What is the Christian thing?

“What is this journey in between the event we call ‘birth’ and the one we call ‘death’? Is the journey taking you somewhere, or are you leading yourself to some kind of destination – a destination that could extend beyond your last breath? What do you want from your life during the in between? The questions are there. And, the answers are too.”
– from The Search, by the Augustine Institute

What makes Christianity, among all of the competing philosophies, ideologies, and religions of the world, distinctive?

There are countless philosophical proofs for the existence of God, and we can know He exists by means of our human reason alone. The entire universe, a universe that is knowable and ordered and that cannot create itself, stands as proof of God’s existence. But how do we get from the the existence of God to the truth of Christianity?

If God exists, then we can also say that of all the different world religions that claim to know the truth of God, only one can have the fullness of truth. As C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential promotors of the Christian faith in the modern age, put it: “If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic—there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”

For Christians, it all comes down to the person of Jesus Christ, who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn 14:6). It is the person of Jesus that we must look at and evaluate. If Jesus’ claims are true, then he is the Son of God as he claimed to be, and we must follow him.

How do we evaluate Jesus’ claims? The books that have been written to present the case for the truth of Christianity, from St. Augustine’s Confessions to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, number in the thousands. We think that for the modern seeker of truth, one of the best ways to explore the claims of Christianity is via a ten-week course called Alpha. Click the link below to find out more.

I stand with Blessed John Henry Newman who said that the great principle of Catholicism is the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God. What do I mean by this? I mean, the Word of God—the mind by which the whole universe came to be—did not remain sequestered in heaven but rather entered into this ordinary world of bodies, this grubby arena of history, this compromised and tear-stained human condition of ours. ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’ (Jn 1:14): that is the Catholic thing.

Why become Catholic?

G. K. Chesterton once said: ““The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that it is true.”

The Catholic Church is the “pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) because it is the Church founded by Jesus Christ who is God. 2,000 years ago the Son of God became incarnate on earth; that is, he became fully man and received a human body while remaining fully divine. Jesus Christ walked and breathed, cried and loved, preached and healed.

Why did God’s Son come to earth as a man? Due to sin, humanity has a broken relationship with God. Jesus came to earth as a man in order to repair that relation- ship. While on earth, Jesus was tortured and killed, and three days later he rose from the dead. This sacrifice, the giving of his own life, atoned for our sins so that our relationship with God could be restored. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have access to a new relationship with God so that we can spend eternity with God (in heaven) instead of apart from God (in hell). Jesus established the Catholic Church to be an extension of himself, so that every person would have access to that new, healed relationship with God.

The Catholic Church in God’s Plan of Salvation

In God’s all-wise and loving plan, the Catholic Church is the means by which the graces of salvation merited by Christ’s sacrifice are distributed to those who are sincerely seeking salvation. As Founder of the Catholic Church, Jesus ordained that it provide and administer the sacraments as means of transmitting his life-saving grace. Sacraments are signs that convey God’s grace. For example, in the Sacrament of Baptism you are washed in water, a sign that outwardly shows the spiritual reality of having your sins forgiven and becoming a member of God’s family. In Baptism you are marked forever as a child of God, and nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).

The graces bestowed through the Catholic Church’s seven Sacraments help those who receive them to grow in holiness, that is, in closer union with God. The ultimate goal is to preserve this union during our earthly lives so that we may enjoy it forever in heaven. In becoming Catholic, we have the hope of heaven and seeing God face to face.

Why we need the Catholic Church—in a nutshell

  1. We are made in God’s image and likeness, meant for a deep, loving relationship with him (Genesis 1:27).
  2. Due to sin, we have broken this friendship with God (Romans 6:23).
  3. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, became man, died on the cross, and rose from the grave for our salvation (Philippians 2:7-10).
  4. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and through Jesus our relationship with God is restored (Ephesians 2:8).
  5. Through the Catholic Church which Jesus established while on earth, we have access to grace by Baptism and are nourished by the Eucharist and other sacraments (Matthew 16:18-19).
  6. Through these sacraments, the Holy Spirit changes us, perfects us, fulfills our every desire, ultimately bringing us to eternal beatitude in heaven (Matthew 5:48).

ALPHA

Alpha lets you explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting. There’s no pressure to attend or stay—just a meal, a talk, and some conversation. It’s a ten-week program that we run at least twice per year. Check out the Alpha program and see if it’s for you!

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R.C.I.A.

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is how most folks enter the Catholic Church. Whether you’re new to the Christian faith or coming into the Church from another Christian denomination, this is your ticket. Click below to find out about the program.

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