The Essence of Christianity

There is one question in the world that human beings yearn for the answer to: Is there life after death?  Or in other words: Is there a reward for being the best we can possibly be in life when the mortal shells of our worldly existence fall to the ravages of time?  This is where faith comes in.

In this life we have a wide variety of faiths that explore that two-fold question, and I shall give you an example of some of their answers.  Buddhism says (or perhaps it’s Hinduism that believes in reincarnation…I have a bad habit of getting the 2 mixed up): I don’t know, or that your reward is to be born into this imperfect world again and again.  Some reward, to be burdened with another imperfect life, eh?  Conficius says: I don’t know.  I’m beginning to sense a bit of a theme here.  Other faiths believe that the things of this imperfect world have divine powers.  Say what?  How can an imperfect thing have any divine power over us?  Still other faiths believe in a god or gods upon whom they seek to project their own human arrogance towards those deemed “not worthy.”  And that’s the kind of god some say exists after death?  One who is arrogant?  I say no way!

This is what makes Christianity in general and Catholic Christianity in particular so unique.  We as Christians believe in a God who loves us so much that He created the universe and all life within it so that he could share His love.  We believe in a God who loves us so much that He gave us the freedom to choose whether or not to love Him of our own free will.  We believe in a God who loves us so much, that He allows us to make mistakes and learn from their consequences so that we might grow in understanding.  We believe in a God who loves us so much, that He humbled Himself, became human, so that we might have a reward for seeking to rid ourselves of our darker impulses while we live in this world.  This is the heart, the essence, of Christianity.  We follow God, to seek a personal relationship with Him.  We seek to follow Him into divinity because He followed us into humanity.  And we as Catholic Christians in particular believe in a God who chose a woman and elevated her as a real-world example of the kind of perfect dedication we seek to give to God: the Blessed Virgin and Mother of Christianity, the woman Mary.  Like a mother who, after bringing us forth into the world through her labor, points us in the direction of our fathers, their husbands who create in their wives new life, who say to us “Look upon your father,” Mary brings us forth into the new life we seek in Christ and points Him out to us.  This is why in some Catholic Churches you may see that the statue of the Blessed Mother is positioned in such a way so as to be pointing to the ever-present crucifix and the tabernacle beneath it.

We as Catholics believe in a God who loves us so much that not only did He make Himself into a sacrificial lamb for our sins, but also chose and elevated a woman who He knew would dedicate her life perfectly to Him to be the Mother of all who come to be re-created by God through His sacrifice, the mother of all the truly living, the new Eve who will lead us to our final reward when we die which is to dwell in Christ, the new Adam, for all eternity: Mary.  In this way the Catholic Church, modeled after this woman of perfect love for God, has a much more real connection with the loving God of Christianity, made ever more real by the near perfect re-enactment of the Last Supper through the Eucharist.  In no other church in this world do you see such a real and ever-present connection between mortal and divine.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Protestant brethren to death.  But I choose to remain in a Christian Church whose beauty and richness in the sacred Tradition make the connection between me and my Lord more real.  And the Catholic Church was, is, and forever shall be, this Church of God, the Church that makes the new life we seek more real than it could ever be in any other church, more real than sacred Scripture alone could ever make it.

So when you sail the ocean of life, you need to choose where to set your anchor.  Will you set your anchor in the imperfect and transient things of this mortal life?  Or will you set your anchor in a god who has no mercy upon us in our imperfection?  Or will you instead set your anchor in a God who loves you so much that He would humble Himself, make Himself our loving sacrificial lamb, so that we might have life after death, and who also happens to sometimes reveal His presence to us even more concretely in the form of miracles, events that defy all rational explanation?  And when you choose a church, will you choose one that glorifies the imperfect and transient things of this world?  Or perhaps will you choose one whose rituals and formality remain closed to those who seek mercy?  Or will you instead choose one whose rituals and formality seek to make God more real to us and whose rituals and formality seek to create a more real and sense-perceptible sign of His mercy and love?  Our time in this world is limited, so I recommend making your choice and making it wisely.

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5 comments on “The Essence of Christianity

  1. aretood2 says:

    Nice blog, however two things, well maybe more. But first, Buddhists believe in escaping the cycle of life and death. Second, when not referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob it’s a lower case “g”

    The essence in Christianity is also found in life. Everywhere we go, the Lord is there. Most religions center on the Idea that only way to beseech the gods is to got to his temple, or face his Idol. But in Christianity, God is part of you and with you.

    He is the divine being that surrounds our souls so that when we pray, no matter where we are, he will hear us. He is a perfect unity unlike any other indivisible. He is not a man in the sky, or a pantheistic being, but just something beyond our ability to describe. Our words describe limits. When we describe a cup, we say its tall, thus not small. Round thus not square and so on. We establish boundaries on objects.

    God has no boundaries, therefore we have no words for him. Even that last word in my last sentence is wrong, for God can be neither male nor female, these notions apply to flesh and blood of which God is not.

    Christianity is a Mystery answered by our Lord and savior. A solved Mystery, and that makes Christianity unique. Ours is the only religion where a man went to the afterlife and returned.

    • madgater says:

      yeah…now that I think of it I think it’s Hinduism that believes in reincarnation…..I sometimes get the 2 mixed up….and I think I fixed those typos you pointed out…..and you are also right in stating that God has no boundaries…which is another reason sola scriptura makes no sense to me….sola scriptura (Latin for solely by scripture) seeks to impose man-made boundaries upon God, to confine the entire essence of God to one book written entirely by men and women…divinely inspired men and women to be sure but men and women nonetheless…..so to me those who believe sola scriptura seek to try to say that the entire essence of God…all that He is, can be encapsulated by the words of mere mortals

      • aretood2 says:

        Exactly, there is a thing we believe in. The Living Word of God. In essence, the Prophets didn’t just teach the Laws, but taught their meanings. Kind of like a preamble to Jesus’ teachings. After the Prophets stopped coming, Jews were left alone. They tried to preserve that Living Word, but it got lost like in a game of telephone. Those teaching would not be written tell some four hundred years after Jesus Christ, that’s nearly 1000 years after the Last Prophet that they recognize.

        Jesus brought back that Living Word, and the Apostles preached it. There was an Oral Tradition, the Jews wrote it down hundreds of years later as the Talmud.

        Catholics claim to have it via the Popes. We have it via revelation through a contemporary Apostle.

      • madgater says:

        indeed….a 2000-year-old unbroken line of Apostolic succession with St. Peter as the first pope

  2. colfoley says:

    Good Blog, and gave me some feel of things to do, certainly a lot ot think about. Keep going buddy 😉

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