Behold, behold the wood of the cross
On which was hung our Salvation.
O come, let us adore.
It was 5 years ago today that I said, in front of many witnesses:
I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.
And I meant it.
For many who could be reading this, it's an outrageous statement. "But don't they believe..." The vast majority of things that come after that statement when it's made: yes, unequivocally, and with good reason.
To those who believe that those of us who are religious should just keep quiet about it, imagine for a moment the most profound moment of your life, the foundation of who you are. How often have you told the story? Sure there's plenty of people who disrespect the boundaries of others and tell their stories disrespectfully, and that's deeply unfortunate. (Of course, there's both secular and spiritual examples of this.)
Today marks the most profound day, the most important day in all of history. On the day he was crucified, Jesus says,
For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
And Pilate responds:
What is truth?
Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy on us, and on the whole world.
The question of religion is not, "What makes you happy" or "What floats your boat." The real question is, what are you willing to give up for the truth? Many believers have died as martyrs for the truth. Others have lost their jobs, families, homes, and more.
Someone recently said I was "maybe a bit too Catholic" and I've never been more complemented in my life. But I confess that I am afraid of the social martyrdom that can come as a result of expressing my true views.
I wholeheartedly reject moral relativism, especially the meta-ethical version of personal truth. I have never believed in it at any point during the many philosophical earthquakes of my life. The vast majority of my peers take it as an obvious given.
I don't go sharing all my unpopular views on social media. I am not here to provoke others. But if about 80% of my friends or acquaintances ever asked me, they would be shocked, horrified even, by some of the things that I believe and find completely defensible - both rationally and in keeping with the doctrine of the Church.
To be honest, even among my very best and closest friends, there is at least one belief that would (or already has, in most cases) deeply upset or at the very least, gravely puzzled every one of them - except those that are truly and deeply Catholic.
There is not a single day that goes by where I use Facebook that I do not find a post that is wholeheartedly against my religion. Sometimes very specifically so. I have friends and family who offhandedly make scornful dismissals of the Catholic Church and Christians who believe similar things on a regular basis.
And the funny thing to me is all the people who are searching so desperately for truth all over the place, but it's as though someone put a veil over my beloved Church and said, "Look anywhere for truth - anywhere but here. You won't like what you find."
As I said, I have been a seeker of truth. But I didn't want to find it in the Church either. I don't talk often about the struggle I had in accepting the call to conversion, but it was much like that of C.S. Lewis, about whose recalcitrant conversion to the very similar Anglican faith from Atheism he writes:
But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?
I spent over a year in outright rebellion against the call to conversion before I finally stopped fighting it. It was a miserable year. But love requires suffering.
The truth is inconvenient, radical, dangerous. And I believe that the Truth is God-made-flesh, who suffered to redeem our suffering and exploded so hard when he resurrected from the dead that it left an extremely strong electromagnetic field that imprinted his image on his burial clothes.
As the Narnian said of the Lion:
"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”