(This article is a preface to the following article about devotion to Mary, which will be posted within the day. This is by no means a Catholic apologetics website, but in order to receive the full fruit of the following article, we must be Catholic.)
It can (and indeed has) been demonstrated that the Catholic Church was established by Christ. Those who know this are morally obliged to become Catholic if they wish to be saved. Only “invincible ignorance” can excuse us of this obligation. This is the teaching of the early Church Fathers, of the Saints, and of God Himself. If you are not Catholic, ask yourself: “What did the early Church teach about: the Eucharist? Confession? Obedience to the Pope? The SEVEN sacraments? Mary? Purgatory? Justification and salvation?” If you ask these questions and sincerely seek the truth, God will lead you to discover that the Catholic Church alone teaches what the early Church taught. One has only to read a good Catholic apologetics book to realise this. Go to amazon.com and search (under ‘Books’): ‘Catholic apologetics’. Many excellent resources will come up. (If you are not Catholic it is important for you to know that every reliable Catholic book will have received something called an ‘Imprimatur’ or ‘Nihil Obstat.’ This simply means that the doctrine contained within the book does not contradict Catholic doctrine.)
If the irrefutable logic of the Catholic Church fails to convince you, consider the lives of the saints. St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Augustine, St. Fulgentius, St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Padre Pio… each of these holy souls- along with every other canonized saint- possessed the following: a great love of the Eucharist; devotion to Mary; devotion to the holy souls in Purgatory; obedience to the Pope and the Catholic Church; and an ardent love of God. Ask yourself: “Were these souls deceived?” One has only to read the life of St. Francis of Assisi, for example, to see how proud it would be to assert this. Not only was St. Francis a humble child of the Church, but he was also a great lover of the Eucharist and Our Lady. His humility was so great that it is believed that he now occupies the place in Heaven that was once occupied by Lucifer (a saint learnt this through a mystical revelation). St. Francis of Assisi is known to have said the following:
“Those who behold the Sacrament of the Eucharist, consecrated by the priest, but only see the appearances of bread and wine, and do not believe by the grace of the Spirit that these are really the Body and Blood of Christ, condemn themselves, since they do not believe the testimony of the Lord Himself who said, “This is My Body and Blood of the new covenant,” and promises, “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life” (John 6:56).
“I command all my brothers, who are living now and who will live in the future, always to praise the Mother of God, and with every means to honour her everywhere as well as they are able, and have recourse to her with the greatest respect and surrender.”
Please ask Our Lord for the grace to recognise the true Church. If we truly love Jesus it follows that we love His will. And isn’t it His will that we unite ourselves to Him ever more closely? Then we must at least consider the possibility that Jesus gives Himself to us (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) in the Holy Eucharist (there are several books on ‘Eucharistic miracles’ which confirm this sublime truth!). Those who truly live their Catholic faith (the saints) are the most loving, joyful people on Earth, and for good reason! Why deprive yourself and others of such great graces?! Do not let yourself be deceived;
“Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in Heaven…” (Matthew 7:21).
May Our Lady of Sorrows lead you to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament.
“Have a great love for the Mass and for the Holy Eucharist and have a great devotion to the Virgin Mary and to her Rosary. If you do this, you will enter Heaven and I will meet you there.” – St. Padre Pio (Saint, priest, mystic, stigmatic, champion of the Holy Rosary, lover of Christ Crucified d. 1968)