I'm linking up with Micaela at California to Korea (and home again, home again, jiggety jog) to tell the world about the amazing blessings of being Catholic. I love the Pope Francis edition that Micaela has this month, and that picture of the Pope in the rain! He is beyond amazing!
Here are only three things that I love about the church:
IT IS FULLY INCARNATIONAL. Of course protestants (of which I was one for over 40 years) believe in the incarnation of Jesus, but in the actual "working out of one's salvation" - the living of one's faith - the emphasis is on getting the right concepts. The Catholic Church is not ashamed to acknowledge the value of physical things in aiding the growth of faith. The difference between being in a typical protestant church building, which often could be mistaken for a conference center, and being in a typical Catholic church, with the many reminders of the glories and mysteries of God's love for us, is striking. To be able to contemplate Jesus' sacrifice for us by looking at a statue of him hanging on the cross is to have an incarnated experience of this verse: "We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God".
IT HAS A SOLID AND ENDURING LITURGICAL AND HEIRARCHICAL STRUCTURE. This is sooo important! If the structure of a thing changes it becomes something else (stay with me here; don't go looking for exceptions!). The structure of the Catholic Church hasn't changed for 2000 years and isn't going to start changing now. This is what is needed to have true freedom - if you can't be sure that your church's structure will be the same in the future, some part of you isn't settled and free of concern in that regard. We were in denominational churches for years which had a certain liturgical structure to them, but that structure was changeable based on the desires of the pastor or the congregation (depending on the denomination). We were also in nondenominational churches for years, and the greatest threat there is that virtually all of them are based on the charisma of their leaders. Once the founding leaders are gone, often changes are made which take the group away from their unique charisma. The structure of the Catholic Church - both liturgical and hierarchical - was the same in the first century that it is today (just read the Didache, written in 90AD, to see that).
IT HAS EUCHARISTIC ADORATION. This may seem weird to non-Catholics (heck, I KNOW it seems weird to them!) but I've also heard many stories of people who don't believe that the host is Christ who nevertheless find themselves at Eucharistic Adoration and feeling the deep peace of His presence. That ought to be a fairly strong sign that the Catholic Church may be on to something here.