Question of meaning of faith easy to answer

What did you for spring break? How are classes going? What are your plans this weekend? What time is it? What did you have for lunch? What’s your major?

Most of you can answer these questions right of the bat. In fact, many of you probably did while reading them. These simple questions require no thought at all, and the answers just roll off the tongue without hesitation.

Questions are part of everyday life. They are part of conversations, sometimes even starting them. Questions make up tests and are common things in a classroom or interview setting. Even sometimes the answer to one of these questions is one that you give and you forget.

Then there are the harder questions in life. What do you want to do post-Gannon? How will you use your major? Questions like those take a little more time to answer, but they are not as tricky as most people like to think. They can be answered relatively painlessly and even spark another conversation about someone else’s future.

Now that you are in the mindset to answer questions, here are a few. Why you believe in God? Specifically, why do you believe in your religion? Why do you attend the mass, service or worship of your religion? Why do you attend religious groups on campus? Can you recite your favorite Bible passage?

Whoa – I know I’m going deep here, but can you answer these inquiries? Take a few minutes.

Most people will brush these off with responses like, “It’s what my parents taught me” or “Yeah, I love the nativity story because Christmas is my favorite holiday.” Those answers are not thought provoking ones, however. Yes, you may be Catholic because your family is, but is that the only reason you attend Mass?

Earlier in the year, I wrote about the reasons I am Catholic, and those reasons took me years to establish on my own. One reason I am Catholic deals with how I get something out of a Mass that I do not get attending another type of service. If I walk into a Protestant church, it’s like I feel different. It’s not a bad different, but it is not quite the same. I am sure others can say the opposite.

Religion is a topic that most people are afraid to talk about because they do not want to be seen as a “Jesus Freak” or they might not want to admit to certain groups of people in their life that religion plays a big part in their lives. But the thing is, if it is a big part of who you are, why hide it?

Let those answers come quickly, and let them be more than just “it’s what I do” or “I have to attend Mass,” because the next question that your interrogator will ask is “Why?” If you can answer why you are a fan of a particular sports team, you can answer why you believe in God. It won’t be easy and it won’t come as quick, but you can answer it.

I believe in God because I can have a fulfilling experience when I pray. I believe in God because it is a comfort to know that I am not alone, even when I feel like I am the only person on Earth. I am not afraid to answer why my faith means so much to me.

Today is Ash Wednesday. This means in the Christian world, Lent has begun. For 40 days and 40 nights, we will reflect on Christ’s death and what it meant for the world. We will follow his path along his final steps to the cross. It is a sorrowful time in the Christian religions, but it is a time that is much needed.

It is also a time when most people give up something for 40 days. However, why not reflect on the questions above? Take some time during Lent to really explore your faith and beliefs. Thoughtfully answer those questions with more than a half-baked response. When Easter comes and Jesus rises again, you can rise with him. You can bask in the glory of God and really embrace the meaning behind Easter.

With reflection and preparation, you won’t be as baffled the next time someone questions you about your beliefs. You can answer the questions just as the ones at the beginning of the column: with confidence and without much thought.

CAITIE RYAN

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