Ana is considered a cradle Catholic, but says she is a revert, because she fell away from the Church for a brief time (still continuing to go to Mass!). Many of Ana’s friends joke that she knows half the priests in her home diocese, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, because it seems as if she knows every priest she meets! She is a Theology major at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, OH. Commonly seen on her college campus (or other places) in leggings and a hoodie and holding a rosary, Ana is a Chai Tea lover, an avid fan of the Harry Potter series, and listens to heavy metal, as well as Matt Maher. She fangirls over Pope Francis regularly. She also enjoys being with friends and family, playing violin, singing, rollerblading, reading, writing, and spending time with her three Labrador Retrievers and her cat. When asked who her favorite saint is, she says, “All of them!” but has a particular soft spot for St. Thomas Aquinas (after whom she was nicknamed, and it stuck!) and St. Pope John Paul II.
I’m not a Catholic because I was baptized. I’m not a Catholic because I was born into a family that was Catholic. I am a Catholic because I choose to be. I am so blessed to have had parents who decided to have me baptized and raise me in the Church, but it was me who chose to stay a Catholic. I am a Catholic because I belong in the Church. The Church protects me. The Church loves me. The Church, rather than oppressing me as a woman, cherishes and frees me.
I am loved so much that someone died in the most painful way possible, on a horrifying day, killed for doing something that wasn’t even wrong. Someone became sin….my sin. His name is Jesus Christ. He bled. He was whipped, mocked, tortured. But he never fought back. He went to his death…his wrongful death…because he loved me, even before he knew me.
The rules? Yeah, there’s rules. But the rules are freeing. To be bound to be obedient is a very freeing thing. That sounds oxymoronic, but it’s really not. If I’m bound to be obedient to the Church, I don’t have to choose whom to obey….the secular world, or God? Every time, the choice is to be obedient to God. I have a set moral code. Obedience requires me to stick with it.
Not that I’m saying it’s easy. It’s actually really hard to be obedient. I’m not having a ‘holier than thou’ attitude…I’m a sinner, too, and I have broken my fair share of commandments and Canon Laws. I have done so many bad things….and let me say this: When I go to confession, it takes me more than the 5 minutes that I want to give it. I am so ashamed of what I do, because it’s not what God would want me to do. My humanity makes me go off the path, but I can’t use that as an excuse. Confession is when I take things like a woman, and go own up to my actions. Not in a way that makes it seem like I’m proud of it, but in a way that humbles me.
I am a Catholic because I have Jesus in the sacraments. Every time I go to Confession. Every time I receive the Eucharist. When I go to weddings, baptisms and confirmations. I see Christ in funerals. I see Christ at the Mass, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I could go on and on about the Eucharist…..but I don’t just see him in the Eucharist……Christ is the Eucharist. It becomes him through transubstantiation. Which is a completely humbling and mindblowing thing. When I go to Mass every day, I witness a miracle, daily. Christ literally comes to Earth to dwell in me. Every time I’m there, I am brought to tears during the Consecration.
I am Catholic because I have a Mother. Mary is my mother. The Church is my mother.
I’m not a Theology major because I’m a Catholic, nor am I Catholic because I am a Theology major. I am a Theology major because people inspired me, and God called me.
I’m not Catholic because I get what I want from God. I’m Catholic because God gave me his all.