Praise be to God for an opportunity to defend the faith!!! Today my sister and I went to lunch with one of our favorite teachers, our 7th grade Social Studies teacher. He's one of the few people from the middle school/high school that we still keep in contact with frequently. Who would have thought God would give me the chance during a simple lunch outing to dispell false assumptions about the Church!?! When we get together with him, we have what he calls "ping pong conversations" because Val and I are so different. We'll talk about what's going on with her for 10 minutes and then what's going on with me for 10. The topics switch back and forth with seeming ease, though they are vastly different. We go from what are the latest movies out and who is the best character on "Sex and the City" with Val to why he should name his new baby after a saint with me.
Anyway, today, like I said, I got the wonderful chance to stand up for the Church. The guy is not a very religious man, but he told me that he often wonders about that kind of stuff. He finds religion hard to deal with because he "wants more proof" and wants to know how I can believe Heaven exists without proof. At the very beginning of my theological thinking I used to have some issues with the Heaven thing too because I also like tangible proof. Something that's hard to get through thick heads at first is that if God gave us 100% certainty of all these things there'd be no reason to need faith. It wouldn't be our free choice to believe in Him. How opportune that just this past Sunday we read: "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." How difficult it is to explain that thought to someone who doesn't have faith... and sometimes even to those of us who do!!!
Anyone who has known me for at least 5 seconds knows that when the opportunity arises, I am not one to keep my mouth shut. I do my best to find a good balance when I do this stuff though. I don't want to sound crazy because I know what some fundamentalists sound like. Though I'm not afraid to let my militancy about this stuff show around people who I know already believe it, I like to sound calm, yet rational and convincing around those who need a few nudges. I try my best... hopefully I'm successful! Anyway, when my sister was explaining to him that she wants to get married, but doesn't want kids, there was no way I was not going to let that one ping pong back to me!!! I would not miss the grand opportunity to voice my opinion on that matter since for my sister's wedding gift I will not be ashamed to give her only one thing: a copy of "Humanae Vitae!" She'll hate me, but hey, I'll speak the truth anyway. Does anyone else think it's weird to take up the topics of birth control, marriage and sex with your 7th grade teacher?!?!
So, it's always fun to ask people why they got married. You always get the "we love each other" bit. Well, why did you feel the need to get married in a church? Because that's what everyone does? Why spend all that money on a big celebration? You want to declare your love to the world? Good... why not invite your friends over to your house for some beers and declare it that way instead? Does anyone these days ever think of the fact that it's not two people entering the marriage covenant, but three? Does anyone ever realize that marriage is a three way WITH GOD? Would there be any other reason that we as Catholics include matrimony as one of the seven sacraments? When you realize that, all the rest of the Church's teachings about marriage, sex and family make clear sense. It's always interesting explaining to people that the Church's teachings on this stuff are not meant to oppress people, but to make the life they share together as harmonious and beautiful as possible.
Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow including the thrilling story of the opportunity God gave me at lunch to defend Christianity as a rational religion to believe, the doctrine of 'sola scriptura' as disastrously erroneous and the need for an additional source of authority, the reason that some books were rejected from the Bible as non-canonical, the Pope and infallibility, and of course, TRANSUBSTANTIATION!!!!
God is SO good to me giving me these exciting opportunities to defend the truth!!!