Sometimes I wonder if I am crazy. Did the apostles think they were crazy? To be following a man with no outward marks of success defined by that society – ancient now, but very real and present then. After all, Jesus was born in a manger, a lowly carpenter with no societal status or privileges. Jesus was not of noble birth like Daniel (aka Daniel in the lions’ den) nor was he perceived a mighty warrior like King David. I can understand why the Jewish administration was so baffled by his revolutionary perspective of a God that his people had already defined through their teachings and scriptures. Yet, here was a man with too much conviction who shared this “new” way with so much love, humility; so much charity. This revolutionary way would later be known as Christianity, but at that time, it was looked at as a cult – the way people look at new ways or “religions” of today they know nothing about. To the defense of newer religions, Jesus essentially started a new one, but one that would confound time and all notions of reality, one that he would later verify to the world that THIS WAS and IS the way. To the world, Jesus may have been a dreamer, an idealist. At most, many today at least admire this man for dying for a cause he truly believed in. To be an activist and a revolutionary in a time of animalistic methods of government was big…and scary. The ancient world was littered with what would be considered injustices today (slaves and corporeal punishment to name a few). Jesus was not swayed. He had his moments of weakness and fear for he was human after all, but what was truly inspiring was his extraordinary ability to place such worldly deterrents aside and focus on what needed to be done, and be fought for. But even in his flesh and humanness, St. Peter declared him the Son of God. No one said that except St. Peter. The other apostles also knew there was something more, even the treacherous Judas. At least they saw his miracles, heard his parables; heck, they were in his very presence!! What do I have to go off of? The bible? The priests? The pope? And I am not saying that sarcastically because I believe wholeheartedly in these, but thousands of years have passed and I could easily dismiss such notions of an age-old religion; yet, I believe. Now more than ever. But that belief did not just appear. I believe one must sincerely seek and work hard for faith, and it is not for the faint hearted because it will test you. It certainly has tested me, but the rewards of it…how truly fulfilling. I finally understand that “man does not live on bread alone,” because doing so would still find himself hungry. The perfect example are people who have it all – the world, fame, money, power, prestige, etc – and yet, still find unhappiness and discontent. The rewards of ultimate faith cannot be measured by currency, houses, items, any physical, worldly markers of success, but by the amount of unwavering peace one possesses in a world shaken by turmoil, uncertainty and suffering. That is the peace I have, and I love it! Nothing makes me happier. I’ve been Catholic my whole life but it was only recently (2014) did I realize how much being one would save my life – literally and figuratively. Before truly embracing the faith, I was encumbered with the endless questions of where my life was going, what I am meant to do; my possibilities were confined to what is acceptable in society. Being an artist (and as many creative souls will attest to), it is hard to dwell in such confines: go to college, get a job, get married, start a family, retire from job. While that very well provides happiness and comfort for many, I could not imagine living a life “by the rules,” and yet, I’d been living it. Oh the first world problems, as many would call it. Problems, they were, and so instead of being consumed by it, I let it go. I traded security for freedom. Isn’t it ultimately about freedom anyway? Not security? One can secure a position, sure, but at the end of the day, he/she is still a puppet of a greater power. In the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire, and now, the corporations…your job. But to have freedom from physical and metaphoric shackles, now that’s true peace. And perhaps that is what appealed to the followers of “this Jesus.” Additional to his overwhelming compassion, Jesus spoke of freedom through “his Father.” Free from the shackles of the world. Though centuries have passed and the world looks nothing like it did then, the concepts of freedom and peoples’ desire for it remain the same. Like the people of old, I, too, long for freedom, peace, and as much as I’ve experienced in the 29 years I’ve inhabited this planet (and I’ve experienced quite a bit), nothing has ever come close to the peace I have come to possess from the Catholic faith; from truly being a follower of Jesus. I can go into scripture, I can go into catechism, into details but I won’t. So am I crazy? Some say I am, but if that crazy will get me to the kingdom of Heaven, so be it.