It’s a Catholic Thing

It's a Catholic Thing
Some religious practices that set us apart
Paul Thigpen

© 2000 by Paul Thigpen

Though Catholics share a number of religious practices with Protestant Christians, many of our customs are distinctive to our tradition. Here are a few that set us apart:

· The sign of the Cross. Since ancient times, in this gesture Catholics have affirmed their faith in the Most Holy Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — and brought to mind Christ's passion and death.

· Holy water. This water, blessed by the priest, recalls our Baptism and brings us grace and protection through the prayers of the Church.

· Eucharistic adoration. Because Catholics recognize that the Eucharist is truly Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, they can worship Him and have prayerful communion with Him when He is uniquely present in this way.

· The rosary. This collection of simple prayers allows us to meditate slowly on the joys, sorrows, and glories in the life of our Lord and His Mother as we recite repeatedly the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and other expressions of our faith.

· Stations of the Cross. Retracing the events of Christ's suffering and death through prayer, song, and physical movement, this devotional exercise draws us into meditation on the great depths of His sacrifice for us.

· Prayer before the crucifix. This heart-breaking image of Jesus dying on the cross stirs us to be sorry for our sins and invites us to bear our own sufferings with His help.

· Honoring images of our Lord, the angels, and the saints. We often display a portrait of a loved one in a place of honor in our homes, or we may even embrace or kiss a small picture of someone we cherish. In the same way, by showing affection and respect to statues or pictures of members of our spiritual family, we express our devotion and appreciation to those whom the images represent.

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