Why I love the Church
Our founder, Fr. Kenneth Baker, was for forty years editor of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review and wrote an editorial for each issue. This publication is now available online and is still worth reading. I would like to share with you one of my favorite editorials. This one is from the Homiletic and Pastoral Review of October, 2006. Why I love the Church The Catholic Church is the most important reality on earth because it is animated by God himself -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, became man of the Virgin Mary 2000 years ago in order to teach us how to relate to God and to give us the ability to save our souls. He died for you and for me and so made satisfaction to God for the sins of all mankind, from Adam and Eve down to the present day.
During his public life, Jesus selected twelve men whom he named Apostles. He taught them the way of salvation, gave them spiritual powers and established his Church on them which is his instrument of salvation for all men. On Pentecost they and the small group with them constituted the whole Church in miniature, but it was like an oak acorn which was to grow into a mighty tree and in time transform the Roman Empire and the whole world.
Since Jesus is present in his Church which is his Mystical Body and calls all men to belong to the Church and so be united, and since it is the only vehicle of salvation, and since it is supremely good and the sign of God’s love for us, it is both fitting and necessary to love the Church, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
For the above and many other reasons I love the Catholic Church above all things on earth as my most precious possession. Let me list some of the other reasons:
1) I love the Church because it is only in and through the Church that you and I can acquire sanctifying grace, which is the grace of Christ and the supernatural life of the soul and which makes us adopted children of God and heirs of heaven. Because of that grace we can truly call God “Our Father” with all that fatherhood implies.
2) I love the Seven Sacraments because the saving, life-giving grace of Christ is imparted to us through the Sacraments. They are instruments of Christ who operates in and through them as their principal efficient cause to communicate his grace.
3) I love the Church because she is the custodian and the teacher of the truth that is necessary for eternal life. God’s revelation of himself as a Tri-Personal God who is my Creator and Redeemer is made known to us through the Church. I love her Magisterium (Teaching Authority) because it gives me sure guidance in matters of faith and morals, and it corrects those who are in error. I love her teaching because she gives us certainty about the purpose of creation, the end of human existence as the face-to-face vision of God, the existence of the holy angels, and what happens to man after death--purification in purgatory, damnation for the wicked and eternal happiness for those who die in the state of sanctifying grace.
4) I love the Church because she is the only source of holiness and union with God. I love the spiritual doctrine of the Church and the saints which teaches us how to achieve this union with God in this life through the practice of asceticism. We have excellent examples of this in St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis de Sales and St. Therese of Lisieux.
5) I love the Church because of her beautiful liturgy which gives us the opportunity to worship God in a fitting manner that is acceptable to him.
6) I love the Church because she is the best teacher of mankind. She distinguishes between supernatural and natural truth. She is the root cause of Western civilization and the advance of science which did not and could not develop in pagan cultures dominated by devils and false gods.
These are some of the reasons why I love the Church. All earthly things are temporal and passing away. Only the grace of Christ which comes to me from the Church offers me that which I desire deep down -- everlasting life in loving union with God who is infinite goodness. As St. Augustine said, profoundly, “Our hearts were made for Thee, O God, and they will not rest until they rest in thee.”
From the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, October, 2006, by Rev. Kenneth Baker, S. J.