Reason # 805 to Be Catholic: No Gnosticism Required
This is an unusual reason to be Catholic but let me explain. Gnosticism was a collection of sects that basically held to a belief that salvation is from knowledge. One had to gain an intellectual understanding or "revelation" of a particular "gnosis" or knowledge, without which they couldn't be saved. If you didn't "know," then you weren't going to "go." (to heaven)
At evening Mass last Tuesday, I noticed a young boy about 10 years old in the front row of the chapel with his mom. He was wearing a communion robe and was talking loudly and moving about throughout the introductory prayers and scripture readings. His very patient mom would hold him tightly to her and gently shoosh him, which only helped momentarily. It became apparent that this child had a severe intellectual disability, or perhaps a pervasive developmental disorder (autism) or other such developmental delay.
Before the homily, our pastor explained that this young man would be receiving the Lord tonight for the first time in the Eucharist. This is also known as The First Holy Communion. He asked us to pray for him on this very special night. After the Eucharistic Liturgy was completed, the mom stood up with her child holding him close to her side.The priest gently said; "Body of Christ" and gave the boy the body and blood of our Lord for the first time. In that moment this young child received God - body, blood, soul and divinity. If you closed your eyes, you could almost see the angels peering gingerly over his shoulders with wonderment and awe.
How can this be? Did this child understand everything that just transpired? Did he complete his catechism training before this First Communion? Was the pastor sure he had full knowledge of the Eucharist and its meaning? There's a fairly good chance the answer is no, but yet in the Catholic faith one is not required to have a secret knowledge of complex doctrines nor complete understanding of the faith. The grace of God is available to all through the sacraments that Christ gave the Church regardless of intellectual ability or understanding. What does the Lord require of his disciples? Only faith like a child.
As I have said before, Catholicism is truly universal. It is a religion that can challenge the intellect of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Blaise Pascal but at the same time be equally accessible to the simple. No gnosticism required and that, my friends, is another reason to be Catholic.