Thanks so much, Michaela, for creating this link-up and encouraging us all to express some of the things that are deep in our hearts. Here are my first 3 reasons for loving Catholicism (and I speak as a recent convert after having been a protestant for 40 years as an adult).
(1) THE WRITTEN HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING. A long time ago, a wonderful protestant teacher, Bob Mumford, wrote a book called "Take Another Look at Guidance". He said that in seeking to know God's will christians should look for 3 things to line up: the testimony of the scriptures, the confirmation of circumstances, and the counsel of others. There's one thing missing in that list though, which has made all the difference to me in deepening my relationship with God: what can we learn from the people of God throughout history? Protestants tend to focus on the Bible and perhaps add some contemporary authors (within the last hundred years or so, the more recent the better) to help them understand how to put biblical precepts into practice. There is a general ignorance of the millenia of christian writers who have reflected on how to BE christians. This ignorance is, I think, tied to the dismissal of anything that smacks of pure Catholicism (don't want to get those Catholic cooties!). Once I got over my fear of Catholic cooties, I found a depth of treasure from those who have struggled with the same things I struggle with and have found the answers that I seek, and whose lives then have shown the fruit of their practices. I am finally able to overcome issues I have been struggling with for 40 years as a christian! Glory to God!
(2) CATHOLICISM IS INCARNATIONAL. Protestants need to come up with a rational for why the Body of Christ is NOT one, so they say that Jesus the church is "invisible". But everything that Jesus did, and the Jews' worship of God that He identified with, was incarnational. From the very beginning everything that God mandated was in the context of the physical world, not simply conceptual. This is why God came to earth as a human being - when the life of God is manifested, it is manifested physically. As a Catholic, to see the church in Mary (she is our model, she is the "mother of the church") is to see what God wants us to become. This is one reason why the church councils took so seriously the issue of Mary's immaculate conception - because every aspect of her life is a "real-life" incarnation of what the church as seen by God. We aren't stuck with a mere concept of God, nor with a mere concept of who we are - we have actual humans to show us what that looks like: Jesus IS God, perfectly expressed in our physical world. Mary IS the physical expression of the perfection that God has for each of us human beings.
(3) CATHOLICISM IS HUMBLE. The first characteristic that struck me when I started to go to mass was the atmosphere of humility. These people, as a group, actually put their hearts out there before God in a way that I had never felt before (and by this point I'd been a christian for decades and had been involved in many different christian groups). The first time I experienced a Catholic mass was in a charismatic conference in New Orleans where charismatics from all different denominations (and non-denominations) gathered - about 50,000 of us totally filled the SuperDome. When we broke into our individual groups for a session, I held back in the main part of the Superdome where the 30,000 Catholics were having mass. After an incredibly joyful procession, the archbishop got up to speak and he spoke about how many of the non-Catholic conference attendees were trying to convert the Catholics (I had actually seen this happen in the elevator at our hotel). He gently encouraged his flock to pray for the non-Catholics and to answer them with joy and humility. I was moved to tears - the whole mass was as close to an expression of "Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven" that I have ever (to this day) experienced. But at every mass I've been to since then, it is the humility which stands out to me.
None of these points are meant to disparage the great and true aspects on the protestant side of christianity. My entire family (other than my husband) and all our dearest friends are protestants who love God deeply and serve Him truly. These are simply aspects of Catholicism that I didn't know about until I overcame my fear of contamination and came close enough to see these things for myself. You can certainly be a christian beloved of God without experiencing these things, but with them the life of faith is so much richer!
Just so you have something to look at besides words, here's a photo of the renewal of our vows when we entered the Catholic Church.
For more great reason to love Catholicism, go to Michaela's blog. Bendiciones a todos!