I was trying to explain on another thread why I engage in apologetics and it made me stop and think about how there seems to be a common pattern into which many of the debates between us Catholics and Protestants fall. Often it starts with a Protestant who is passionate about Jesus and who probably thinks that Catholics aren’t saved. After the opening salvo, the exchange usually settles into a theological debate that appears to pit Jesus against the Catholic Church. Some even place us in the same category as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses and think that we aren’t even Christians.
Often, the particular Protestants on this forum who are not really here to learn anything about Catholics have the misperception that we Catholics somehow relegate Jesus to the second tier of our devotion. Unfortunately, in an effort to jump to the Church’s defense, many of us forget to tell the other party that Jesus Christ is the object of our devotion, love, reliance, faith, joy, hope, life and the source of every breath we take.
It is important to debate issues such as Mary, the saints, purgatory, Solo Scriptura, authority and all the other subjects that we love to discuss on this forum. But, I want to shout to all the world that the bottom line for Catholics is that IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS! This is not a direct quote from the Catechism, but it is certainly what the Catholic Church teaches. Some Catholics don’t hear this from the pulpit, but that is a different problem.
The reason we go to Mass is to receive Jesus and to worship Jesus. The reason we pray is to talk with Jesus. The reason we read the Bible is to learn about Jesus. The reason we go to confession is to tell Jesus that we are sorry for our sins and receive His absolution. The reason we sing is to praise Jesus. When we are sick or hurting we seek the touch of Jesus. And yes, the reason we pray the Hail Mary is to ask her to intercede for us to Jesus. When we die, we anticipate the face of Jesus. The Holy Spirit teaches us about Jesus. God the Father lifted up Jesus. Mary said yes to Jesus and she always points to Jesus. The saints have found Jesus and left us a treasure of life experiences showing how they encountered Jesus.
Without Jesus, we are lost, there is no hope, there is only death, there is only darkness.
All our eggs are in one basket - the manger.
That, my friends, is Catholicism, plain and simple.
Blessings and Merry Christmas