Successor to a successor to an Apostle
St. Irenaeus taught me that the Church is apostolic.
Some years back, I was reading something he had written -- I don't remember what, I don't remember why -- and what struck me was how utterly Catholic it was.
I'd read a passage here and a short letter there from the Patristic Age, which was all well and good, but for the most part what I'd read all seemed quite ancient. Bishops going in chains from town to town? Offerings to the gods? The numerological significance of seventy-two? Connected to us today, certainly, but by way of a long, dusty trail.
And then whatever passage it was of St. Irenaeus, and it could have been written today. This is what the Church believes, and hey, that's what I believe, and the words I'd use to say it! This is what the Church does, and hey, that's what I do, and the reason I do it!
Coincidentally, I caught a few minutes of EWTN radio last week, during an interview with Alex Jones. To quote from the ad page for his book, No Price Too High:
Alex Jones was an "on-fire" Pentecostal minister in Detroit who was a completely dedicated shepherd of his flock. He greatly loved his people and they loved him. In seeking to give his flock the most genuine experience of the early Church prayer and worship services, he carefully read Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and writings of the early saints.
As he tells the story, his Pentecostal church didn't much like his reconstructed worship service. "It was 'too Catholic,'" even though at the time he had never been to a Mass.
There's a reason for that, of course, which he has since come to see; he's now a permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.