As someone who has been Catholic my entire life and never really left, reading what others have had to say on the matter has caused me to reflect on the topic myself.
I am a cradle Catholic; I never really left or had a difficult experience that prompted me to pack up shop and find a new spiritual home. Though I never really left, there was a lot of growing up, maturing, and learning I have had to do along the journey. I have had struggles and wrestling with faith, but I have always stayed.
So I wonder to myself, what is it that keeps me here?
Well there are many things that keep me here, but the ones most strongly are the Eucharist and Constancy.
One thing that's kind of awesome about being Catholic is the Eucharist.
We believe it is actually the same Jesus who suffered, died, and rose again we receive in communion; it ain't no symbol to us, but the real deal (that is is actually Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity). Crazy concept, huh?
And no, we don't "re-kill" Jesus at Mass and are not cannibals.
But rather time stops at Mass...And...BOOM. We are present at the Last Supper. BOOM. We are present at the foot of the Cross. BOOM. We are present at the Resurrection.
Jesus told his disciples in John 6 to "eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life."
Many thought he was way crazy and left him right there on the spot. So either Jesus meant that this piece of bread/cup of wine truly IS his body and blood or either meant it was just a symbol. But see Jesus didn't say "this is a symbol of me," He said "this IS me...do this in remembrance of me."
If people really knew WHO they were receiving in communion at Mass and why it matters, I really think they would never leave the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is spiritual food for our journey through life...to help us become holy, love others, serve the poor, and to follow Jesus with every ounce of strength we have.
I also love the the Church is constant and never wavers in the face of struggle.
The Catholic Church has the courage to stand alone.
When the tide of popular opinion sways, the Church stands strong and based in truth. Many organizations and religious institutions over the years, have caved to "get with the times" or "keep up with the modern world." I love being a child of the Catholic Church because the Church is constant, doesn't cave under social pressure, and for centuries has always had the courage to stand alone.
I certainly have not had to suffer at great lengths to live and practice my faith as many do around the world.
My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters in faith who are shedding their blood because of their profession of faith.
Their witness encourages me to live my faith and to "always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for the reason of my hope" (1 Peter 3:15).