Nero burning Christians to light his nighttime spectacles; men, women, and children torn to pieces by wild beasts before cheering crowds: These images constitute much of our cultural memory of the early Christians. It turns out persecutions don’t tell the whole story of the Church in the Roman Empire. But let history serve as a warning.
The demand for freedom without responsibility parallels the growth of the omnipotent state, for radical individualism and invasive government are both rooted in a perverted understanding of humanity. In rejecting God, we have forgotten that, as individuals, who we are is defined by for whom we are.
Conversion stories are as old as the Bible and as contemporary as the latest Damascus Road. But what about people who have never had to discover—or rediscover—the faith into which they were baptized? What can cradle Catholics tell us about discipleship? Read the testimony of a “born Catholic” and see.
Anglican Fr. John Henry Newman’s opinion of the Catholic Church was, to put it mildly, unfavorable. How, then, did this most illustrious of converts—elevated to the altars in 2010 by his admirer Benedict XVI—venture across the Tiber? By seeking truth with humility.
"Approaching, do not come with your palms stretched flat nor with fingers separated. But making your left hand a seat for your right, and hollowing your palm, receive the Body of Christ, responding Amen. And having with care hallowed your eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, take it, vigilant lest you drop any of it."
~ Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, Saint; on the proper technique for receiving Holy Communion in the hand (circa A.D. 347).