Q: When others ask me to explain the Catholic faith, what is the best explanation I can give them to help them understand?
A: How I answered the previous question may be helpful, but let us also look at a gesture with which we all are familiar: the sign of the cross. Some may look at the sign of the cross as “dialing to pray,” but it is so much more. The sign of the cross is a prayer itself. One way of looking at it is that we thank God the Father for sending us God the Son, who has given us God the Holy Spirit.
We hear that God has so loved us that he gave us his only Son Jesus. But this is not the end of the story. We believe, as Catholics, that Jesus gave us the Eucharist, his own Body and Blood, in order that we may become like him. When Jesus returned to heaven at the Ascension, he did not leave us alone. We celebrate the great solemnity (Feast) of Pentecost at which the Apostles received the Holy Spirit.
When the first Apostles died, the Catholic Church did not leave with them. No, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Church endured as new apostles were created, called bishops. The Seven Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which you and I have access to the divine life. We are grateful to God for the gifts of the Bible, the successors of the first Apostles (bishops), and the Tradition, which allows us to look ahead, as we treasure the fact that Jesus Christ will never leave us.
How fortunate we are to have Jesus Christ establish the Catholic Church on the foundation of the Apostles. Through the Catholic Church, God has provided us with “the fullness of means of salvation which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life and ordained ministry in apostolic succession” (Catholic Church definition taken from the Glossary in Catechism of the Catholic Church).