|Why the Catholic Church is the Only Church That Fits God
While driving to Mass the other day, a bumper sticker caught my eye. It read, “God is too big to fit into one religion.” As I passed the driver, it occurred to me that this would only be true of a man-made religion.
Christ, as we know, started a religion. When He built the foundations of His Church, he never meant that it should sprout into a thousand self-serving philosophies (disguised as theologies) that claim to hold only the truths as they relate to specific times and circumstances. If this were His purpose, then there was no need for Him to build a church at all. His silence alone would have bid men to invent religions that revolve around their own preferences…which is exactly what the pagans had done for years.
But Christ did start a church…and He does indeed fit into the church, because it was tailor made to fit Christ specifically. Where as fractions of this Church were started by men to fit men specifically. And this is apparent just by glancing through the thousands of teachings of those who have broken from Catholicism.
For example, while some are preaching the dreamy theology of salvation by ‘faith alone’, other extremists are pushing for the philosophy that grace alone can justify man. And then sill another (much smaller) group claims the severe truth that only our good works can justify us. Christ will never fit into any of these, because none of them are complete.
Only the Catholic Church can fit the works, grace, and faith into a single creed that gives proper balance to each…and recognizes all of them as part of man’s salvation. Not just seeing each of them as portions, but seeing all of them as completions. And this is the super-natural quality of Catholicism that is often rejected. Not because it limits God, but because it limits man.
But this illustrative approach isn’t limited to creeds. The attitude and personality of men are as much a part of the church as the teachings. While the Franciscans follow strict rules of simplicity, the Jesuits adhere to the life of complexity. And while Catholicism allows for the charismatic, it none the less allows for the intellectual.
We as men are reflections of Christ. We were made in His image, so our quirks and personalities are just as sacred as our doctrines. But when we reject one for another, we try to limit Christ by filling a philosophy with ourselves. And when we allow anything without constraint, we try to take Christ out of religion altogether. The really fantastic property of the Church, is allowing one thing but admitting another.
The Church sees good in food and drink, but arrests gluttony with fasting. She understands the sanctity of sex, but answers lust with a binding marriage. She recognizes the conscience as a great source for personal direction, but bars free-thinking with church authority.
This is why God can fit into one religion…because God made one religion. One that He could fill himself with, and one that would include all men.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Engel writes articles for religious newsletter at http://copyforsale.com