The Whole Banana

Tear a banana from a bunch and show it to someone. Ask them to identify it.

“That’s a banana,” they’ll say.

Now, peel the banana, hold up the fruit, and ask them what it is.

“A banana,” they’ll say, probably somewhat confused at your obvious questions.

Set aside the fruit and hold up the peel. Once again, ask them to identify what you hold.

“A banana peel.”

The banana is a banana without its peel, but the peel is not a banana without its fruit.

When I tried to convince myself that, because of decisions I’ve made in my life some non-Roman Catholic church would best suit me, I came to the realization that to join any other Christian denomination would be like calling a fruitless peel a banana. I might be able to rationalize my “belief” in the new church, but deep down I’d know the fruit is missing.

I don’t mean to criticize or ridicule any Protestant or break-away Catholic churches. They remain parts of the Body of Christ. The fact that they’ve peeled away from the fruit doesn’t make them not bananas—just incomplete bananas.

To accept anything other than Roman Catholicism for myself would be to give something less than my all to God and to deny my own beliefs. While I might be saved in another church, God’s mission for me would be left incomplete. Eating the banana peel might keep me alive, but it wouldn’t satisfy the way the banana would, nor would it taste as sweet.

Now, because the Catholic Church teaches, rightly, that only those in a state of grace may fully partake of her sacraments, until my many errors are adjudicated I will not be in full communion. Perhaps I never will be. Some might consider this and ask, “Wouldn’t you be better off to fully engage in a church that overlooks your divorce and other sins rather than partially engage in a church that constantly reminds you of them?”

I answer with a question: “Would you rather eat an entire banana peel or only a part of the banana itself?"

I feel compelled to enjoy half a banana rather than its entire peel. The unconsumed portion will remind me that I denied myself the whole banana, but with God’s mercy and grace, I may someday obtain the rest.

Around the Blogosphere: Insight Scoop has this entry on a fine article, well worth the read. (Thanks to RomanCatholicBlog.)