I was explaining to someone the mass the other day and they asked me why they should be Catholic. I explained that it was the true church, and how it has all the sacraments. She replied that she thinks that if you love God with you heart that he probably doesn’t care what church you belong to. How do I respond?
The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me
He very much cares what Church you belong to. What else would He give all those warnings about false prophets.
Loving with all your heart would mean trying with all your strength to please Him and all you mind to know His Truth.
God says “If you really loved Me, you would…” The difference is that when God says it, it is because He loves us with all HIS heart.
Can you really love someone with all your heart, and play the field? No, of course not.
Can you really love someone with all your heart, and ignore their desires? Absurd.
Christ said If you love Me you, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Since the “churches” differ as to what those commandments are (some don’t, for instance think ANY sacrametn is necessary), it makes a difference which church’s commandments are the right ones.
And if you really “love God with all your heart,” you would care enough to find out which Church that is.
God himself instituted the Catholic Church so that we would always know where and how to find him. He has revealed himself to us through the Church and continues to distribute his grace through the Church.
Your friend cannot simultaneously “love God with all her heart” and willingly avoid entering the Church he instituted for her salvation. To know that the Catholic Church is God’s Church and remain outside of it is to reject God’s offer of salvation.
If God doesn’t care what church you belong to, why did he create one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in the first place?
In a world where God would not have spoken to us, your friend would be right. Living acccording to your conscience and following the Golden Rule would be fine.
But God did speak to us. As a matter of fact, he became a man and spoke to us. And he did found a church and gave it in charge to his apostles and their sucsessors. Only the Catholic Church has the successors of the apostles in the Pope and Bishops.
What your friend is advocating is that** we** should decide how to worship Him and not follow his directives.
how arrogant, to presume to speak for God and say what he likes and does not like.
if he does not care what church we attend, why did he send his Son to found a Church? if he does not care to be obeyed, why did Jesus tell his followers, just before his arrest, “if you love me you will keep my commands.”
Interesting post - thank-you for bringing it here.
First - I wouldn’t tell your friend to stop being silly - she is asking an honest question, and deserves an honest answer - along with the respect deserved by all people.
Second, I think your answer was a good one, follow it up with an explanation of what the sacraments are, why they are important, and show her where they are found in Scripture.
Ask why the sacraments are found in Scripture - rather than just as a Tradition within the Catholic Church? Could it be because they ARE meant for everyone?
Then ask her why did God supply us with the Sacraments in the first place if He didn’t intend for us to use them and be blessed through them?
Ask her how, if she really is loving God with all her heart, she can reject something God has put in place for Love of us, which then allows us to Love Him more in return through its use and simultaneously receive His Love and Blessings even more?
Ask her if she would be willing to go to RCIA and learn more about the Church - there is no pressure to follow through with it. RCIA is meant to instruct and people are free to continue searching afterwards if that is what they wish.
If she really wants to learn and has more questions, refer to the CCC.
I really like John’s answer, and would like to add to it a little. It is a matter of how we can connect with God in the best possible way.
I have been a Catholic for 13 months. As a Protestant, I had several helps in connecting with God: baptism; marriage; the Bible; prayer; acts of charity; faith; not to mention the help of the Holy Spirit Himself! And that helped me be passionate for God. However, that passion eventually showed me that my spiritual car was missing 5 cylinders: the eucharist; reconciliation; holy orders (which also provided proper authority and teaching); confirmation and anointing of the sick. In addition, the Church offered to connect me with rich teaching and tradition, and also open me to the communion of the saints. I could see I was missing out, and, in a way, ignoring/rejecting the wonderful gifts Jesus so generously wanted me to have.
I concluded that it wanted every advantage and aid in my journey with Christ that I could have. I wanted my spiritual car to run on all cylinder! To want any less would be to snub the loving gifts Christ has offered.
Why settle for “good” when you can have THE BEST – all that God wants for us.
The bible says, “Not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved but he who does the will of the Father”. How do we know what the will of the Father is? Over 2,000 non-Catholic churches can’t agree among themselves what the will of the Father is. The only way to know for sure is to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church which was founded by Jesus so that mankind would know the truth. Does she want HER will be done or the Fathers’ will?
I agree. But let’s be careful not to lump Protestants in with Koresh, Manson, Moon, Jones, etc. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear that they (baptized Protestants) are to be considered as Christian brothers and sisters, even though they are not in full communion with the Church. Still, the point is well made that deviation from Church teaching can eventually even take a person into cult activity.
If you love God with your heart then you will seek to know Him better and to love Him more. You will seek to be intimate with Him. In the Song of Songs in the Bible we can glimpse the nature of a loving relationship with God
*9 My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart. Behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. 10 Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. *
How do we develop this intimacy? Certainly through faith, through prayer, through studying the scriptures, through acts of charity- serving Christ in our neighbours. More than that though we get closer to Him when we share His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the sacrament of the altar. Apart from His body we can only half know Him and half love Him. Immersed in his body we are immersed in Him, enfolded in His embrace, united to His heart.
I would have asked her if God ever cares about our choices. Obviously, the answer is, yes. He gave us free will so that we would choose Him, and I’m sure (but can’t speak for Him) that he wants us to choose Him always. There is a long list of reasons, and corresponding objections, to the actual question, “Why should I be Catholic?” But for now, even introducing the idea that there is most definitely a “right” answer to the question could help your friend on her path to discernment about which Church God would have joined.