To learn the Good News, please watch this short (6 minute) video…
The Good News about Jesus Christ, also called The Gospel, is the foundation of the Christian religion. It’s basically the kernel of the whole thing. Everything that is Christian comes from this kernel called The Gospel or the Good News. The Gospel consists of three basic truths. They are outlined below…
- The first truth is that there is a God. Perhaps you’ve heard that there isn’t. Well, that’s a minority opinion if there ever was one. It’s also wrong. There is plenty of evidence in favor of God’s existence. If you’re not sure that there is a God, you can learn more about that here. If you’ve already decided there is a God, move on to the second truth.
- The second truth is that God actually cares about us, because he loves us, and he cares so much he wanted to identify with humanity. He did this by becoming a man himself, so that he could experience life the way we experience it. He endured the process of childbirth, coming into this word in poverty, being born in a stable (barn) and laid in a manger (feeding trough). He grew up experiencing all that children experience, including hardship, even witnessing the death of his adopted father, and having to take care of his mother from an early age. Finally, he experienced rejection, torture, suffering and death, identifying with our mortality in the most humiliating way possible. His name was Jesus of Nazareth. If you’re not sure that Jesus of Nazareth is really God, you can learn more about that here. If you’ve already decided that Jesus of Nazareth is God, move on to the third truth.
- The third truth is that Jesus of Nazareth, the God-Man, did basically three things for humanity. First, he identified with us, so that he could understand us in every way, as one of us. Second, he atoned for our sins in the cross. You see, everything God created was good, but mankind messed it up by rebelling (sinning) against God since the very beginning. This rebellion of our first parents (original sin) along with our own personal little rebellions against God (actual sin) is what makes things so hard in this life, and condemns us to damnation in the next life (afterlife). But Jesus of Nazareth provided a way out. He atoned for our sins (basically, paying the price for them by becoming a sacrifice for us) by dying on the cross, and to prove that he really did overcome both our sins and their penalty, he rose from the dead. Jesus opened the door to salvation for us in the next life. This salvation gives us hope for a future, both in heaven after our death, and the resurrection of our bodies in the new world. This hope changes our mortal lives as well, so that when this happens on a collective level, with many people getting saved, our world begins to change as well, for the better. In other words, it begins to heal. Third, Jesus did not leave us alone. He founded a Church to help us live our Christian lives, learn about him, and be transformed entirely by sacraments (means of grace). This Church he founded is called the Catholic Church, and he didn’t found any other. All other churches are man-made Christian associations, and many of them are wonderful, but they weren’t founded by Jesus of Nazareth. Only the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus of Nazareth, and he founded it for a reason. Jesus didn’t do anything for trivial reasons. If he founded a Church, then you can rest assured it was necessary. If your not sure about Jesus of Nazareth founding the Catholic Church, you can learn more about that here. Otherwise, you’re ready to move on to becoming a Christian.
Once you’ve accepted the three truths of Christianity, you’re ready to move on to becoming a Christian yourself. Believing in these things is not enough. The Bible tells us that even the demons believe — and tremble (James 2:19). We have to do more than just believe. We have to choose a side and act. If you accept the above three truths of Christianity, then it’s time to act. You cannot wait until the end of your life. There may be no time then. You cannot wait until after your life. It’s too late then. The Bible tells us that today is the day of salvation, not tomorrow, or the next day, but now (2 Corinthians 6:2). Are you ready to become a Christian? Or are you ready to reclaim your life as a Christian? Here’s the process…
1.) Acknowledge that you are a rebel (sinner) and that you want to get on God’s side now, before the battle for your life is over. This is done with a humble heart, and a sincere intention. It’s expressed through the following prayers. Once of you’ve done this, you’re well on your way and you’ve initiated the process. But you must follow through with the next steps to complete it. It’s about trusting in Jesus alone to save you. He alone is the only way to salvation. There is no other. You must begin by TRUSTING in HIM. Initiate the process now with these prayers…
O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. O MY GOD, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
2,) Once the process is initiated with the prayers above, you must begin to feed your soul. You will need a Catechism and a Bible. I’m going to recommend a children’s catechism first. This is not to be condescending. It’s just that we all need to start somewhere, and working our way up is easier than trying to start at the top. This particular children’s catechism I’m going to recommend is a good overview of the Catholic Christian faith, and many adults use it as an initial primer. It’s the St. Joseph’s First Communion Catechism. Once you’ve read that you can upgrade to an adult Catechism, which is the Baltimore Catechism #3 and the Baltimore Catechism #4. I also advise that you get a good Catholic Bible that helps explain the faith. Probably the best Catholic Bible is the Catholic Scripture Study Bible RSV-CE. This is all the study material you will ever need as a Christian. Anything more is optional. So purchase the following. I get no royalties from this. Consider these things to be lifelong investments, and you won’t need any more beyond this…
- St. Joseph’s First Communion Catechism (get it now)
- Catholic Scripture Study Bible RSV-CE (get it now)
- Baltimore Catechism #3 (get it when you’re ready)
- Baltimore Catechism #4 (get it when you’re ready)
If you’re looking for short Catechism lessons you can do online, these animated lessons are fun but fairly thorough. I recommend the 3-minute Catechism (3MC) series. You can also read the Baltimore Catechism #3 (for adults) entirely online for free.
You don’t need to buy these books all at once. You could stagger them out over time. Also, if you can’t afford them, you can probably get some variation of these materials at a local library or thrift book store. Or, you might be able to get them from a Catholic priest or parish at no cost. (Yes, priests can be very generous about these things.) Also, you could contact the Knights of Columbus council at a local Catholic parish. They are also known for giving away religious materials. I highly recommend getting a hard copy of these things at some time. We really must not become entirely dependent on digital communication (the Internet). Too many things can go wrong with that. Nothing beats having an actual book in your home.
3.) Find a Catholic parish and talk to a priest about your decision and your prayers to become a Christian. The best choice is a Catholic parish where one can still find a Reverent Catholic Mass. A parish with a Reverent Catholic Mass can be found here. If one can’t be found within a one-hour drive from your location, then you should seek any Catholic parish here. A Reverent Catholic Mass parish is ideal, but any Catholic parish is acceptable.
4.) You will need to meet with this priest and have him walk you through the rest of the process. He may refer you to a catechist. Or he may train you himself. It all depends on how he’s running his parish. If you have not been baptized yet, this process will culminate in a baptism, followed by confirmation and first communion. If you have been baptized already, the process will culminate in confirmation and first communion. That’s because the Catholic Church accepts all baptisms done in the name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Once you have been baptized, confirmed and received first communion you will have become a Christian in the Catholic Church, the Church founded by Jesus of Nazareth. It’s important to continue going to Mass weekly, and continue in your daily prayers and study. All the study material you need is mentioned above. Everything else is optional. If you ever have specific questions about certain Catholic teachings, you can always ask your priest, and you can also reference this blog here on the page entitled Real Clear Catholic.
Welcome to the family of God. Welcome home!