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Catholics come Home

Top 10 reasons to come back to the Catholic Church

by Lorene Hanley Duqin of Our Sunday Visitor: http://www.osv.com
with small improvements/edits by Mike Humphrey

You Can't Go Home Again is the title of a once-famous novel by Thomas Wolfe. There is deep wistfulness in his novel. He believed that going home again is bound to be a great disappointment.

Not so with the Catholic Church. No matter how long you've been away, you can always come home. You can start coming to Mass. ** You can become a part of a parish community. You can enter into the faith far more deeply than when you left.

Chances are, you're already feeling a strange inner pull. No matter what anyone else tells you, the spiritual longing you feel is God trying to draw you back to himself. But God never forces. God only invites. Whether or not you return to the Catholic Church is a decision that only you can make.

There are as many reasons for coming back to the Church as there are people who left. While God is at the center of each person's decision to return, the circumstances are varied. Here are ten reasons that influenced the decision of other people to return to the practice of the Catholic faith:

  • Number 10: Because they want meaning in life.

    In the hustle of today's busy lifestyles, lots of people suddenly realize that their lives have lost a sense of meaning or purpose. They begin to ask themselves, "What is my life all about?" Why do I do what I do?" There is widespread confusion in our culture with regard to morality and truth. The Catholic Church offers a beacon of light that gives meaning to our existence and leads to eternal life if we persevere.

  • Number 9: Because childhood memories surface.

    Some people say childhood memories of feeling connected to God surface in later life. They begin to ask themselves, "Is it possible to recapture that simplicity of faith? Can I ever really believe that God is watching our for me?" The secularization of our society leads people away from the spiritual side of themselves. The Catholic Church offers BOTH religious and mystical experiences that feed the heart, the mind the body and the soul AS WELL AS an array of active lay ministries that interface and interact with the secular world in order to make it a holier world to live in.

  • Number 8: Because they made mistakes.We are reconciled with the Lord and the Church through His chosen priests

    Some people become burdened with the weight of accumulated sin. They want to get rid of the guilt of having hurt others. They begin to ask themselves, "Will God ever forgive me? Is there any way I can start over with a clean slate?" You can always tell God that you're sorry, but through the sacrament of reconciliation you have a complete assurance of God's forgiveness. In addition, you are reconciled not only with God but with all the members in the Church, the Body of Christ, (CCC 1440) and given the grace to start again with that new slate. The favorite aspect I like about this sacrament, is that for all sins I confess to the Lord {the priest representing the Lord}, I am given extra graces not to commit those particular sins I confess again. I still may struggle, but Our Lord is there to continually assist me.

  • Number 7: Because they need to forgive others.

    Some times people hold on to anger and resentment toward individuals who have hurt them deeply. Maybe it was a family member or friend. Maybe it was someone: a sister, priest or something, in the Church.

    "Will God ever forgive me?"

    Our modern culture condones and encourages anger and revenge. But hatred and bitterness are spiritual cancers that eat at the heart of a person. The Catholic Church provides the opportunity to seek God's help in forgiving others, even when the other person does not ask for forgiveness or does not deserve it. The ability to forgive is a gift that opens a person's heart more fully to God's love and peace.

  • Number 6: Because they want to be healed.

    Some people carry deep spiritual wounds. They struggle with anger at God over bad things that happen -- a terminal illness, a debilitating injury, a broken relationship, mental or emotional problems, an act of violence against an innocent person, an unexplainable accident, some natural disaster, the death of a loved one or some other deep disappointment. The Catholic Church cannot change these situations or explain why they happened. But there are people in the Church who can assist in the process of spiritual healing and help you get on with your life.

  • Number 5: Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace.

    Many people who leave the Catholic Church are blessed by the experience of worshiping for a while in various Christian denominations. But some people come back when they realize that Catholicism has the fullness of truth and grace. The Catholic Church was not founded by a single reformer or historical movement. It is not fragmented by individual interpretations of Scripture. There are thousands of Christian denominations, but only one Catholic Church. This Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit and protected from teaching error on issues of faith and morals from generation to generation for some two thousand years. Our Lord Jesus promised: (foretold Isaiah 22:15-25) Matt 16:13-20; Matthew 18:15-18 (in this verse the word is church, not community); 1 Tim 3:15

  • Number 4: Because they want their children to have a faith foundation.

    Some people return to the Catholic Church because they recognize that raising children in a culture that promotes "doing you own thing" can lead to disaster. Children need to experience the spiritual dimensions of life. They need a structured system of belief and a firm moral foundation that goes beyond human logic and reasoning. People return because they want a solid foundation upon which their children can build their lives.

  • Number 3: Because they want to be part of a faith community.

    Many people seek a sense of belonging. But community is more than just friendly people, good sermons, and interesting activities. A Catholic Christian community is a group of people who gather around the person of Jesus Christ to worship God and live in the light of the Holy Spirit. Catholics come together at Mass, in the Sacraments, and in parish activities to pray, to celebrate joys,, to mourn losses, to serve others, to provide support, and to receive strength for daily life. A Catholic parish offers all of this - and much more - to people who recognize the importance of walking with others toward union with God.

  • Number 2: Because they want to help other people.

    There are lots of opportunities within the secular world to volunteer. What's missing is the spiritual dimension that service within the Catholic Church provides. It's more than just a "feel good" activity. It's part of the "great commandment" (See Mark 12:28ff) to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. In reaching out to others, Catholic volunteers become instruments of God's love. The Catholic Church offers opportunities to touch the lives of people at home or around the world.

  • Number 1: Because they hunger for the Eucharist.
    [The Eucharist is the number 1 reason that people come back to the Church.]

    Many people come back to the Catholic Church because they feel an intense longing for the Eucharist. Sometimes it happens at a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a First Communion, or a Confirmation. Sometimes it happens when people are alone or facing difficulties in life. They describe it as a deep hunger for the spiritual nourishment that comes when they receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This hunger for the Eucharist triggers a recognition of the presence of Christ in other Sacraments, which draws them even more deeply into the practice of their faith. It is, without exception, the number 1 reason that people come back to the Catholic Church.


Most people discover that coming back to the Church is not an event as much as it is a process that involves a little pain, a little laughter, some thinking, some prayer, some discernment and a lot of letting go. "My actual return to full participation in a parish took about three years after I felt the first longing," one person admitted.

And what do they get in return? The Catholic Church offers union with Jesus Christ:

  • in the Scripture
  • in prayer
  • in the community of others
  • in the Eucharist
  • and in the other Sacraments.

It offers spiritual support in good times and bad. It offers divine wisdom which is thousands of years old from people just like YOU who lived in each and every century throughout Christian history: 33AD, 100AD, 800AD, 1000AD, 1300AD, 1964AD and 2005AD. It offers meaning and purpose in this life and the promise of eternal life with Him after death for those who persevere to the end.

You'll know you are home when you begin to feel a deep sense of peace.

My personal side note: For those {families, husbands, wives, etc.} who have left the Church OR non-Catholic Christians who have ruled out becoming a Catholic due to the recent problems in our Church, I want share the following.

We do have problems, but using the crisis in the Church as an excuse for not being a practicing Catholic or, for non-Catholic Christians, not becoming a Catholic, is no excuse. We are and will always be a Church of saints and sinners. Through the Eucharist, where we REALLY partake in Divine Nature, Our Lord molds us in maturity and, if needed, pulls the grudges we have been holding in our hearts for years from our soul. We have to work with him in prayer though, not run away.

Let's hope and pray that over the next few years the divinely appointed leaders of our Church will take a serious look [accompanied by serious actions] at the spiritual life and environment of Catholic seminaries in the United States, from assessing and evaluating rectors, seminary professors, vocational directors and sisters who are employed there.

Though the mass media tends to paint the problems in our Church with a broad brush and never in a positive light, remember, there are many holy priests who carry out their vocation in silence and ARE truly holy witnesses of Jesus. (These are the priests you'll NEVER see on the SIX P.M. evening news.) Just as Jesus was rejected by the world, so will the Church he founded and true followers of that Church be rejected.

Within the past 7 years, a study on sexual abuse within churches was done based on an incident/church population.

Guess which Church had the lowest incident of sexual abuse? You guessed it:

The Catholic Church.

Are you going to hear that from your local news media?

 



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