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Paulist seminarian Tom Gibbons reflects on his formation experience and his life as a seminarian right now. Along the way, some questions will be will be answered, and a lot more will come up.

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March 22nd, 2011

What do YOU like about your faith?

 
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In today’s media environment, we invariably hear the stories about which things go wrong.  I guess it’s human nature to focus on the negative, but the focus of news organizations do have its place.  I think that when issues like the sex-abuse crisis continue to unfold, we do need to be reminded of it so that we don’t turn our eyes away from it, lest we conveniently skip over the lessons that we may have to absorb as a Church.  I remember during Benedict’s visit a few years ago, a Catholic commentator was on television claiming that the Church sex-abuse crisis had been put behind her and now we could all move on… 18 months later it exploded again in Europe.  Sadly, negativity has its place in the world.

That being said, I realized after writing my last post which focused on the letter a friend of mine wrote to me concerning the sex abuse crisis, it might be important to take a step back and share what I like about the Catholic Church.  Because I can get stuck focusing on the wrongs of a person or the failures of an institution as much as anybody.  I am more than capable of expelling gobs of self-righteous energy over issues that include (but are not limited to) the failure of McDonald’s to provide breakfast after 10:30 a.m.  But the danger is that while I can get so stuck on the negative things, in the process I can frequently miss the Quarter-Pounder with Cheese through the fries.

Buddy_christSo for this post, I’d like to open up a conversation around this question: what do you like about your faith?  This is a conversation in which anyone and everyone is welcome to participate and it can be for whatever reason; the reason you share can come from the depths of your soul, or it can be just a fun factoid of your life that others outside of your tradition might not get to participate.

For example, if you are Wicken, you might feel a certain sense of ownership the rest of us don’t feel for the Harry Potter franchise.  If you are Jewish, you might get a special thrill out of seeing the jealous faces of all of the other kids who DIDN’T get the day off for particular holidays.  You might not have even practiced your faith in a long time, but there are elements about it you either miss or really appreciated… that’s fine too, join right in!  Whatever the reasons might be, feel free to leave a comment, as long as the comment is affirming of your own faith and does not condemn another faith tradition or group.

So I’ll start.  I know that one reason I liked being Catholic growing up was because we were not allowed to eat meat during Lent, so my family always went out for pizza on Fridays.  During the rest of the year, dinner on Fridays was a role of the dice.  Dinner could be burgers (yum!) but it could also be corned beef and cabbage (not so yum).  Fridays during Lent, however, usually meant PIZZA.  And not just any pizza, but Scotto’s pizza.  Of course, that’s my fun reason.  Another reason is that my Catholic faith has exposed me to the needs of others in ways that I might not have otherwise having grown-up in my comfortable middle class environment of Northern New Jersey.  My faith has challenged me to look at the person who is asking for a dollar on the street in the same way I might look upon a family member in need… and has also provided me with forgiveness during the countless times I have failed to do so.

Of course, there’s even more to my faith than that, but that’s a good primer for now.  Start your commenting!

 
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The Author : Fr. Tom Gibbons
Since 2009, Tom Gibbons, CSP, has shared insights on faith, pop culture, and seminary life in the Kicking and Screaming blog here at Busted Halo. On May 19, 2012, Tom was ordained a Paulist priest at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City. He will begin serving St. Peter's Catholic Church in Toronto, Canada beginning in July 2012.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Steve

    I love that Catholicism is a wisdom tradition. The sidewalk preachers who tell me all I have to do is say the magic words, “I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,” and I will instantly be “Saved” make me want to throw up.

  • Megan

    I love our Catholic tradition of radical reformers and advocates for social justice — usually it takes the Church a while to catch up with them! Ss. Francis and Clare, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, Dorothy Day (Servant of God), etc…

  • Jeff

    What Tom no fillet-o-fish on Fridays? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bJOIqVAD-s

    and I thought I was the only one who loved dinner on Fridays during lent. :)

  • Wally

    I travel for work and I love being in a different city, feeling like a stranger and then walking into a church and feeling at home, like I am with family.
    I love the history, learning all the traditions and the way the Word of God puts order to our chaotic lives. And I especially love the Sacraments, Saints, Martyrs, Angels, Mary, Jesus and God … pretty much everything about being Catholic.

  • Brian

    I love being Catholic because after being raised a cradle Catholic, Catholic schools and all, I spent a lifetime wandering and basically living my own pride. After much reading and searching I found myself back home. Why? Because nothing else made sense.

  • PJ

    I am Catholic. I would agree with all of the comments about bringing depth to the calendar of days and traditions. But there are so many of those:) So in a new way, for community, for having a spiritual home no matter where I am or how many times I move. I am blessed.

  • Kat

    I love that when we study the Bible, why we do what we do is marvelously reflected there. It’s all in here, people!
    I love love love traveling all over the globe and being able to hear mass with whoever lives in the country I’m visiting. Even if we don’t speak the same language, we greet each other at the sign of peace and mean it. Even if I don’t understand the homily, I know the readings are the same as back home in Chicago, and I can pray the Our Father in English as they say it in French, Tagalog, Polish, Italian, Latin, German, or Spanish. I treasure the universality.
    I love the Eucharist.
    I love the way Jesus is present in all.
    I love the Tradition of the saints.
    I love the Stations of the Cross.
    I love that we are imperfect, since I am, too.
    I love the candles, icons, beautiful art, beautiful churches.
    I love the support you get in the Church to grow and be a better person.
    I love Catholic Relief Services.
    I love that I spend all the important times of my life—losing my Dad, getting married, anticipating giving birth–kneeling in prayer. The church, circumstance, my age, locale, concern–all may change, but yet it is all the same. It provides stability and an anchor in a changing life.
    I love our excellent educational institutions.

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