Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 28 – Can you be a Christian on your own?
There is a saying, ‘A lonely Christian is a dead Christian’. It is difficult, almost impossible to be a Christian on your own. You need others. Does this mean that Christians are wimps with insufficient backbone to believe independently? It has nothing to do with that. Experience shows that Christians are sometimes exceptionally brave. Some people are not afraid to risk their lives for their faith.
But being a Christian is more than a pastime or hobby. Faith is something that you receive, pass on, celebrate and experience together with others in the Church*. Jesus* says, ‘Where two or three believers are together, so am I’ (Mt 18:20). The Christian faith is an adventure that has been going on for 2000 years, with billions of participants. It is so broad and deep that it is impossible for one person to explore it alone. You need signposts so you don’t get lost, and especially fellow believers to whom you can turn when you are discouraged or when you feel lonely.
The Church is the community that brings people together and gets to know Jesus. The Church has been doing this from the beginning. The Church proclaims the Gospel* and tries to help believers find the right path.
Some have a hard time with the Church. They see little connection between real Christian life and the rigidity of the institution. This is understandable. After all, the Church is not only a human community, but also a centuries-old, complex organisation. In addition, the Church has made mistakes and continues to do so. Yet the Church is often called ‘mother’. As imperfect as the Church is, it passes on faith in Jesus. That is why many people love the Church. They are grateful to it because it has given them the faith, the most beautiful thing they have.
– Are there people you can turn to when you have questions about your faith?
– What do you think is the strength and weakness of the Church?
Feel free to leave your thoughts, reflections or comments below.
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 29 – Why is there a pope?
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If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.