A Welcome Letter To New Catholics

Nothing is more beautiful than the Easter Vigil.  Its liturgical depth and poetic beautify enamor me every year I am able to participate in it.  When the flame of the Easter Candle is ignited, the Church itself is renewed not only by the faithful, but by nature itself.  These two aspects, the regeneration of the world and the Catholic community inside of it, are manifested also in two ways: the season of spring and the welcoming of our newest brothers and sisters into the Church.  This letter, then, is to you, the newly baptized converts and the newly confirmed reverts to the Catholic Church.

First, I would like to congratulate you for accomplishing the first leg of your journey.  To make it this far, you had to to humble yourselves and sacrifice your time to study the fullness of truth. Such and undertaking requires stamina, both intlectual and physical, which will come in handy as you come to know Jesus more and more intimately.  Know that you are loved not only by Him, but by all of us who make up His body of which you are now an integral part of.

I would also like to commend you for your bravery.  The devil has taken aim on Jesus’ Church because people like you and I are a threat to him.  Your lifestyle is a testament to Christ’s love that needs to be seen by the world if we have any hope of saving it from the hands of the evil one.  I say this not to scare you, but to encourage you, my newest family member, to be strong in the face of temptation.  This accompaniment was given to Jesus in His angels when He was tempted by satan.  It is the same that we offer you during your times of need.

You are now a part of the Church that Jesus Christ founded upon the rock of Peter over 2,000 years ago.  In other words, you are now playing for the winning team.  As a fellow soldier in this spiritual battle, I extend to you my hand in sacramental love and my prayers for your continual spiritual protection.

Welcome!

~TJ Burdick

TeachCatholic.com

I am a lay Catholic, which means I am very, very dangerous.

I am, in every sense of the celestial Body of Christ, nobody.  I’ve been writing a Christian blog for two years and my only readers are the same 10 people that accidentally click on my facebook links while attempting to play Words with Friends or Farmville.  I published a book on the spirituality of Teaching and it has sold a whopping seven copies since last November (five I bought to give out as gifts and my Aunt bought the other two).  I taught a class on Apologetics in my own parish and only four people showed up to each of the six sessions.

Sure, the reasons for my nothingness are many: I have no formal training in Philosophy or Theology, I’m not a Priest, Deacon, Bishop, Cardinal nor do I belong to any 3rd order religious congregation, I have no marketing expertise and most of the people who I know  that actually have a say in the Catholic blogospere hesitate before sharing my posts because of my aforementioned lack of qualifications (not you, Lisa Hendey, Brandan Vogt and possibly Kevin Knight if this is finally New Advent-worthy).

But it is precisely because of my lack of certification that I am dangerous.  I count myself as part of the majority of Catholics worldwide who, in every aspect of their life, are expected to live perfectly just as Jesus commanded us to (Matthew 5:48).  Who, then, is considered public enemy number one to the relativistic society in which we live?  The practicing Catholic who calls out the errors of the mediocre and shadows their claims with an onslaught of truth.

Oh yeh, I’m dangerous alright.

On the other hand, I am even more dangerous if I do not strive to live perfectly.  If Christ did found a Church and my entire baptized being has its roots in it, then my lack of study and practice of the doctrines of this Church (whether I agree with them or not) crack its foundation and allow the messiness of the world to leak in.  If I am not a perfect example of Christianity, I give Christ’s Bride, the Church, a poor name.

Being unable to give an answer to someone who is curious about Catholicism is one thing, but failing to live up to my Teacher’s expectations in both word and deed is another, more serious issue.  Unfortunately, this is where many of my wayward brothers and sisters find themselves in the Catholic Church- uninformed and thus a danger to their own salvation and to the perception of the fullness of Truth.

Since I am probably too “unqualified” to write this,  I find solace and rationale to my “dangerous side” in two Biblical heroes that prove that degrees and doctorates are trumped by the sheer desire to learn about truth. John the Baptist, the reed that swayed in the wind of the desert that no one came to see (Matthew 11: 7-9), and the surprise intellectual Giant that came from Nazareth (a.k.a. the land of nowhere), Jesus.  Both were given much less education than I have received while on earth and yet, they shaped the world more than any being in the history of the Universe

To the 23 people who will read this post, know that the reason why voices like mine have not been heard is not because of a lack of academic study or determination.  Rather, it is because I have not lived my vocation with sufficient zeal to capture the hearts of readers.  I may have the same mental capacity for Truth as the Pope, but if I don’t live this truth in every one of my actions, I become a danger to God’s salvific plan.

Like the grassroots instigators of John the Baptist and Jesus, I wait in my digital desert contemplating the perfect lifestyle demanded by God so that when the time comes, I will be ready to carry it out with ardent zeal.  Until then, my blog is my camel’s hair cassock, my facebook account is my feast of locusts and my 140 character limit tweets are my wild honey. Through these tools and through my daily routine, I grow in my relationship with Christ by recognizing His presence often.

It is that Power, that Creator of the universe that teaches His people through little ole’ uneducated, unstudied me…

That’s dangerous!