Dedicated to Alice McMahon
“I love being Catholic.” These four words were repeated many times by a dying woman I knew well, who passed this Holy Thursday. She knew that it was only a matter of time that she would meet her Creator. She knew that soon pain would cease and she would come face to face with the God-Man that walked upon this earth and died for her sins. There was no sadness in leaving this earth for she was not leaving us, but we were leaving her.
“I love being Catholic.” Why did this woman speak these words repeatedly? The answer is simple yet profound. Her whole life she had been a baptized Catholic. Her whole life she had stood firm in her faith, never compromising, never faltering. Difficulties came, the devil attacked, but she did not give in, for she knew her end, and she knew what she had to do to attain it.
“I love being Catholic.” To be Catholic is not an easy life. To be Catholic we have to constantly be denying self while the world around us gives in to every passing pleasure. We are not meant to serve the world, we are not meant to serve ourselves, we are meant to serve our one and only God.
And yes, we will fall on this journey many times, as I am sure this woman did. But that is not what defines us as who we are. Yes, when we fall it is a reminder that we are weak. But the moment that defines what kind of Catholic we are, is the moment after we fall. Do we stay down, crushed beneath our sin, or do we realize we are nothing but weak creatures who can do nothing without Christ, and get up? And this woman...she got up.
And I realized that this woman was not leaving us, but we were leaving her. For we are all on a journey home, and that home is heaven. If a member of a family were to travel to a distant land, we would not say we were leaving them, because we are at home, the place we are meant to be. The same is with every living soul. From the moment a soul comes into existence, she longs to be home, she longs to be united with her Creator, for she is in a foreign land that cannot give her true happiness.
And she was not sad. No, she rejoiced. She said goodbye to the ones she loved, but she knew it was her time. Christ died for us. And upon the cross, yes, He was in pain, but the moment He muttered those words, “It is Consummated”, He took His last breath and was happy, for His mission had been completed. He had done all that was asked. He was going back to the One whom He longed to be united with again, His Father.
We as Catholics must give it our all. From the moment we get out of bed, to the moment we close our eyes and nod off to sleep. For a Catholic, the fight does not come down to the day, or the hour, or the minute. No, it comes down to the second. Every second we choose. Every second we have the choice to serve self, or to serve God. And all we need to do, is one thing. Love. If one truly loves, then they give themselves completely to the one they love. Christ died for mankind. He gave everything for us, because He loved us. If we as Catholics truly love, then we will be given the incredible grace to see the full beauty of the Catholic faith, and that is when we will have the wisdom and strength to speak those four simple, profound, and beautiful words, that were spoken by this strong Catholic woman. “I love being Catholic.”