The right tools must be used to prepare ourselves to effectively stand up for our Catholic Faith
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It's quite common to have a difference of opinion with others, be it food, politics, culture etc. Or even our Catholic faith and beliefs. But for some reason, we are adept at arguing, influencing and even forcefully making our point in secular matters but often struggle in matters of our Catholic faith.
Catholics universally feel the same. Even after practicing Catholicism for decades, I still find myself struggling to articulate or explain some of my beliefs when questioned. Some people question because they are genuinely seeking but some simply want to pick an argument. Be wary of the latter. However, it's best to be prepared for both.
Thankfully, the Church has given us some powerful and easily accessible resources and tools. These tools are very useful but have maximum effect when used with love towards others.
I've listed down the tools that I have personally used over the years. I'm not aware of all, so please share if you know other resources not listed here.
The Catechism Of The Catholic Church
In short the CCC or The Catechism. It's really sad that so many Catholics are not yet aware of this powerful tool. I myself came to know of this gem a decade and a half back. The Catechism is the repository of all Catholic teaching. It explains every aspect of our Catholic faith in the eyes of the Church, not someone's personal interpretation.
Nothing in The Catechism contradicts the Bible or Apostolic Tradition and nothing in the Bible or Apostolic Tradition contradicts The Catechism. The CCC is the manifestation of the Magisterium (Teaching authority of the Church).
Do you want answers to some difficult questions about the Catholic faith? Are you unsure whether an action or behavior of yours is sinful or not? The answer is in The Catechism. The Catechism is available online on the Vatican website. Alternatively, you can buy the book
This is the youth version of The Catechism. Those who deal with youth know very well the challenges of keeping them actively engaged in our Catholic faith. The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church or YouCat is written by young Catholics, for teenagers and young adults, in a youthful and attractive format.
With Q & A's, quotes from Saints/Church elders, beautiful imagery and a highly readable format, YouCat is a treasure trove of the Catholic Faith and a good foundation for the youth.
3) Eternal Word Television Network
Commonly known as EWTN, this is a globally popular Catholic cable TV, radio and news network, beaming Catholic programming into homes all across the world. Its programming includes live Mass, Rosary recitation, Catholic devotions, discussions, documentaries on pilgrim places, Catechetical programs, coverage of major Catholic events.
The only objective of this channel is evangelization. With its foundation rock solid in the Catholic faith, this channel is a powerful tool for forming youth in the faith.
4) The Theology of the Body
Jesus destroyed sin/Satan with His own flesh, by dying on the Cross. I believe that's why Satan relentlessly attacks God's children through the flesh i.e. sins of the flesh. St. John Paul the Great understood this devilish plan, hence he gave so much importance to purity and chastity, that he crafted 129 lectures on this subject during his Papacy.
These lectures are compiled into The Theology of the Body. It teaches that humans, the human body and sexuality are precious in the eyes of God, therefore these 3 areas require due purity, holiness, and chastity. Catholics, especially the youth must read The Theology, to learn how to protect their souls and bodies from sins of the flesh.
5) The Vatican website
Anyone practicing the Catholic Faith must use this tool by default when they are searching for answers, either because someone has asked or challenged them about a Catholic belief or they themselves are looking for answers. Two thousand years of Catholic spirituality, teaching, and Apostolic Tradition is available at your fingertips.
The website provides access to encyclicals, messages, homilies, letters, prayers, speeches, daily meditations, news etc., all from a Catholic perspective. Look nowhere else for a Catholic interpretation of anything.
6) Stories of Saints
Though Catholics are relentlessly questioned by others about devotion to Saints, they are without doubt a great inspiration to anyone who aspires to holiness. Simply because the Saints were ordinary human beings like us yet lived lives that pleased God, they are the closest, most practical and most realistic examples for us to emulate.
Reading a few lines about the Saint of the day, every day, will not only sow the seeds of deep and strong faith in us but also build resilience and fortitude. Each of us is called to be a saint. Let's learn from the saints themselves, directly.
7) Family Prayer
The ultimate and most powerful weapon in a Catholic's armory is personal and family prayer. None of the above tools are potent unless backed by prayer and the Sacraments. The only source of True love is God. If we stand up for our Catholic Faith, without love towards others, it's worthless in the eyes of God. Our defense will be reduced to arguments and discord.
Winning an argument or debate is not the final objective of standing up or defending our faith. It's to make known God's love to others. Love only comes if we are in/with God and God is in/with us. Prayer is the answer.
We are repeatedly challenged about our beliefs/traditions and our natural reaction is to defend our Catholic faith. How we stand up for our faith determines whether we win over hearts or drive people further away from the Catholic faith. Hence it is very important to use the right tools, tempered with love. The 7 tools listed in this article have withstood the test of time and are powerful instruments, easily accessible to us.
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