So for those of you who are Catholic, or used to be Catholic, or know somebody who is Catholic, you will probably have heard the term “cradle Catholic”, meaning, simply put, raised in a Catholic family since birth. Raised in the Faith!
Well, that term applies to me…sort of. I am a cradle Catholic, meaning, my parents were married in the Church. I was baptized in the Church at about 5 weeks of age. I attended church (sometimes with my family, sometimes without, sometimes not at all) during my childhood/adolescence. I recieved the Sacrament of Confirmation at age 14, and from that point on was, in the eyes of my Faith, an adult.
But…When I reached my 25th birthday, I realized that I knew almost nothing about this Faith that I claim. Sunday school taught me about recycling, not about my Faith. Confirmation class taught me what the seven sacraments were, and the importance of fellowship– but that’s it! Nothing more! I learned to feel the Holy Spirit in a cultivated environment– Adoration with hundreds of teens, while emotionally compelling “praise music” was pumped in. Kids fainted. Kids sobbed. And I wondered what the heck was going on?!
Now I do feel that the Holy Spirit touched me then as well, but only in retrospect can I see that the circumstances were manipulated to make it easier for me. And as for the Adoration part– well, it was YEARS later before I learned what Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament truly was/is/means!
Compound this with the fact that my father is a non-practicing Methodist, and my mother spent the better part of my life as a “Cafeteria Catholic” (to be defined in a subsequent post) who was often at odds with our parish and frankly, very poorly catechized herself, and you end up with a kid who is floundering around trying to figure out what to believe in. Not much guidance in this area– spiritually OR factually.
So here I am, 27 years old, and embarking upon this journey to discover my own faith. Oh rest assured, I have always believed in God, and in His Plan. I have always believed that the Catholic Church is the Church given to us by Jesus, handed down to the Apostle Peter, who became Pope, and so on and so on throughout history. Past that, I know next to nothing. What I do NOT know, is staggering. What I am NOT able to do is defend my faith, nor explain it coherently to others who ask about it.
So where does a 27 year old, very poorly catechized Roman Catholic turn to for answers? Why, the internet of course! On the internet Ive found some really really B AD resources about Catholicism. (also some really atrocious books about it– Idiot’s Guide to Catholocism being one of the WORST). That being said, I was able to find some really GREAT resources, which I am happy to share with you:
1. Catholicism for Dummies–this book is actually written by a guy who likes Catholicism :) He’s a priest (I believe) and he does an EXCELLENT job of breaking down what we believe into some history of the church. So not only what we believe, but why we believe it, and when we started believing it!
2. The Catholic Answer Forums (www.catholic.com)–this is a great resource for asking questions. I particularly have learned a lot in the Apologetics Section and in the Traditional Catholicism section. In fact, I believe I am a Traditional Catholic at heart, and I didnt even know it!
I also found out that my church, St William the Abbott in Seaford, NY, offers some adult education classes. I am currently taking a five week course in the New Testament, which is teaching me some things I hadn’t already known about the Gospels. I have also considered auditing the RCIA classes, but with my Little Scribbler’s schedule, I’m not sure I could do that successfully.
1. Walk the path God commands me to walk.
2. Spread the Word of God to all peoples who are not living as He commands (and frankly, most of us arent. Myself included.)
3. Dispell slanderous falsehoods that have been spread about the Catholic Church, and educate curious inquirers as to what we believe and why.
4. Gain all the knowledge that I should have gained as a child, before my daughter gets old enough to ask questions that I am unprepared to answer. The Auditor and I are responsible for her spiritual guidance, and we just can’t let her down! And we can’t let God down either!