Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/16/2012 (3 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 (3 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

'Let Jesus satisfy your hunger for God': Pope Francis encourages people to make offers to God Watch

Image of Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday reading from the Gospel of John in which a vast crowd follows Jesus, but lacks enough food to eat.

By CNA/EWTN News

Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading


What to wear to church: What's more important, physical or inner beauty? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading


'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


'There is no hope, no life, no hope for an end': 'Donor fatigue' setting in among those helping Christians in Middle East fleeing ISIS Watch

Image of Refugees now realize that they will be unable to return to their homes in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading


Giant cross at veteran memorial to stay standing with game-changing agreement made Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... continue reading


A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary painting caught on tape moving lips along with the Lord's Prayer (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The lips on a painted image of the Virgin Mary, on display at the St. Charbels Church in New South Wales, Australia, were reportedly witnessed moving along with the reading of the Lord's Prayer. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The video featuring the Virgin ... continue reading


Many accuse Pope Francis of socialist, even communist leanings - is he? Watch

Image of The gift of a

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis' recent trip to Latin America has rekindled questions about whether he endorses socialism, or even communism. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The gift of a "communist crucifix" from Bolivia's president Evo Morales and uncertainty over the Pope's response ... continue reading


Schedule released for Pope Francis' Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.

By CNA/EWTN News

Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and CNA was able to glance at details of their programs. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The twelve big events of the Jubilee of ... continue reading


Bible verse discovered on ancient Hebrew scroll unearthed near the Dead Sea Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A burned scroll, speculated to have existed for 1,500 years, was unearthed in 1970 near the Dead Sea, but scientists only now have deciphered the content of the delicate ancient parchment. They were shocked to find the most ancient Hebrew scroll contained a part of the ... 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, Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
16 Moses did this; he did exactly as Yahweh had ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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