Life’s Great Adventure

A Statement of Intent

Who said it was going to be easy?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to admit to being a Catholic. It’s embarrassing.

Like going into the middle of a crowded room and telling people around you that hugging hedgehogs is your favourite hobby. They look at you with a mystified gawp and you are left shifting uneasily.

We can easily get flustered by those who would try and ‘disprove religion’.

So it is useful just to know what exactly lies at the heart of our belief, some tools to have ‘at the ready’ for those kinds of situations. There are many conflicting voices that want our attention. Catholics owe it to themselves to have a ‘statement of intent’, to show that our faith actually means something to us and is not just a set of archaic regulations. What then is it we believe, in a nutshell?

Here’s the nutshell:

Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins by dying on the Cross and rising again. In doing so, He opened the way to eternal life.

As Catholics, we believe that the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, became Man at the moment of the Incarnation. This Word-made-Flesh is Jesus Christ, both fully God and fully man. In a word, he is a divine Person with a human nature.

That is basically it.

It can be fleshed out, of course. Saint Paul puts it very clearly: “In him [Jesus Christ], in bodily form, lives divinity in all its fullness, and in him you too find your own fulfilment” (Colossians 2,9-10). Saint Paul goes on to say that we are “buried” and “raised up again” with Jesus by being baptised (Colossians 2,12). This happens because the “Old Man” (who is us before we are baptised) is completely regenerated in the encounter with Christ.

Christ’s death and Resurrection bring a seismic shift to the whole human race. He changes things forever, by giving us a new life which gives us fulfilment. He changes things so much that now, “the reality is the body of Christ (Colossians 2,17). Of course it takes faith to believe this. But faith opens doors!

Ours is not a religion of rules. Saint Paul asks us, “why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world? – ‘Do not pick up this, do not eat that, do not touch the other’ ” (Colossians 2,20-21).

No, the reality is Jesus Christ. And, in a mysterious way, we live ‘in Christ’.

Our faith says that Christ has established the Church, with the Pope as his ‘Vicar’, to carry on the task of bringing this message of salvation to all people. In the Church are the sacraments (as means to strengthen us and help us become holy), the Sacred Scriptures, and the saints (helping as guides and models for our salvation).