Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I am a Catholic because I believe truth is real and that the fullness of truth, especially as it relates to the human person, is only found in the Catholic Church

In January of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI said the world is facing a profound crisis of faith, and Christianity is in grave danger and risks oblivion. In the United States, open persecution of the Catholic Church has begun under the Obama administration. So what are we to do? One thing we can do is reflect on why we are Catholic.

Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life' (Jn 14:6)

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6)

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Church, Christian, Faith, Catholic, Religion, Eastern, Secularism, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI made the following two comments when he spoke at a meeting held by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in January 2012: The world is facing a profound crisis of faith, and Christianity is in grave danger and risks oblivion. In the United States, open persecution of the Catholic Church has begun under the Obama administration. So what are we to do? One thing we can do is reflect on why we are Catholic. Knowing the reasons why we are Catholic can strengthen us and help us keep our faith alive in a dark and uncertain future.

Each of us has his or her own story to tell. Technically, mine began when, by God's grace, I was born into a Catholic family. But I will begin when I was still in high school and preparing for college about forty years ago because that was a turning point for me. Back then it seemed like college campuses across the country were on fire. I am referring to the throngs of protesters that were on the news almost daily. They had so much to say. I listened to them point out the evils of our society. They cared. They were going to make things better. I suppose it was because they were older that I looked up to them.

I finally left home for college in the early 1970's. It did not take me long to see the hypocrisy around me parading as self-righteous indignation. I did not find peace and love or a higher ethic; I found self-indulgence, escape, thrill seeking, lust, rebellion, and chaos. Needless to say, I did not fully immerse myself into this culture and steadily drifted away from it.

However, this left me in a quandary. Although I continued to practice my faith, at least minimally, I had largely rejected my parents' values and was now adrift without a value system or meaning. I felt completely free, but I also felt lost and alone. It was like being on the open sea in a small sail boat without a rudder or a compass to guide me. Fortunately for me the 70's was also a time of soul searching. Thus, my quandary motivated me to search for truth and the meaning of life.

I was surrounded by secularism. It stretched out before me as far as I could see. So I began my search in this environment. I took classes in the humanities, the social sciences and the physical sciences. All of these studies were interesting and helpful, but I never found what I was looking for, only fragments, bits and pieces. I gave up hope that I would find answers in secularism.

At this point, I began searching for spiritual answers. I read about the major world religions, except for Christianity. I did not think Christianity, or anything Western for that matter, had the answers I was searching for. Eastern thought fascinated me most, so I concentrated on it. I found great wisdom and beauty in Eastern religion and philosophy, but I could not accept some of their fundamental assumptions or their relativistic reasoning.

My mind was wide open to new ways of looking at the world in those days, but I needed ideas to be rational and relate to human experience in some way. This need gave me something solid to stand on. It also led me to books which attempted to synthesize Eastern and Western thought. These ideas were exciting at first, but as I read more, I found them too speculative and shallow. In general, I felt like these books were leading me in circles, so I stopped reading them.

Only after I had failed to find what I was looking for in secular and Eastern thought did I look at Christianity. I still did not think I would find answers in Catholicism, so my explorations only included Protestantism. Some of the protestant writers had a dramatic impact on me, and I am eternally grateful to them. Reading them was like soaring above the tree tops. Yet, my need for firm footing dampened the flame they ignited. Except for C.S. Lewis, and maybe one other, their reasoning was too loose for me at times. 

That is when I started reading Catholic books, and they blew my mind! Catholicism included the fragments--bits and pieces--of truth that I had found in secular, Eastern and protestant thought, and much more. Its reasoning was tight and elegant. Moreover, it offered profound explanations of human experience and compelling, forceful reasons for faith. After being tossed about in the open sea for years, I finally felt solid ground beneath my feet, and it brought me much comfort.

Now, many years after landing upon Catholic shores, I can make my confession of faith in union with our first pope. When Jesus asked the apostles if they also wanted to leave Him, Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6:68). Peter's response has great meaning for me today because it represents one of the chief reasons why I am Catholic. I am a Catholic because I believe truth is real and that the fullness of truth, especially as it relates to the human person, is only found in the Catholic Church.

I believe that truth is real because I see signs of it in the structure of the universe--in the patterns and relationships evident in physical matter and in the desires and moral struggles of the human person. These signs show me that there is something about the universe, and my experience of it, that is ordered, unified, good, beautiful, and objectively real. I believe this reality is truth. Thus, truth is rational and it is knowable and it relates to our experience.

This indicates that we can know much truth about ourselves. But the physical universe alone cannot provide an adequate explanation of the human person. Such explanations defy reason and our experience. Therefore, I believe the only possible rational explanation of the human person must be religious. However, despite the depth in other religions, only the Catholic Church offers me a rational explanation of the human person that is fully consistent with experience and resembles truth.

Peter saw the fullness of truth in the very words and person of Jesus; I see it in the teachings of the Catholic Church--the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. In these sublime teachings, I see truth reaching beyond space and time. It is reaching toward an infinite perfection of order, unity, goodness, and beauty. In its fullest and absolute sense, truth is the Triune God: our beginning, ultimate end, and happiness.

In his Apostolic Letter, Door of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith. It will begin on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. In preparation for the Year of Faith, I hope to write a series of articles which focus on some of the main ideas I grappled with on my journey, ideas that affect all of our lives even today. Let us pray that no matter how dark it becomes in the world or how turbulent the seas, in the end we can all say, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
 
-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus: Love to The End Watch

Image of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: The Little Flower

By F. K. Bartels

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I ... continue reading


Tough Lessons for Real Life from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job was right. He was living in the heart of God's will. When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake. Jobs fair-weather friends told him that his loss and difficulties were his fault, but Job knew better. In his unwavering hope in God's love and mercy we find the example of purified, living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake, for Love's ... continue reading


Interesting facts about the 400 years old Bom Jesus Church in India, the final resting place of St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is more than 400 years old.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Located in Old Goa, India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the ... continue reading


Bombing Islamic State is fueling the violence

Image of Civilians inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Allied airstrikes in Syria. We cannot bomb our way into the hearts of people.

By Tony Magliano

We need to do something! With the barbaric Islamic State now controlling large portions of Iraq and Syria, and inflicting rape, torture and even beheading on those who do not conform to their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, it is imperative that they must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis to try case of pedophile archbishop in Vatican court Watch

Image of Former archbishop and ambassador Josef Wesolowski is under  arrest at the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will try one of its own for child abuse. After decades, possibly centuries of abuse and cover up, the use of the Church has a cover for pedophiles has finally ended. Former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will now face trial for abusing boys he met ... continue reading


Pope Francis says to listen to God's word and put it into practice Watch

Image of During his homily at daily, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what He has to say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Pope Francis, living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. "These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more," the ... continue reading


Pope Francis appoints five women to major theological council Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has been critical on the Catholic Church's failures to adequately include women in theological discourse, has appointed five to a major theological council that is charged with aiding the pope and others with theological policy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Theological Commission, established in 1969 to study doctrinal issues faced by the Catholic Church and to help the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has just received five new female members, raising the number of female ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter