As Catholics, we need to be students of history. At least a little bit.
The Catholic church has a history unlike any other organization. Even just considering that we can go back 2,000 years is unrivaled in our modern world.
But knowing our history is important for several other reasons.
We need to know where we come from, to know our story. 2,000 years ago and up until this day, men and women have given their lives for Christ and for us. Their works, their prayers, their lives offered for Christ’s Church – that’s us! We are part of that same Church that started with Christ and his Apostles.
When studying Christian history, there’s a point when we realize that it’s very Catholic, which can help when it comes to defending our faith. History is on our side. St. John Henry Newman said, “To be deep in history, is to cease to be Protestant.” It’s just the reality – the Catholic church is the only one started in 33 A.D.
Now, the reality is that our history is not perfect. Like all of us, there are dark times, moments of weakness and sin. But, ‘where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.’ It’s in those tough times that the Holy Spirit inspires powerhouse Saints to steer and guide the ship.
Many of those Saints leave us their writings and teachings – continuing to guide and instruct us. And, we’re not talking about a handful – but 2,000 years worth! The lives of the Saints and their teachings are a tremendous gift to us, we must take advantage of that.
Now, with a history so rich and dense, the hard part is where to even begin. You can’t go wrong starting at the beginning with the Acts of the Apostles and Early Church history. The first few hundred years of our Church is a fascinating time, sometimes eerily similar to our current age. But, if you are interested in a different period, investigate it. Read articles, books, search for podcasts on the topic. Just start digging.
If you want a starting point, check out 10 Dates Every Catholic Should Now. I know the title sounds a bit generic and boring, but this book was a great (and quick) read and much more than just your average history textbook. Plus, I’m sure you’ll learn something you didn’t know about our history and world history.
Be the Men,