Saturday, 2 February 2013

How I am a Catholic (plus, all clear now re hacking attempts)

My thanks to all friends who contacted me regarding Malware, this has now been resolved (DG) and my blog is functioning as per normal (which is not saying very much!)

                                                       Tonight, maybe?

That's a badly phrased heading; what I mean is, how or by what means do I still have my Catholic Faith when so many of my friends and acquaintances have lost theirs?

Why me O Lord?

I am aware that my Faith, in the first instance, is a gift from God but I am also aware that much more is needed to keep that gift vibrant and alive.

A little (literally) soul searching led me to appreciate that there are several jigsaw pieces that went to complete the picture of my Catholicism.

First and foremost, I had the good providence to be born into the Faith; a cradle Catholic.

Secondly, my parents were good and holy people who did not so much catechise as set an example, one that was hard to follow but it involved a process of living the Faith as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

We knelt for the family Rosary, we fasted from the night before if we were to receive Holy Communion the next day, we were part of a busy and intense Church community, the boys served and ran errands, the girls sang and cleaned and our parents busied themselves with things parochial.

When we socialised it was with fellow Catholics, when we went to dances, they were organised by the parish, we went on pilgrimages together - it was a shock when I discovered that there was such  things as Protestants in the world.

And then there was my altar serving. For most of my formative years we lived within one hundred yards of the parish church. This was first in Hounslow and then in Osterley.

That meant that I was in demand as the default altar boy. I served morning Masses, and at night to receive bodies into the church and the next day at the Requiem.
I did weddings, funerals, baptisms, Bar Mitzvahs in fact, you name it and I served it, on a daily basis.
I do believe that the graces received from my serving at so many Masses and Benedictions have filtered into my immortal soul and rendered me relatively strong in my Faith.
I needed that desperately and still do.

And, finally, there was my Protestant wife; well, she was a practising Anglican, a 'church every Sunday' Anglican.

I just had to buckle down and make certain that I could live up to her standards and go to my Mass every Sunday without fail.

We would each go our separate ways on Sunday mornings and this went on for over two years when after a great deal of storming Heaven on my part, she decided that she wanted to swim the Tiber.

Nothing too exceptional about all of that but it does have a sort of pattern to it that today's parents may find hard to emulate; if they cannot implement most of the above points, I fear for the Faith of their children.

And, if the children lose their Faith through apathy or idleness on the parents' behalf, then the consequences are too awful to contemplate, for both parties.

But then, in the modern world there is little concern for death and judgement. If you don't think about them nasty things don't happen is the current philosophy whereas, I am adopting the method employed by a certain German Trappist monastery where, in the refectory hangs a painting of the Grim Reaper and an inscription underneath that states: "Tonight, maybe?"

That, and the four last things should be uppermost in my mind on a daily basis.

Macabre? I don't think so.

Hopeful? Definitely.


  1. "How am I a Catholic".That is a question I ask myself almost every day.I can find no evidence of Catholicism in my ancestors, rather the opposite.when I became a catholic 40plus years ago there were no others in my rather large and far flung family.Now there are four more in my immediate family...including my sister a convert of two years.I find it all rather mystifying !

  2. My story (insofar as it is "my" story) is much the same as it is for A Catholic Comes Home. God does work in mysterious ways, and He has wonderful patience and kindness in allowing me to receive Him.

  3. How am I a Catholic? Somehow, during the transition, which is still occurring, from boy to man, instead of rejecting the Faith, like so many of my family members did, I brought It into myself and made it personal.

    Two things that have helped: my parents are happily married for almost 30 years, and I have been in Catholic schooling all of my life. While the system is imperfect, I have met some amazing people who have taught me much about learning and living the Faith.

    Me, non-Catholic? Not happening

  4. Richard,
    Excellent post and sentiments-I can identify with Your statements, and All the comments above too-You have certainly took me down memory lane also!



  5. Yes Richard, similar memories here – thank God.

    The one thing I would say to all Catholics – NEVER stop going to Mass on Sundays and Holydays!

    No matter what your reason – divorced/remarried, don’t like the homilies, bad Liturgy, unable to go to Holy Communion, doubts about the Faith, not following Church teaching in everything (we all fail in this!), DON’T stop going to Mass.

    If you do nothing else, take that obligation seriously. It can be your salvation.

  6. Hear,Hear..All very good and hopeful stories. stories not the right word? true stories. And Richard thanks for sharing yours with us. You have had true blessings. I know you know it. May God continue to keep and bless you all.

  7. Just read your next post as well - it also rang a few bells!
    I expect most of your commenters could write similar testimonies- who knows, if it tip the balance with but one soul , even at their deathbed, Almighty God has been served.
    But the why am I..?
    In my case, surely all , the fundamental answer is by God's Grace .
    I have felt this very strongly at times, such as the funeral of very old Catholic (my parents ) family friends from the same Parish- all their children lapsed, and very approximately, fifties family atmosphere , (without being cradle), somewhat along the lines you describe.
    Have I "won" heaven when these contemporaries haven't ? God protect me from such thinking! Surely the reverse - when I sin , how much more is it deliberate rebellion, selfish putting of my immediate gratification before the very son of God, than any lapsed well meaning person with a mental fog.
    What I mean is , on such occasions, knowing the people from childhood, it is humbling and salutory to see just that , that "possession" of this jewel, the Catholic faith, being in Christ's church, is by God's grace.

  8. Thank you for this all of you.
    richard i noted that your wife was an Anglican . I believe that we are witnessing the end of the Anglican Church ,that not only will it be disestablish in the UK but it will split into
    evangelicals- who although having doctrines shared with catholics will remain sola evangelicum as they hold onto their REformation heritage
    Anglo-Catholics- who will be the liberals who laughed with derision at those entering the Ordinariate,who support gay marriage,euthanasia and abortion -but use 'god'words to frame this support
    Traditional -who remain are also Anglo Catholic and who adhere to the Book of common prayer-very small in number.
    If like me people believe in the Undivided Church then turning to Rome is the logical step.