Helps for Faith

In Catholic, Christianity on April 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Early in my journey to becoming a Catholic Christian, I met a wonderful young couple who were protestant converts to the Orthodox Church.  When I asked about their conversion, one of the reasons they gave was the helps, or aids to faith, they had found.  At the time I was curious but didn’t pursue the point.  Since entering the Church, however, I’ve discovered exactly what they meant!  Here are just a few of the helps that contribute to the immense richness of the Catholic (and Orthodox) Christianity.

The Church Year.  Growing up Baptist, I had little idea what terms like Advent, Lent, Ash Wednesday, or Good Friday meant.  What a shame! The rhythm of the Church Year, from season to season, keeps us grounded in reality—the reality of eternity: our progression from sin to salvation; mortality to immortality.

The Communion of Saints.  I had been taught “the saints” were simply those good Christians around me.  Yet, I always knew the Church extended forward and backward in time.  What a joy it was to discover that the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) were neither unconcerned nor unavailable to me as prayer partners!

Prayer.  For years I struggled to maintain a consistent daily prayer time.  By God’s grace I was often successful, but what I did felt improvised. Imagine to my surprise, after entering the Church, the disciplined routine I developed resembled a poorer version of the Liturgy of the Hours—the longtime prayer of the Church.  And when praying the Liturgy of the Hours, my brothers and sisters worldwide are praying with me; I am now caught up in communal Christian prayer.

Liturgy.  I have written elsewhere about liturgy at much greater length.  Much more could be said, but let’s leave that for another time.

The Sacraments.  Growing up, I was taught there were two ordinances:  baptism and The Lord’s Supper.  We didn’t call them sacraments.  That didn’t come until later, as a Presbyterian.  What are the Sacraments?  They are grace given!  By God’s sovereign act, the Sacraments actually accomplish what they signify.  Praise God they don’t depend on me, or understood rightly, even my priest.  They are the gracious action of God, objective and outside myself.

Helps.  Gracious helps, more numerous than mentioned here.  Christianity Richly.

  1. Elizabeth, Thanks so much for visiting Christianity Richly! Hope that you’ll find much that is of interest in the archives. Thanks for your encouragement to me.

  2. Lee Anne, Your comment is much appreciated, thank you! If your son’s friend hasn’t had a chance to look at my post, Authority, that might be helpful, too? I have many wonderful Baptist friends, but they face a dilemma: how can they use the same authority (the Bible) to reach conclusions opposite those reached by other good Christians? The “logic” of God’s providing the Church as our interpretative authority underscores Saint Paul’s inspired assertion in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

  3. Thank you for this site! I had the good providence to be able to show the site to a friend of my 15 year old son’s who has recently starting attending a Baptist Church. We went over the middle column. I am praying that he will, through the power of the Holy Spirit, like you, come to know Christ in the Fullness of the Church.

    God Bless you –

  4. Hey, blogger buddy. How did I not know about this? I was planning on going to bed early tonight, but it looks like I’ve got some archives to pore over first.

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