you might think i'm a freak because i'm Catholic.
and you'd be right.
i am a freak.
a Jesus freak.
that's right. i'm Catholic AND i believe in Jesus.
i say it like that because a couple of years ago someone assumed i didn't. she had been told that Catholics don't worship Jesus. that we don't believe in Him.
really? i said. have you been in a Catholic Church? because you'll find the Stations of the Cross which, you know, if you look closely, follow Jesus' Crucifixion. yeah. and speaking of Crucifixion, we have those huge Crosses on the altar. with Jesus on them. Crucified.
so you could say...with certainty...that we believe in Jesus.
i know i'm being sarcastic but she wasn't the first one. she wasn't the first to think being Catholic was a bad thing. and i'm used to those kind of remarks. i'm used to being right in the middle of a great Biblical conversation- talking about God and what He has done in my life and quoting Scripture - and then getting "the question".
"so where do you go to Church?'.
i always hesitate before i answer and take a breath. because i know what's about to come.
" i go to the Catholic Church down the road."
silence. complete silence. then the knowing nod. then the change of conversation.
and while the conversation switch makes it obvious, the nod really says it all.
the nod equals...oh, you're one of THEM.
yep, i think to myself as they start to walk away. that's me. one of THEM. one of THOSE Catholics. one of those CRAZY people.
one of those who other people like to talk about. and judge. and assume.
because they've heard about us. they know about us. they assume about us.
but they rarely ask us. they rarely want to question us. they rarely want to hear our story.
to hear what we believe.
to know where we stand.
because they already have made up their minds. they already think we're freaks.
so i thought i'd clear it up.
i am Catholic. and i believe in Jesus. i believe He is the Son of God, sent to be my Savior.
i believe He was crucified for my sins. and i believe He will come again.
some assume i need to be saved. i know that i already am.
some assume that i worship Mary the Mother of God. some assume i worship statues.
i do neither.
but i do honor Mary. i do show reverence to her. i do hold her in high esteem. i do the same with the Saints. i pray that my character might be more like theirs. i pray that their lives might be reflected in mine.
but be clear. be perfectly clear. i worship God.
do i pray to them? i do. do i ask them to pray for me? i do. just like i ask my friends for advice, for direction, for clarification in life. just like i ask those who are closest to me to pray for me.
how strange that it is considered perfectly normal to ask another human being for direction, guidance and prayer but it is considered crazy to do the same with those human beings whose lives were lived boldly to honor God.
so i can ask you, or my neighbor, or a stranger off the street to pray for me - to intercede for me- but i can't ask Mary, the mother of Jesus?
i'm not sure how that makes sense.
but you did get one thing right. you did assume one thing about me that makes me smile.
i am a freak.
a Jesus freak.
and you can call me that any day of the week.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.