A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Having the Answers

Posted on: April 9, 2015

On Tuesday, I found myself in the orthodontist’s office—not waiting for my son’s appointment to finish, but having braces put on my teeth. The orthodontist felt braces would help bring my top jaw forward to improve my bite.

Right now, it’s still uncomfortable. I can speak and sing clearly, but when I look in the mirror, I feel like the dentist’s niece in Finding Nemo is looking back at me.

Even though more adults go through orthodontic treatment these days, some people are bound to think that I’m vain, or maybe that I look ridiculous, and to question why I’d go this route. At least I’m prepared with answers.

But when people have questions about our faith, are we prepared to answer? Could we explain why we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, why we ask the saints to intercede for us, or why we recognize Peter as the first pope?

A few days ago, I read Michael Coren’s book The Future of Catholicism. He notes that the Church will face increasing criticism of its stance on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, the celibacy of priests, and other issues. If asked, could we explain, for example, the Church’s position on the sanctity of life from birth till natural death?

Of course, we can and should pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us in the way we answer, not only in terms of the words and tone we use, but also in terms of the content. But whether we’re converts or cradle Catholics, we need to have a deeper understanding of our faith. Making sure we have a Bible and a copy of the Catechism (and maybe the YOUCAT, if we have teenagers) isn’t enough. Here are some steps we can take:

  • become more familiar with the Bible and the Catechism to guide us in finding the answers to questions our children, other Christians, or nonbelievers may ask;
  • tune into programs on EWTN, Salt & Light TV or Radio Maria to learn about the rosary, the saints, Church history, and so on;
  • keep up to date on news about the Church using the Missio app;
  • explore the Vatican news website to learn about the history of the church, read papal encyclicals, and more; and
  • take part in Bible studies and programs such as Symbolon to learn more about our faith.

I pray that we would take to heart these words in 1 Peter 3:15*:

Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence….

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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