Catholicism more than Protestantism, to me, seems to have more of an innate sense that the physical and spiritual worlds are connected. It’s not like that isn’t believed in Protestantism… but going to a Protestant church service seems like, especially during worship, that we mortals are trying, desperately to reach out to God. And oftentimes how I as a Protestant gauged if that reaching out was successful is based on a feeling of being close to God.
But feelings are inconsistent, and this constant reaching, striving for and hoping for connection with the God of the Universe seems to be missing the point. Whereas it seems like in the Catholic faith everything is centered on this connection between the spiritual and the physical. In the mass and the Eucharist, God is among his people, is so close you consume him in the Eucharist itself… He is actually there, tangibly. it isn’t this vague reaching for God to send some feeling your way to know he is near, or this hoping to connect with God during your personal quiet time… oftentimes I’ve seen this lead to people, including myself, feeling disconnected and feeling like something is lacking or they aren’t doing something right because they can’t keep the fire, the feeling of closeness, consistently. But in, Catholicism, in the focus on the communion of saints, this emphasis on togetherness in the physical and spiritual realms changes how you look at your faith walk, and what closeness to God can be and look like… You just don’t find much about that in mainstream Protestant culture in the day-to-day, or even in the structure of church services themselves.
The re-framing that would occur in this area were we to become Catholic is appealing to me. Because closeness to God and the connection between the physical and spiritual realms is so much more than a feeling. It’s a reality that we can’t always see, but that doesn’t make it any less real. I think the Catholic church does a better job of representing that.