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Beyond cool

Jose Olmedo

Monday, June 27, 2011

Is it really “cool” to be Catholic? A young Catholic? Ok, maybe the word “cool” isn’t the best word to use. So, let’s dig deeper.
[singlepic id=23 w=320 h=240 float=right]We all like “cool”. But, what is that? What makes something “cool”? I’m pretty sure we can agree that it has to do with some idea or thing being considered as widely accepted or trendy. We use the word when we’ve come across something interesting or entertaining. It could mean all of these things and lots of other things.
In saying that it is “cool” to be Catholic, I do not mean to say that we should be Catholic only to the point that is “acceptable” by society. I believe much would be missing there. For me, the word “cool”, in this case, begins to describe, but does not completely describe, something that, truly, leaves us in awe – in wonder and amazement. Much more than that, I think it describes someone who leaves us in awe.
I have experienced great wonder and amazement in God, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in his Church. I often share with people that as a teenager, and even through my years in college, I did not appreciate the gifts that I had received from God. Neither did I make an effort to do things that would help me to grow in faith – like praying, participating in Mass, seeking reconciliation with our Father and the Church, and using the word “No” in dangerous situations.
Then, in my last semester of college, I began to notice that something was different in my life. Something happened to me. I began to realize, and to understand more and more, that God is Mercy and Love. I remember going to Reconciliation in 2008 for the first time in about 10 years! God showed me the mercy and love that caused me to change in a good way. That change was necessary for me. I think it’s necessary for all of us. It’s necessary because without it we cannot live out his commandment of reciprocating love. This commandment is not a “rule”, but an opportunity, a doorway that we step through, if you will, to be more fully who we were created to be.
You see, God is not a “rule-maker” and the Church is not a “rule-enforcer”. Yes, there are precepts, doctrines, and all. They are there to help us choose between good acts and evil acts. Thanks be to God that we have the Holy Spirit, the leaders of the Church, the saints, and the good examples in our brethren, now living, to help us navigate through life!
Now at age 26, I realize that it is precisely the teachings of Christ and the Tradition of the Church that have helped me to live life with greater faith and hope and that have allowed me to be a more chaste and loving person over the last few years. All of this is furthered more each time I receive the Eucharist. That’s why I think that being a Catholic is awesome!
Yes, in 2008 something happened to me, but it had been happening to me, and it will continue to happen to me. That is my hope. It is also my hope that it happens to you!
Our God is beyond “cool”. He is awesome! And he tells us that we have the capability to radiate his love and mercy to others. That, too, is awesome!
Enough about me. What about you?
CNS photo/Bob Roller

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