Faith is both a relationship with God as well as an engagement with the truths that he reveals.
In other words, faith refers to both the act by which we accept God’s word and the content of what he has revealed to us.
Our faith encounter with God’s revealed message takes time and maturity to probe its meaning and gain some hint of the awe and majesty to which divine truths point. There is brilliant light as well as shadows. We are pilgrims of love and truth ever seeking and longing for closer union with God.
The ultimate goal of a life of faith is eternal union with God in heaven. Through the gift and experience of faith, we are able not only to look ahead to what awaits us, but also to experience here some of God’s divine life, “a taste in advance” of our sharing life with him forever (see Catechism of the Catholic Church §163). While living a life of growing in faith might seem like a waste of time and energy to skeptics and non-believers, both because the objects of faith cannot always be proven and because faith often “produces” little measurable value, believers know the strength, the wisdom, the confidence and hope that a life of faith gives.
The Catholic Church is first, the church first instituted by Jesus Christ over two-thousand years ago.
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)
To be Catholic is to be a Christian, a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ. We believe, as Catholics, that we are the Body of Christ and as followers we are on a journey, a journey which will ultimately bring us to the fullness of life everlasting with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in heaven. It is a journey of faith, a lifelong and ongoing journey which begins at conception and continues forever after natural death.
We are called to actively practice our faith which means much more than saying we are Catholic. We are called to live our faith every moment of our lives. God is always present to us and we should always be present to him. We are called to grow in our faith. That means we must constantly and diligently seek new knowledge and understanding of what it means to be Catholic and Christian.
Being Catholic Today
As members of the Catholic Church in today’s world, believers are called upon to share their faith with the wider community. As we follow in the footsteps of Christ, we witness to our faith in how we raise our children, how we interact with friends, family and coworkers, and how we engage in modern culture. Through the centuries, no church has done more to care for our brothers and sisters in need than the Catholic Church.
The beginning of Catholic belief is God’s revelation. We believe that God loves us and desires to be in relationship with his creation. We believe that God’s reveals himself in numerous ways, but particularly through the revelation of his Word, which comes to us in two forms – Sacred Scripture (written) and Tradition (unwritten). The ultimate sign of God’s revelation is the Incarnation – God becoming human in Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is the ultimate sign of God’s love for God’s people.
Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity, God revealed as three divine persons of one nature: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Church was founded by Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and carried forward through the ages by the Apostolic Tradition. The Paschal Mystery – the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – is the central mystery of every liturgical celebration, most especially the Mass, which is the “source and summit” of our lives as Catholics.
The Mass is the central, binding celebration of the Church. We live out the sacramental life most fully in community. Christ calls us to the forgiveness of sins and we recognize the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a way to repair sin and return to right relationship with God, ourselves and others. We are nourished and fed by the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The presence of the Risen Christ is revealed throughout the sacred liturgy and in the community gathered as the Body of Christ, in the Word, in the Presider, and most especially in the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Jesus).
As the living Body of Christ, Catholics are called to live a “countercultural” life. We are called to serve one another, just as Jesus served. We stand up for our faith and beliefs even if this means suffering in the world. The Catholic social teachings call us to care especially for the dignity of the human person – from the moment of conception to the end of natural life. We are called to tend to the poor, care for our environment, ensure just working conditions for all and work towards an economic system that allows for equal treatment of people.
We believe that we are united with all of the angels and saints, especially Mary, the Mother of God, and we model on lives on their holy example. We pray to Mary and all the saints to intercede for us. Personal and communal prayer is a hallmark of the Catholic faith. We pray to strengthen our relationship with God and to grow in faith and love. We are united with all believers throughout the world – the universal Church – each week as we gather for communal prayer, the Mass.
While the Catholic Church is the largest religion in the world, it is sometimes also the most misunderstood.
The beliefs of the Catholic Church and her beautiful teachings are consistent through the ages.
We believe that human beings were created by God in love and that everything God creates is good and created out of love. While we have the capacity for sin, the Church believes in the dignity of the human person above all else.
We also believe that goodness infuses all of God’s wondrous creation. All creation, made by God, reflects that goodness. Catholics see the world and its beauty, renewed by the Incarnation, as sacramental – speaking of God’s goodness and love.
We believe in stewardship. Everything is given to us by God and our Catholic responsibility is to share our time, talent and treasure with those around us.
We believe in the Holy Trinity, that God has revealed himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a communion of knowledge and love – has created us to share in that life.
We believe in community and a living Church – believers are a part of the living Body of Christ and, as such, we are a reflection of the communal nature of the Trinity.
We believe that God loved his creation so much that he became human in the person of Jesus to walk among us.
We believe in the communion of the saints – models of faith who help us and guide us in our daily lives.
We believe in Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection, and we hope that one day we will rise to new life with him.
Becoming Catholic today means joining an ancient faith, deeply rooted in the teachings and traditions of Christ, that is filled with hope and vibrancy as we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the ends of the earth.
How do I learn about becoming Catholic?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA, is a communal process for formal initiation of new members into the Catholic Church. This process is a return to the formation of the earliest members of the Church in the first and second centuries. Click here for more information.