Hello there my dear Rosary Lovers! In this post I would like to answer the question: What is it like to be Catholic?
Never Thought I’d Ever be Answering this Question!
The first thing for me to say here is that I truly never thought that I would ever be answering this question!
You see, as a convert to the Catholic Church, I actually never planned to be Catholic.
It’s something that kind of happened almost by accident.
My plan was to become Greek Orthodox. That’s what I really wanted, originally.
I knew I couldn’t stay a Protestant any longer. Having studied the Orthodox Church and having attended one, I fell totally in love with it.
But when I began to attend a local Roman Catholic Church, my perspective altered.
I began to really long for reunion between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
I began to focus on what separated them.
It came down, really, to one thing: the Papacy. That was the central disagreement.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I wound up becoming Catholic.
I joined the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in 2019 by chrismation (confirmation) and eventually I ended up in a local Roman Catholic Church.
And I never thought this would happen.
But it truly is what I WANTED to happen, once I had researched everything and considered all possible options.
By the time I converted to the holy Catholic Church, I knew I was doing what needed to be done. I knew it was the right decision.
Being Catholic = BELONGING
Probably the number 1 reason I became Catholic was because I LONGED with a longing I cannot explain to be part of them.
In 2018, I was out in LA and went to watch an Ice Hockey game. It was ‘Catholic Night’. Every so often, the guy on the microphone would sound out: ‘Iiiiiiiittts Catholic Night!’
And then the lights would focus on a large group of Catholics down below, all jumping and ‘wooping’.
Everytime that happened, I longed to be part of them. I couldn’t explain it. At the time, I didn’t believe in the Catholic Church.
I also visited a gorgeous Catholic Church dedicated to St Dennis. This Church blew me away with its glory and beauty. I felt a longing to be part of it, somehow.
I came back from LA very ill. I had contracted a rather nasty form of foreign Bronchitis, and I was in bed for about 10 days. For the first few days, I didn’t sleep longer than 4 hours at a time.
I coughed every 30 seconds for days whilst awake, which made it hard to go to sleep.
During that time, however, God came in a special way.
I spent much of that time watching videos on YouTube about the Catholic Church.
Such as this one:
I came away from watching videos like this convinced that Catholics have real grace and that God is truly at work among them.
I also came away with a greater desire to be part of them.
It was the sense of wanting to belong to Catholics that was a very powerful pull for me. I would start to see Catholics everywhere: in films, for instance.
I was also listening to a Catholic podcast, and found it to contain great wisdom and teaching.
So, for me, being Catholic to this day is still mostly about BELONGING.
It is about belonging to the greatest family in the world: God’s family of redeemed sinners trying to become saints.
This family is perhaps the largest in the world. We have 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide and that number is growing all the time.
1 in every 6 people on the planet is Catholic!
Being Catholic = Knowing the Truth with Certainty
Being Catholic, for me, is also about knowing the Truth with certainty.
When someone isn’t Catholic, there is always a lack of certainty regarding Truth.
When I was Protestant, I would always wonder whether this or that was true or not. Is this or that morally permissible?
Some would argue yes, others would argue no.
Sometimes I would convince myself that Scripture said yes, other times I would find verses which implied: ‘No’.
It was very confusing and certainty was hard to come by.
In Sunni Islam, what happens if someone becomes Muslim and then misses many years of saying the 5 daily prayers? What happens if they want to begin practicing Islam again?
There is disagreement amongst Muslim scholars on what the best procedure is for such an individual. Most scholars teach that such an individual would have to ‘make up’ all the missed prayers that they missed for years.
But not all scholars agree, some saying asking for God’s forgiveness is enough.
If I was Muslim, this would be a MASSIVE question that I would need answered with certainty.
As an agnostic/skeptic, you cannot know truth with any degree of certainty. I think it’s sad and deeply unfortunate many today in the Western world settle for this worldview.
Even amongst the Orthodox, there is quite a lot of disagreement on certain basic teachings: like whether baptism should be administered to Protestants, for instance.
I discovered that by being Catholic, I have certainty on all matters that are essential for salvation.
The Catholic Church teaches us precisely WHAT is essential to believe and practice for salvation. She leaves no stone unturned.
And on the things that the Catholic Church is silent about, or on matters where the Church has not given a judgment, then she remains agnostic. And the sensible Catholic can remain agnostic on that matter too.
Like, for instance, whether any human being is actually in hell. This is a question the Church does not know the answer to. So she prays for the salvation of ALL humans who have ever lived, however unlikely this hope may be.
But on matters that are essential, we know what they are because the Church tells us. And we know what judgment to follow, because the Church has spoken.
For instance, is the use of artificial contraception a sin or not?
It is always a sin.
Or is it wrong to watch pornography?
It is always wrong.
Or is it ever OK to tell a lie?
It is never OK.
Do I have to vote?
Yes, you do, but you can spoil your vote if you wish.
All of these questions are answered by the Catholic Church, and many more besides.
Being Catholic = Knowing Jesus Closer than Ever
The longer I am Catholic, and the longer I practice what the Church teaches, the more I grow aware of just how much Jesus means to me.
Jesus means everything to me.
Jesus means FAR more to me now than he has ever meant to me.
Often during the week, I find sacred opportunities to enter my local Church and prostrate myself before the blessed Sacrament. I’m almost always the only one in the Church at such times – except for Jesus.
Such times are very, very precious and liberating.
The chance to receive Jesus in the Eucharist into my mouth and soul is also such a blessing. The Eucharist is usually the number 1 reason why people convert to the Catholic Church.
Let us not forget the sacrament of Confession, such a precious time to come face to face with Jesus and with our conscience, and to find Jesus’ mercy and love.
How he loves us!
Common aspects of being Catholic
There are many other things that make being Catholic a unique experience, unlike any other.
- We all abstain from meat on Fridays, unless we live in the United States, or unless a particular Friday is a Solemnity
- We all follow the Church’s yearly calendar, making sure we attend Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, such as August 15th
- We all attend Mass every Sunday (or Saturday evening)
- We all confess our sins to a priest at least once a year
- We all receive the Eucharist at least once a year at Easter, but most of us many more times than this: usually every Sunday for many Catholics
- We all try to contribute financially to the local Church
- We all fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and many of us give something up for Lent
- We all pray often, even if we don’t pray much daily
- Many of us recite the Lord’s prayer regularly
My Own Experience as a Catholic
I’ve already shared a good deal of this, but here is my own daily experience of being Catholic.
Being Catholic is the most important aspect of my life. It holds everything else together.
I often say, ‘So long as my Catholic faith is intact, I’m fine, I can deal with everything else.’ The worst trials for me are those which attack my faith in the Church and in Christ.
Every day, my main goal is to pray 3 rosaries: the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.
I also try to fulfil my daily duties before God to the best of my abilities.
I try to obey everything the Church teaches. I am not aware of habitually offending in any aspect, thank God. My conscience could not be at peace if I didn’t live this way.
If I am able to get to the Church just for a few moments to visit Jesus in the Eucharist, this is a bonus.
If I am able to get to a weekday Mass, this is an extra bonus!
I confess my sins about once every 3 or 4 months. I keep a list of my sins on my phone and then try to recall them in confession (although I often forget some).
I receive the Eucharist almost every time I attend Mass, though not always (for whatever reason).
I take my children to Mass with my wife weekly on Sunday. This is a special time, even though my children can be quite loud.
I fast from meat as much as possible throughout Lent, though usually I have meat in the evenings with my family (obviously not on Fridays).
I contact my priest personally everytime I am ungoing a significant spiritual problem, which is not uncommon. I have a good friendship with him and I try to do everything he tells me to. He is my Spiritual Guide.
In my spare time (of which there isn’t much) I sometimes read a number of Catholic catechisms or listen to Catholic books.
Some nights I enjoy doing Lectio Divina with the day’s gospel reading.
I have a very close attachment to holy Mary, Mother of God, and I am also devoted to St Joseph.
In trials and things troubling me, I often turn to Mary or St Joseph.
I have a devotion to the following saints, daily asking for their prayers:
- St Padre Pio
- St Therese of the Child Jesus
- St Cajetan the Glorious
- St Dymphna
- Sts Louise and Zelie Martin (parents of St Therese of the Child)
- St Ignatius of Loyola
- My holy guardian angel
- Sts Michael, Raphael and Gabriel
- St Gertrude the Great
- St Francis of Assisi
- Sister Clare Maria
- Sts Faustina, Margret Mary and Bernadette
- The holy souls in purgatory
I offer the body and blood of Jesus daily, in union with the world’s masses, for the following intentions:
- The holy Catholic Church, the Pope and his intentions, all bishops, priests, deacons, religious, married and all laity
- The end of the war between Russia and Ukraine, and for the consecration of the world to Mary’s immaculate heart
- For the conversion of poor sinners
- For the abolition of all abortion and contraception worldwide, along with all impurity
- For the holy souls in purgatory
- For the intention of Mary’s immaculate heart
- To make reparation to Mary’s immaculate heart for all blasphemy and sin since the dawn of time
Yearly, I renew my total consecration to Mary, from November 5th to December 8th.
I hope this article has given you inight into the life of a Catholic. I cannot recommend this life highly enough.
Life starts when we become Catholic – supernatural life. A life of miracles and faith and blessing. A hard life, a life of suffering, but a life of joy.
God bless you
4 Replies to “What is it Like to be Catholic?”
I enjoyed reading and learning about Catholicism and what attracted you to this faith. I was born and raised in non Christian faith, and as an adult, I experienced many faiths, but they did not call me and I have not felt comfortable with these different religions, The longest faith for me is Baptist, because my in-laws were Baptist, and I felt that I had to be Baptist to fit in, kind of. I’ve always wanted to visit a Catholic church, but my family refused because Catholics regard the Pope as a god and believe that we should not bow down to a pope before God. If your faith is catholic, you should not have to explain by answering questions so therefore I am referencing your read as information and for readers to learn about the religion.
Thank you for your honest and biographical reply.
I used to be Baptist also. I was actually very convinced of it.
Just for you to know, if it helps, Catholic don’t think of the Pope as a god. And so far as I know we don’t bow down to the Pope as a habit. I’ve never known of any Catholic to bow down to the Pope.
We respect the Pope as the Holy Father and Pastor of all Christians, and we show this respect in various ways, but bowing down to him isn’t one I’m aware of. I think the present Pope would be uncomfortable with that supreme kind of veneration shown to him.
Take care 🙂
I thought your article on being a Catholic was very informative and insightful. I enjoyed reading it very much. My interaction with the Catholic religion was with my neighbor down the road. We moved here to Pennsylvania about thirty years ago and met Anna. She was a very devoted Catholic and eager to share her religion. She has since gone back to Canada and passed at 95-96. Best of luck to you in your blog.
Many thanks for sharing that. It is much appreciated 🙂 and I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed reading the post.