I was so dismayed to find out that I had completely spaced out on the date, that I wasn't ready with a post for my FAVORITE linkup, 3 Reasons I Love Catholicism. I have been so discombobulated this past week - things have not been connecting properly in my head. Maybe it's due to having had 4 Tropical Storms come through here in a week and a half.
Anyway, here are my favorite three for this month:
I've done a post on how my understanding of prayer has changed since becoming a Catholic, but one aspect of this has been a real comfort to me today, and that is that Catholics know that often it's hard to find the words when praying, so they are generous in composing and sharing prayers for specific occasions. Today was the day of fasting for Syria, and I was spinning my wheels, spiritually speaking, in finding a means of praying that I knew was of the depth and breadth that the situation deserved. "Oh God, help the Syrians" wasn't enough. Happily the US Conference of Catholic Bishops put a prayer on their website for us tongue-tied people to use, and I was SO thankful, because it covered aspects of this situation that need our prayers that I, of course, had completely ignored in my own attempts to pray. I have come to love the prayers that others who are more spiritual and articulate than I have made available for the rest of us to use.
Since this is the world-wide day of fasting and prayer, it's a good time to be thankful that the Catholic Church identifies with people who are suffering, whether or not they are part of the Catholic family. Of course, christians in general are like Christ in this, but the message becomes so much stronger when it is focused and acted out under the banner of the largest group of christians in the world. The Church keeps her family aware of the sufferings that various members are undergoing (as well as the sufferings of those who are not part of the same family), and calls us to pray regularly for them. We, as a body, pray for those who are suffering at every mass, but as the Pope did in calling for a specific day of prayer, we are often called to special prayer for those who are suffering. And of course, the cloistered monks and nuns throughout the world have prayer for the suffering as their daily work, 24/7/365.
The Catholic Church understands the amazing gift that God has in store for us - sharing in His glory - because it sees in Mary what that means, what it looks like. All the things about Mary that protestants get the willies over are for ALL of us: her purity (we will be clothed in white), her importance in the redemption of mankind (God made us to be co-workers with Him), her queenship (we will reign with Him). If we can't look at these things made visible in Mary, we are missing the joy that comes from truly laying hold of the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. She is what we will be, and that's not something to be sneered at, but received with awe.
For more wonderful things about the Catholic Church, click yourself over to Micaela's blog.