to the Catholic Church
Why the Catholic Church?
"Why do you want to know more about the Catholic Church?" I asked. "I've not been happy with the religion in which I was raised," she replied. "After studying the great world religions, I asked myself 'Which of their founders would I like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with?' I decided on Jesus."
What was especially beautiful about her response was that it went to the heart of the Christian message. It is important to know about the Catholic Church, and about Jesus Christ. But such information is only preliminary. Far more important than knowing about Jesus, is to know Jesus personally, to have a cup of coffee with Him.
Down through the ages God has raised up many great religious leaders. Jesus Christ stands apart from them all, not merely by His sublime message and example of love, but because He alone invites us into a loving relationship with Himself. His preaching ministry lasted only three years, but Jesus impacted world history like no other. For only this good and wise man showed Himself to be not merely God's messenger, but God's love incarnate among us.
You are invited to know Jesus, to experience God's love for you, through the Church He founded. Of the myriad of Christian churches existing today, only the Catholic Church can trace its origins back almost two thousand years to Jesus and His apostles. Only the Catholic Church has grown into a global family of one billion members, uniting people of every race, language and culture. Today, as for the past twenty centuries, the Catholic Church remains our best connection with Jesus, and through Jesus to God.
Love is Stronger than Death
Jesus' enduring fame and influence is not due to any great political or military exploits. What He did was simply to love people, unconditionally, the way God does. Jesus revealed that God's unconditional love embraces us all, including those society pushes aside--the poor, the weak, the stranger. Jesus' love attracted all kinds of people to Him, and healed wounded hearts, bodies, and relationships. The experience of Jesus' love empowered people to trust in God's love for them, and so to love themselves and others.
Just as in our own day, the authorities of Jesus' time found such unconditional love for all too threatening to their self-serving world view, which rationalized privileges for the elite at the expense of the masses. Jesus' love for all, including the oppressed, brought the wrath of the powerful down upon Him. In solidarity with all who suffer and are oppressed, Jesus suffered the excruciating death of a criminal on a cross. But He died as He had lived, loving and forgiving His enemies, trusting in God's love.
The central tenant of the Christian faith is that love is stronger than death, that on the first Easter Sunday God raised Jesus from the dead. The risen Jesus revealed Himself to hundreds of His followers. He sent them to bring the Good News of God's love for us to all the world. So convinced were these first Christians of God's love and the risen Jesus' presence with them, that they continued to live and preach the Good News God had revealed in Jesus, even though it cost many of them their lives.
Jesus never wrote a book to guide His followers. What He did was to leave behind an extraordinary community, the Church. We continue to experience Jesus' love in our prayer, service, and preaching. Through the Church Jesus continues to invite others into intimate friendship with God.
Early on the expanding Church began to gather together its sacred writings into the Bible. Both then and now, the Church assembles for Sunday worship, to proclaim and reflect on God's Word in the Bible, to share a sacred meal, to give thanks for the love God manifests in Jesus Christ.
You are Invited
You already know something about Jesus. Might it not serve you well to learn more about the most extraordinary person in all of history? But you are being invited to more. We believe that Jesus is inviting you to come to know Him personally, as a friend, and, through Him, to experience God's love for you.
The Catholic Church is, and always has been, made up of weak, sometimes sinful, human beings. Yet the risen Jesus lives in us. God's unconditional love heals us and empowers us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with you. Speak to any of our students or chaplains. Tell them you'd like to learn more. There is no pressure, no obligation, only an invitation to come and see.
God alone knows where your inquiry will take you, into the Catholic Church or elsewhere. What we do know is that we can only grow as a person by making some effort to know God better, by exploring the things that really matter in life, by journeying in love. Come and see.
Yes, God loved the world so much
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him
Do not let your love be a pretense, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as much as brothers and sisters should, and have a profound respect for each other. Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If any of the saints are in need you must share with them; and you should make hospitality your special care.
Bless those who persecute you: never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with those who rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Treat everyone with equal kindness; never be condescending but make real friends with the poor. Do not allow yourself to become self-satisfied. Never repay evil with evil but let everyone see that you are interested only in the highest ideals. Do all you can to live a peace with everyone.