But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them or be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.
1 Peter 3:14-17
For so many years I was afraid of being open about my faith. I was also timid to admit I was Catholic.
Would my beliefs be challenged?
Would I be confronted and have no answers, only to concede that I did not know the faith I professed?
Would one of unbelief have the words to convince me that my faith is in vain?
Would I be ridiculed for the Church’s teachings, many of which seemed to me at the time, to be so out of touch with today’s reality?
I think what I was most afraid of, if I am being completely honest, is that I would not fit in. What I didn’t realize, is that I am not supposed to. I didn’t understand that following Jesus is not supposed to be easy. We are called to seek the narrow gate, even though the way is hard. While others are seeking the easy route; blissfully filing through the wide gate, which unfortunately can lead to destruction. (MT 7:13-14)
I was a coward! I was conforming MYSELF to the world so that the world would love me. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be who the world said I should be and believe what the world professes to be true. I didn’t realize that as Christians, we are set apart. We are called to holiness. We aren’t supposed to do what “they” do, or say what “they” say.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean I will ever be perfect. It doesn’t mean that I have not sinned in big ways – I have! But the Lord is merciful indeed and I am so thankful that I now have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The more I reject the ideals of this world, and instead put my trust and hope in the Lord – the greater my sense of peace and joy.
So, where does my hope come from?
It comes from the LORD and it gives me the peace and blessed assurance that I need to confidentially proclaim His truth. This is something I am working on doing more and more – but fear still creeps in sometimes.
Through my deep desire to know my faith and understand what it means to be a Catholic, I made a remarkable discovery. The Church is so wise. Thanks to solid Catholic resources, along with reading and studying the Bible, I now understand the “whys” behind many of Her teachings. Teachings which I only rejected before, because I didn’t understand them. I love, honor and respect Holy Mother Church.
What or who has helped me on this exciting faith journey? All glory goes to God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Through a burning desire to know more, I have discovered some magnificent Catholic resources that I highly encourage you to explore:
Relevant Radio (I use the App and listen to so many programs)
These are just a few of the dynamic resources that I found to help me understand my faith! There are a ton of others. Don’t be overwhelmed by the list, just pick one or two to explore. You’ll soon find yourself looking for others though, so keep this list handy!
Let me just leave you with this:
God desires us all to be part of His one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. He desires us to lead others to Him and build up His Kingdom on earth and He gives us the grace to do this. He desires us to be holy and dwell with Him forever in Heaven. He desires us to be filled with peace and joy.
Brothers and sisters, we are called to much more than what this broken world can offer us, but while we are here, we must be beacons of light and love for others.
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
― Saint Teresa of Ávila
God’s Peace Be with You!