Why you are invited to become a Catholic
The man who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the man who knows Jesus Christ founded a Church must seek that Church. Now the Catholic Church maintains it is the Church Christ founded. It traces its existence straight back to the moment when Jesus Christ said to Peter: “And I say to thee: thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church …” (Matt. 16:18). It now asks you to examine it closely, to weigh the evidence that it offers to support the claim that it is the one Church Christ founded. It begs you to do this; it prays that you will do this.
If you do so, it guarantees that you will be doing the will of God. You will enjoy the security that should be yours because you are upon the true path to the salvation of your immortal soul. United with Christ in His Church, with Christ Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, you will reap the reward of seeking Christ and taste that peace that surpasses all understanding.
I do not ask of you any more than this—read this little book. If, after reading it, your conscience tells you that you must continue to profess Christianity or Judaism as you have done in the past, you must do so, for each one of us must follow his conscience. There is no one, however, who would wish to turn a deaf ear to the yearning in the heart of Christ “that they may all be one, as Thou, Father in Me, and I in Thee” (John 17:21); that there may be one flock and one Shepherd.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO SAVE YOUR SOUL
I am going to try to answer the question, “Why is religion so important?” Why make so much fuss about it? Since there are so many Christian churches, why cannot I choose the one that appeals to me best? Isn’t enough that I worship God in the one of my choice? The simple answer to all these questions is that religion is so important because it concerns the salvation of souls, and because it does, it is not a matter of anyone merely choosing a religion that suits his fancy; it is a grave matter of embracing that religion that is the true religion, the religion that Christ Himself established on earth and which He commanded all men to join.
To save one’s soul, that is the reason why religion speaks to us in such thunderous terms. In a sense there is no use talking about anything, unless in terms of the salvation of one’s soul, one’s destiny before Almighty God. “Seek first,” says Christ, “the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
Man is composed of body and soul. The body dies, but the soul lives on eternally. The real goal of this life, then, is life eternal, the possession of God for all eternity. When we miss that goal, when instead of gaining God we lose God, we have suffered the greatest loss man can suffer; we have lost our soul. That is why Christ warns us in these words: “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?
Jesus Christ came not only to redeem man from his sins, but also to show man the way back to God, to teach man the things he ought to believe and he ought to do in order to be saved. In doing so He does not merely invite man to follow Him and accept His teaching; He commands man to do so. “Go ye into the whole world,” He tells His Apostles, “and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is Baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
The Christian religion, then, places an obligation upon men to accept it, whether they like it or not. It is a terrible mistake to think that I am free to take it or reject it, that I am free to believe this doctrine that suits my fancy and reject that which does not suit my fancy. I am not free to make up my own religion. I must accept my religion from Christ. The Church itself is not free to make up its own religion. It, too, must accept it from Christ.
God did not ask the Jews to accept Him; He commanded them. “I am the Lord thy God,” He said. “Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me” (Exod. 20:1-2). And when Christ came, the promised Messiah, He spoke in the same unmistakable terms. “I and the Father are one,” He declared. “All power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going therefore teach ye all nations; Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18-20).
It rests, therefore, upon the conscience of every man who hears the Gospel of Christ to find out as far as he can what Church faithfully teaches the things Christ commanded His Apostles to teach, and to join that Church. The Catholic Church claims to be that Church. It is the Church Christ Himself founded. It teaches all those things Christ commanded it to teach. It is the true Church of Christ.
Taken from “The Catholic Church Invites You”
by James V. Linden, S.J.
Imprimatur – Bernard J. Topel, D.D., Bishop of Spokane
December 22, 1958