Tuesday, October 29, 2013
My Failure of Faith
I've talked about my rather loud bible-thumping ways in my past. Sadly, whatever I used to enjoy in that or the power I used to tap is all but gone it seems. This last Sunday, I was confronted by a Protestant friend of mine challenging two "items" in the Catholic church. Specifically, baby baptism and Saints. I failed to uphold my beliefs because, at it happens. I wasn't prepared on these fronts near as well as I would have thought or hoped.
I'm writing this more as a public flogging than instructional. To have a belief system we need to not only have faith, but a fundamental understanding. Sadly, it sometimes takes questions by those intent on breaking us down, before we ask similar questions. I've never had a problem with either of these uniquely Catholic traditions or sacraments. My big problem was that I was grossly unable to defend much less explain.
As any Catholic knows, Baptism is a sacrament. What fellow Catholics may not realize is that for the most part Protestants do not do this at birth or even near birth. Speaking strictly from my Southern Baptist tradition, I was not Baptized until I was 16 -- knowingly accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior and THEN I was baptised. This process is more "ordination" than sacramental. You will, however, notice how closely my "acceptance" of Jesus closely mirrors the Catholic sacrament of Confirmation. Not so alien as Protestants would like to believe or have believed. For me, I still find the process of Baptizing my infant daughter as strange. And having to put off the baptism until she is nearly 6mo of age is, to my fellow Catholics, horrible (her God mother works for Amazon so she cannot get out of work during the holidays without a toe-tag). So we patiently wait.
The other item I was grossly unprepared to defend. The Saints. I don't believe that I ever disregarded the elevation and appreciation of Saintly people by the Catholic church. I do believe that there are very genuine and holy people here on earth. If the Catholic church can find, identify, and celebrate these individuals for what they accomplished -- so be it. It's almost with a hint of the venom of jealousy that non-catholics hate/dislike/make fun of saints and the process by which they are determined. Course, they'll forget and sing all sorts of songs about Saints but I digress.
I suppose I need to approach the issue of Saints with another question -- "How should it be done." Perhaps then I'll gain some insight on how the question is broached or the origin. My fear is that it is rooted in an inability of people to day to reward much less accept exceptionalism. It is a said state of things to come, but it always appears that we ignore those with talent, waiting only for a chance to watch them tumble or to even take them down ourselves. Not very saintly for the rest of us to be sure.
So as I continue to learn about my Church, and all the mysteries and history that it has I am likely to have stumbling points like this. I'm much happier to not take the offensive but to act as a learning experience towards future/past Catholics learning about the wonders that are the Catholic church.
I pray that thru the intercession of my patron Saint Thomas Becket (pray for me),
That I may remain steadfast like him in the face of heresy and attacks on the church.
That my strength and resolve not be a hinderance but a beacon to others to join with me in fellowship with the Catholic faith.
Holy Mother, comfort me in my failure and pray for me to your Son that my strength be renewed.
In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pray for me.