March 18, 2011

Catholic Evangelization Outreach / Tom Yost

What I like about being Catholic

I have had the pleasure and privilege to direct the Rite of Christian Initiation at my parish for several years. One of my favorite ways of communicating to our catechumens and candidates is by beginning a sentence with, “What I like about being Catholic is …”

I wish that more Catholics would share our faith from this perspective. There is a lot to like and to be grateful for as Catholics. One of the many things that I like about being Catholic is our tradition and treasure of prayer.

Let us begin with the Sign of the Cross. This is a simple prayer that witnesses our belief in the Trinity. We make a profession of faith every time we do it. It reminds us of our baptism. I like the way we begin and conclude prayer with the Sign of the Cross.

I like the Mass. I tell the RCIA folks that the Mass is a “celebration,” not just an “obligation.” We proclaim the Word of God, and celebrate the Eucharist each time we gather for Mass. The Mass is our greatest prayer, drawing us to know, love, receive and serve the Lord.

I like how Catholics pray the holy Scriptures. The Lectionary gives us an organized and descriptive “portrait” of God. I like how we encourage study and reflection as we pray—and live—the Scriptures, and I appreciate our models for praying the Scriptures, such as lectio divina.

I like how Catholics pray through music. I like singing those wonderful Scripture prayers, the psalms, at Mass. I like how we receive the word of God, and express it in poetry and music through a variety of vocal styles and instruments. I like how music moves our heart and soul to feel the friendship and love of God.

I like the way that Catholics pray as a community. I like that we pray with the communion of saints and angels. I like that we have prayers passed down to us from the saints, like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick. I like that we pray for the living and the dead.

I like Catholic intercessory prayer. I like how we ask Mary, the Mother of God, to intercede for us in prayer. I like how we approach her as our Mother. I like the many ways that prayer with Mary leads us closer to her Son.

I like our treasure of traditional prayers. The “Our Father,” “Hail Mary” and “Glory Be” help us pray when our own words fail us. Our meal prayers, morning prayers and night prayers provide a rhythm for prayer. I appreciate how Catholics are welcome to pray from the “heart.” I like how heart prayer allows us to put our personal stamp on prayer.

I like how our Church uses signs and symbols to express prayer. Water, light, oils and incense help us experience God through our senses. Ritual actions and objects, along with the spoken word, are powerful ways of making God more visible for us.

There is a lot to like and be grateful for as a Catholic. I believe that we are called not only to share our faith, but also to share it with joy and enthusiasm.

When I share what I like about being Catholic, it is not about drawing attention to me. It is about drawing attention to God, who is doing great things for me.

God is doing great things for you and for me. There is no better way for us to discover and embrace this than through Catholic prayer. God bless!

(Tom Yost is the pastoral associate at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany, and is a member of the Archdiocesan Initiation Committee.)

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