Linking up today with Micaela for
1. The Eucharist. Need one any other reason to love Catholicism? Imagine my surprise, as a devout Protestant Christian, to discover that Jesus, who I’d known personally since I was 5 years old, was actually, bodily present in every Tabernacle in every Catholic parish in the world. Now I understood the Presence I’d been drawn to when I walked into any Catholic church, a Presence I did not feel in the beautiful Protestant churches I’d visited in the U.S. and in Europe. I am still growing in my understanding of the Eucharist and in allowing Him to transform my life, but I do recognize it now as the greatest gift the Catholic church offers to me and to the whole world.
2. Vocation. People often use this word to describe various jobs or ministries they enjoy or feel drawn to. However, in the Catholic church, your vocation is not your job, but your “state in life,” married, single, or religious (priest, monk, or nun). Your vocation is your primary means for growing in holiness. I find this distinction helps me keep my priorities straight. My primary task on earth right now is to live out the Christian faith as a wife. Not even motherhood–though certainly it’s very much related to my vocation–should come before this first priority.
3. World Youth Day These huge international gatherings of Catholic young people occur every few years, and are sponsored by and led by the pope. My husband and I got to attend WYD 2002 in Toronto, one year after coming into the Church and one month after getting married. I will never forget the sense of the catholicity of the Church I had by being surrounded by people of all nationalities who all loved our beautiful faith. I will also never forget the incredible presence of Pope John Paul II, soon to be Saint John Paul II, bent with age but overflowing with fatherly love for all of us.
The story of the tremendous storm that stopped moments before JPII began the outdoor closing Mass has become famous (though none of us who were camping out for the overnight vigil knew there were tornado warnings and that the folks in charge were considering evacuating us!) and apparently something similar happened at the Denver WYD a few years before.
I love the hope that the Catholic church has for young people, as in these words from Blessed John Paul II’s closing homily…
“You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the Pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.”
The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in WYD. Remember how Pope Benedict XVI was elected pope months before WYD was to be held in Germany (site chosen years before)? And now Pope Francis elected just months before a WYD scheduled in South America. If only he’d swing by Texas on his way home this summer!
Thank you for hosting, Micaela!