glory of God is seen in a person fully alive.

Why all this talk about waking up? I recently read Waking Up Catholic by Chad Torgerson from Assisi Media. The book is geared toward those converts, reverts, or anyone just waking up Catholic, perhaps still groggy with blurred vision under the towering sky of Catholic light. The author brings his perspective based on personal experience being first an atheist, then a non-denominational Christian and then finally waking up Catholic.

I’ve heard it said that theology is the highest science. Catholic theology is bright & beautiful, but like any high science, challenging to understand, and like any bright light, difficult to see. It’s all too easy to just turn way from a bright light or to simply mock what we do not understand. Chad’s book presents a very readable overview of the aspects of Catholicism that are thorny to non-Catholic Christians or just unknown to anyone unfamiliar with the faith.

On Sacred Tradition: Learn about tradition with a capital “T” that ultimately comes from God (not men). How important is it to understand this correctly? Well, it’s only the major dividing factor between Catholics and other Christians. Although Christ’s revelation is complete, our understanding of it continues to grow and mature through the centuries and this is where Sacred Tradition comes into play.

Examples are most helpful:
How does the Word of God come to us? How did Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob pass on the Word of God? They had no scriptures (no Torah). It was via tradition. How did the early Christians pass on the Word of God before the New Testament was written; at Bible study? No, it was via tradition. Even today, how does the canon of the Bible come to us? It comes from Sacred Tradition. How do we know that? We know that because the Bible itself does not attest to its own canon.
Instructions NOT found

How does the teaching of the Trinity come to us? The Bible? No, it comes from Sacred Tradition. The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible and there are verses that imply Jesus is not God. Additionally, the Holy Spirit can easily be interpreted as an allegory for the power of God, not an actual third person.

How does the teaching of marriage as one man and one woman come to us? The Bible? No, once again it comes from Sacred Tradition. There is nothing in scripture that says a man cannot have more than one wife.

On the Guardians of the Faith: Learn the truth about ministerial priesthood and other religious orders that preach and teach the gospel and serve the needy. No other Church has the rich history and long standing teachings of the Catholic Church. The gates of Hell have not prevailed thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we are the body of the Church, the guardians are surly the backbone!

On Mary and the Saints: The Catholic teachings on Mary and the saints are just as true as any other Sacred Tradition mentioned above. Learn the difference between worshiping and venerating and learn why this doesn’t need to be such a deep & complicated point of division.

On the Eucharist: Learn how this is a standing or falling point (see John 6:60 & 66). See how the author woke up to an amazing truth instead of turning away from it forever.

On Confession: Dig into the Biblical roots of Jesus passing on his authority to forgive sins on to mere men and how the earliest Christians confessed their sins to one another. Beyond this, the scriptures are clear about mortal sins (or deadly sins) and those that are not deadly. Even for those who hold tight to Bible alone theology, there is no denying the distinctions in sin and that some cannot be simply “prayed away” (see 1 John 5:16-17).

On Action: Get tips on who should evangelize, why evangelize and how to evangelize. The clergy shepherd the flock, but it’s our job to help it grow. Just as someone once planted a seed in you, you should plant a seed (or two) in others. Why? The author summed it up well. “The world is crumbing underneath the weight of selfish desires and sinful lifestyles. Now more than ever, society needs to re-embrace Christ as her Savior.”

I'm often surprised how many Catholics don't know that the word Catholic comes from the Greek word “katholikos”, which means universal, and what an appropriate word that is. To wake up Catholic is to find yourself in a universal Church that was founded for everyone. Universal, not in the sense of accepting everything, but to understand everything as God reveals it to be; to wake up to the fullness of faith; a worldwide light so bright that it reveals the grains of truth contained in everything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment