At first glance, or, better said, at the glance our society offers you, Catholicism seems to be full of rules and prohibitions— the Ten Commandments, the precepts of the Church, and all sorts of obligations, requirements, guidelines, principles, etc. And it seems obvious that the “natural” reaction of the modern man is rebellion. “Don’t tell me what to do!”
However, first of all, I’d like to point out that no one is forced to practice the Catholic faith. “But my mom said…” Ok, don’t be immature. Maybe your mom encourages you or obligates you, but you are free to believe or not. And once you’re on your own (or presently, if you are on your own), you can make your own decisions. Rebellion against and hatred towards the Catholic faith really just seem like childish reactions to me.
I’ve often heard it compared to a recipe. No one is going to accuse a good cook of imposing his will upon others when he writes down each step of a delicious recipe. In fact, often the complaint is the opposite: Why didn’t he write down the exact measurements?
Let’s keep going with that example. The Church wrote down Jesus’ recipe. It’s not a recipe for dinner or dessert; it’s a recipe for life. And here’s the difference: Jesus isn’t just a cook. He is The Cook. His recipe isn’t just one among others. His recipe is The Recipe. He saw that our recipes were falling short, or better said, failing miserably; so He Himself came down to raise us up, to redeem us, to teach us how to cook: how to live, I mean, or better said, how to be.
His recipe, “the Way” as He calls it, doesn’t consist in anything except… Him. Follow Him, believe Him, imitate Him, receive Him, unite yourself to Him, love as He loves: that’s the recipe. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” That’s how the Church has always understood it. And to help us to reach that goal, to help us understand what that means in our daily life, the Church, with the authority He gave her, gives us principles, guidelines, requirements, and obligations, just as a good cook writes down his recipe, just as true friend tells you when you mess up, just as a dedicated mother sets down rules (and also forgives when they are broken).
The Church insists, exhorts, and reminds with such loving perseverance because the example only goes so far: a pinch of salt, a cup of flour, or a stick of butter are not at risk.
Our lives are at risk.
Your life is at risk.
Think about it.
The only logical reaction is the following: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
My name is Sr. Kristin María of Jesus and of the Immaculate Virgin. I was perfectly content in my idyllic little bubble called Naples, Florida when I met the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, who opened my heart to truths so intense and so beautiful that what I thought was reality suddenly popped and I saw beyond. They introduced me to the person of Jesus Christ, who attracted me to Himself so strongly that I could no longer imagine belonging to anyone but Him. After tossing and turning, weighing and discerning, falling and rising, He gave me the strength to leave behind my dreams of academic prestige to follow Him on the narrow path of humility and poverty. Since then, I have been living in Spain and Italy, completing my formation, teaching catechism, studying theology, and writing this blog.