Over at Patheos, Elizabeth Scalia has put out a call to answer the question “Why Do YOU Remain a Catholic?” I’ve mulled over whether I have anything new to say or whether I should say anything at all.
I spent ten years being a public voice for the Church. In some ways, I’m happy to be done with that. For an introvert that dislikes controversy, it can be exhausting. I’m happy to care for my little family, write my little stories, and discover my little niche of readers. But the niggling desire to skip this exercise felt too much like a cowardly cop-out.
I once wrote an article for now-defunct New Covenant magazine entitled, “Plain Vanilla Prayer.” If I could find it, I could probably recycle it here. My faith life, my spiritual journey – whatever you want to call it, has always been bland. After reading amazing, inspiring, dramatic conversion stories, I would feel a stab of envy. Crazy, right? Without fail, those stories are also stories of suffering or at the very least an absence of the fullness discovered in the Catholic faith.
My boring story is the kind of boring story I hope my children can tell one day, because it is blessed. I was born into a Catholic family, baptized, and raised in a household that nurtured my faith by word and example. It was reinforced by sixteen years of Catholic schooling. While neither my family members nor my schools were perfect, they were solid, and they pointed me in the right direction.
I’ve never strayed, never been seriously tempted to stray. I’m a rule-follower, and that’s part of it, but mostly I couldn’t leave the Truth, the Eucharist, or the catholicity of the Catholic Church. There’s beauty, wisdom, truth, and love – above all, love. The authentic kind that means suffering and joy, sacrifice and generosity in both body and soul that inspires me to become who God created me to be despite all my sins and weaknesses.
Some days (many recent ones), I think the only sanity left in this world subsists in the Catholic Church.
It’s the only home I’ve known that won’t be lost when I pass from life to death to life eternal.
Like so many others, the answer to my “why” can be summed up in John 6:68: “Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”