Yes, I am a Christian and my last name is Catholic. Am I worthy of that title? A beautiful Lover 2,000 years ago sure did think so! Although I fail at fulfilling this mission at times, I recognize that it’s not my mission, it’s His. Therefore, I pick myself right back up and keep going.This introduction serves me to further this week’s blogpost on the times I have denied my faith. Growing up in southern United States, being Catholic is not a popular thing; on the contrary, it’s actually frowned upon. I remember being young and being shy to share where I assisted church because I knew being Catholic wasn’t the “normal.” This only got more complicated growing up. I began my secondary studies in a liberal arts school in Kennesaw, GA. At this point in my life it wasn’t Catholicism I was scared of presenting, but Christianity in itself. I remember walking to class and seeing tons of flyers and events to Atheist meetings, but that wasn’t the worst. I decided to take a course called Latin American studies. In this course, the professor made his religious beliefs not only clear but also made a statement on Christianity that stuck to me. He said Christians were ignorant, that we were scared to question, and we lived our lives based on an ideology that gave us not only hope but essentially was just used to keep order in the world.
This awoke something in me. It awoke a need and a hunger for more. Ever since I had my encounter with Christ and began living my faith in a more constant manner, I knew He was real. So how could this be so unreal to others? I began questioning all these perspectives the professor had on our faith, and I began writing them down. I was intrigued by all the sciences, philosophies, and ideologies that were putting the faith into question. I grasped myself of the Eucharist and prayer with the certainty that my God lives, and searched for answers. God works in marvelous ways and at this time, I had the opportunity to begin a theology three-year program. I WAS IN AWE! God had literally fed my hunger with this blessing.
I dove three years into this experience. We studied from sacred scripture to anthropology in this program. The realization of the depth of my faith brought me to tears. I want to invite you Christian Catholic to rise up! The faith we share is not a faith that can or needs to be hidden. The message we proclaim is one of Truth and we can no longer back down from it. So, no we are not ignorant, brain washed people with no fundament; we reason with faith which takes us to our purpose. I invite you to question, as I did, because the deeper I questioned, the more answers I found. My Christ is the beginning and the end. In Him, all things are possible. Catholic, know your faith. I believe we are coming into a time where we need to be prepared both spiritually and mentally to let His message thrive. Because of this relationship with Christ, I now can say with certainty that I know Him better. I have fallen in love with my Creator and I continue to do so every day. BE A PROUD CATHOLIC, AND LET THE TRUTH PREVAIL!
“Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith.. religion always needs to be purified by reason” -Benedict XVI
Joandra Ocampo - Writer, unparalleled love