(inspired by Bible study... if you are part of that group and happen to be reading, I don't intend this as an attack, at all. I'm sorry if it comes across as such. I'm just glad things are a little simpler for me. Also, the title is inspired by a blog that I've been reading -- I'm not actually implying that Catholics are lazy, indecisive, and/or insecure.)
Another heated debate at Bible Study. This time it was over the 7th (8th) commandment against stealing. We started with a question: "Why is studying the Bible dangerous?" The leader was looking for "because sometimes it challenges you to change things in your life that you don't want to." Another answer, however, could be "because people's personal interpretations can be vastly different and it's easy to get into an argument if there is not absolute authority - aside from the words which everyone is reading and interpreting differently."
I don't want to get into who was right or wrong or what views are correct. Partly, because that's not what this post is about and partly because I'm not sure. But here's the thing. I don't have to make that call. I've got a place I can go to find out. All I need to do is pull out a copy of the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) and it's spelled out for me.
On a related note, confession was touched on tonight. Not the sacrament, obviously, but the fact that it is important to confess to both God and the person you've wronged. And that confession isn't easy. That's true. But, even though I don't go as often as I should, once I get through the hard part, I hear my favorite prayer (outside of the Mass):
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.Yes, in the name and authority of God, I get to hear a human voice tell me that my sins are gone. There is no worrying "did God actually hear my prayer and forgive me?" or "how do I know if I'm really forgiven?" I don't have to wait for a voice in my head to convince me that I'm free. My mind doesn't have to struggle with "did God actually say that or was I just making it up so I'll feel better?" -- because if I couldn't hear an actual person saying those words that's what I would struggle with. But, it's all a moot point, because - for better or worse (but, honestly that's a silly statement here) - I'm Catholic. And I couldn't be more thankful.