The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't listen to the noise in "Da Market"

If you're a lukewarm Catholic, then you probably let everything negative said about the Church roll off your back. If you're like me, then you're always ready to stand firm and defend your Catholic faith. I'm always reminded in 1 Peter 3:15 "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope", but then it goes on to say in verse 16, "but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame".
Now why was that verse put in there? Can't we just blast them out and walk away feeling that we said "our say" and came out on top. Knowing how hot tempered some of our Bahamians are, that verse was probably put in there for us personally as we are quick to argue then ask questions later. But on a serious note though, I'm always having to stop for a moment, say a small prayer for help with finding the correct words before I respond to someone's argument about the Catholic Church. I even find myself putting my hand in my pocket to hold my Rosary so that I am put in a calm state. I know it's not easy for many, but through persistence and perseverance it will come easy eventually.

Many of our Catholic brothers and sisters after been born and raised Catholic walk away from the Church with so many unanswered questions. If you're having doubts about something in your faith by all means please seek the answers, but at least give your clergy the opportunity to give you a response before you go seeking answers from other denominations. The Catholic Church has stood the test of times and will continue until our Saviour returns. Place yourselves in the shoes of the twelve disciples, and remember those words Simon Peter said to Jesus; "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." Those who leave the Church eventualy return as they realize what they had all along.

There are lots of groups who refute the claim that the Catholic Church is the Church instituted by Christ and will do whatever it takes to draw people away from the Church. If you're a lukewarm Catholic then you're an easy target, just ready for the picking. It's not just alright to say that you've attended CCD, went to Catholic Primary and High Schools, then further educated yourself through a Catholic University. You must stay grounded in your faith daily and always be ready and proud to call yourself a Catholic and give account for what you believe.

Catechesis is so important as we continue to form our faith that I encourage you to join a Catholic Bible Study group, either at your Parish or at another Parish. If your Church does not have a group, then ask your Priest if he would consider starting one up? There are many apologetic books and audio CDs by well known Catholic authors who teach how to explain and defend the faith. Evangelization is everyone's business. Bahamacatholic.com was started up to make known and enlighten the existence of the Catholic Church in The Bahamas. Did I encounter resistance? You bet I did, but that did not deter me from what I felt was a calling as a Christian.

Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" states, "Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize". Maybe the reason why I experienced backlash from my Bahama Catholic brethren could be due in part to the notion of evangelization, as this may seem to be a word we only hear about amongst Protestants, however Pope John Paul II called for a new evangelization as it was becoming evident of the weak condition of the Church in many parts of the world. He calls for the entire Church to embrace this calling and make it a normal part of Catholic life. Our current, Pope Benedict XVI in his exhortation "Verbum Domini" expresses the need for all Catholics to study scripture. We have all heard it said that Catholics do not read the Bible. Don't let this stigma stay with you. Be proud to know that it was the Catholic Church who put the Bible together. The Catholic Church may be the best kept secret in town, but it's now time to share it with others.

We are all encouraged to read our bibles, however even the Ethiopian in Acts 8:30-31 knew that it was not self-explanatory.
"Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
I find myself seeking answers all the time to questions posed to me from other Christians. Don't be ashamed if you do not know the answer instantly, as if you are on the game show "Jeopardy" and must give an answer immediately. I would recommend you advising them that you would be more than happy to get that answer for them. I would not want to call out the names of some of our Priests and Religious who I know would be more than happy to point you in the right direction, but there are many.

As a Saint of the Church once said, "Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ"; St. Jerome (347 – 420). The Catholic Church is rooted in Scriptures so try not to listen to the noise in "Da Market". If you want to be the best lawyer around, you would have to put everything into your studies and research, right? This is also the case if you want to truly know and come to love God.  St. Jerome also reminds us that we should be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find us occupied. Don't be caught with your trousers down (so to speak).

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Knowles, this is an excellent and timely piece! I do agree that it is each Catholic's responsibility to education himself or herself about what they need to know as it relates to their faith and their existence. I, too, am a product of Catholic education from primary to the tertiary, and I thank God for such an opportunity, but even with a Catholic schooling, the myriad of our faith is only understood deeply when we take personal owhership of life-long learning! May we seek the Light of Christ as we wander through the 'market place.' The noise is deafening because too few of us take the time to quiet our minds amidst this turmoil and lean on the Promises of Our Lord and the wonderful gifts found within our Church that has sustained our people throughout the centuries. This includes the power of God's Presence among us in the Eucharist, the power of the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, the intercession of the saints, Lectio Divina and other elements. We may all seek the same Lord and His Spirit guides us through 'ordinary' means to an extraordinary finale. May we all be blessed and humbled enough to 'hear the call to be set apart. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for the Jew first, and then Greek. For in it revealed the rightrousness of God from faith to faith as it is written, The one who is righteous by faith, will live." (Romans 1:16-17)


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