Have Confidence in Your Understanding of Your Faith

Picture this:

Every time you go to Mass, you appreciate the little details of the Consecration, but each day you are overwhelmed by the overarching magnificence of what the Eucharist is.

You have patron saints and you pray novenas, but you can also immediately call to mind why we ask saints to intercede for us in the first place.

As you pray your regular Rosaries, you can recall the promises of the Rosary but also have a deep understanding of why Catholics believe Mary is their mother.

When someone asks you a question about your faith, instead of handing them a book or CD, on the spot you can provide a concise and loving reason for why you’re Catholic.

You carry no fear, no inadequacy, and no imposter syndrome. You don’t feel the need to appeal to professional theologians to provide a logical explanation for your Catholic faith.

When you are challenged by an article or book that you read, you hearken back to the foundations of your faith—feeling grounded even when you encounter challenges.

Each day, you have a deep and unassailable peace that you are in the right place—that the belief system you’ve chosen to base your whole life around is deeply rooted in truth and goodness.

When you go to the grocery store and the young woman at the checkout asks you about the crucifix you wear on your necklace, you know exactly how to answer her. Intrigued, she asks if she can get coffee with you later.

She sees Jesus in your eyes, and she walks away from you understanding the Gospel that will change her life.

You turn on the 6 p.m. news and are reminded that the world is moving in many directions right now. You hear so many conflicting messages and you see people acting in ways contrary to the Gospel, but you don't feel threatened or afraid.

You know that you are grounded in the truth, and you have peace and joy about what’s to come.

You know that our broken and hurting world needs what you have—an unshakeable faith in Jesus and a solid foundation in his Church—and you move in peace through each day.

Question for you: What is grace?

How do you define it?

You know that you depend on grace every day to sustain you. You feel it carry you and help you through all your joys and challenges.

But many Catholics struggle to define grace; they always conclude with the go-to unsatisfactory answer: "It's a mystery."

There are words like this throughout Catholicism. You hear priests use words at Mass like “transubstantiation,” “sacrament,” and “paschal”— but what does any of that actually mean?

The questions.

“Do Catholics believe that you can work your way to heaven?”

“Do Catholics believe that the Pope is infallible? Isn’t Scripture the only infallible source?”

“Why isn’t everyone allowed to receive Communion?”


When people hear that you’re Catholic, they often ask these types of questions. And even though you’ve heard some renowned speaker or writer give the answer at some point, you can't seem to remember what they said or articulate it as well as they did.


You do one of two things:

  1. Mumble an “I’m not really sure” and hand them a book or CD (if you think of one.) OR
  2. Try to explain but feel like you are beating around the bush and watch their eyes gloss over. What you’re saying isn’t resonating, but you don’t really know why.


You walk away from the conversation feeling a disconnect because you believe and profess the Catholic Faith with your whole mind and heart—but don’t feel like you actually understand it (even though you thought you did!)


How can we believe what we don’t fully understand? 


Why does this happen?

You feel yourself getting stuck in this pattern over and over again. But why? What are you missing?

All the teachings of the Church (that you know by heart), feel like a huge pile of Catholicism. When you are asked about a piece of it, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense in context of the other pieces.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to lay it all out, and even if there was, you don’t feel like you have enough time or brainspace to do that.

But I’m not a theologian.

All the teachings of the Catholic Church are complicated.

And your mind murmurs that you need a prerequisite of a doctorate degree or clerical status to be able to understand and teach others about Catholicism.

You don’t feel qualified.

But guess what? This is a lie straight from the gates of hell. The devil wants you to feel small and incapable.

And we can’t let him win.

Jesus gave us the authority in the great commission to go and make disciples of all nations, promising that he would always be with us. (Matthew 28:16-20)

He gives us a spirit of authority to accomplish this.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”     (1 Timothy 1:7)

The world needs what you have.

As you watch the news or scroll through your Facebook feed, you see people living far from God and you worry about what world is being built for your children and grandchildren.

When we’re grounded in truth, we have no need to be afraid or anxious when we see people act contrary to God’s goodness and his plan.

We see them with God’s eyes, which are gentle and saddened when his people are far from him. He wants closeness with all his children, and the hearts of all humans are aching after purpose, meaning, joy, and peace.

More than ever, the world needs what your faith can provide.

And when we understand our faith, we can speak into all these spaces with love.

How much longer do you want to go on feeling unqualified, dodging questions, laying in bed feeling like the faith you profess is impossible to explain?

What Catholicism and Baking have in common.

For years, we have been taught to regurgitate what we believe, but it’s about so much more than that.

Think about the Catholic faith like baking. When you bake muffins, you have a variety of ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, chocolate chips.

Although the muffin is made up of all these ingredients, it is different from any one of those ingredients. It’s a new thing, created with a recipe.

In other words, you can’t describe a muffin by describing just the eggs.

Similarly, you can’t describe Catholicism by just talking about Mary, the saints, indulgences, or Confession. Catholicism is more than just the sum of its parts.

All the pieces of Catholicism only make sense in the context of a deep and personal relationship with God. This relationship is the recipe that makes all the pieces make sense.

How can you find this for yourself?


What We Believe: The Beauty of the Catholic Faith

One of the great gifts we have in 2000 years of Church teachings is that we can just repeat what all of the brilliant minds who came before us have already come up with.

In What We Believe: The Beauty of the Catholic Faith, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Dr. Andrew Swafford, and Sarah Swafford give you the words to explain why you believe what you believe.

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This study is what you need to organize that big pile of Catholicism, laying out the core teachings of the Catholic Church in a systematic and easy-to-understand way.

You CAN give an explanation for the teachings of the Church—What We Believe is your one-stop shop.

In one program, we’ve covered all the major teachings of the Catholic Faith, getting to the heart of why being Catholic matters in the first place.

It starts with the foundation of who God is, reveals why he founded the Church, and then explains how to practically live it out.

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This study cuts to the heart of Catholicism, showing how a personal relationship with God and the heart of the Gospel brings the teachings of the Church together in perfect harmony.

You will see how every tradition and ritual of Catholicism points to a deep relationship with a personal God.

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You will find answers to the questions

Why do I confess my sins to a priest?

Do Catholics believe they are saved by works?

What is fasting and why does it matter?

Why can’t everyone receive Communion?

What is the role of the Papacy?

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On top of this: you will embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to Rome by seeing where the saints and martyrs walked, experiencing their faith for yourself.

You will get virtual tours of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Church of San Clemente, the Pantheon, the Basilica of St. Paul, and more!

The video footage is spectacular and reminds you that you’re part of something so much bigger than your local parish.


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This study features the top presenters and voices in the Church today, including:

Dr. Andrew Swafford

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

Sarah Swafford

Fr. Mike Schmitz

Sr. Miriam James Heidland

Jackie Angel

Jeff Cavins

Fr. Josh Johnson

Fr. John Burns

Christine Wood

Fr. Cajetan Cuddy

And more!

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You can consume the content in a way that’s sustainable to your lifestyle.

You can:

Listen to the audio while doing dishes or driving

Binge 30-minute sessions as your next before-bed show.

Watch a session while walking on the treadmill

Read a chapter of the book each day at lunch


Give us a couple hours of your life, and we will give you an ironclad understanding of the Faith.

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A Trustworthy Source

Catholics around the country have trusted Ascension for more than 20 years to provide top-quality Catholic Faith Formation materials.

We’ve produced popular and award-winning programs and materials such as:

The Bible in a Year podcast;

Chosen: Your Journey Toward Confirmation;

The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation;

Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life;

No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk through Christ’s Passion;

Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible;

The Rejoice! Advent Meditations series;

A Biblical Walk Through the Mass;

And many more.

 What We Believe: The Beauty of the Catholic Faith has gone through the process of getting the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, so you can trust it is free of doctrinal or moral error.

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“[What We Believe] is a beautiful, one-stop-shop for anyone with questions about the Catholic Faith! It's intelligent, readable, and deeply steeped in Scripture and Tradition---a true gift to the Church!”


-Jackie & Bobby Angel

Authors, Speakers, and Presenters with Ascension

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“In What We Believe, Andrew Swafford, Sarah Swafford, and Marcellino D’Ambrosio do a phenomenal job of taking complex theological points and explaining them in ways that both the RCIA student and seasoned Catholic could appreciate. What We Believe isn't just a publication of helpful ideas, but a proclamation of the beauty and truth of the Catholic Faith that our world so desperately needs to be reminded of today.”

- Paul J. Kim

International Catholic Speaker, Musician, and Comedian


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“It's natural to want to share the things in our life that are wonderful and rich in meaning. But, for many people, the problem is that they don’t know how to explain the individual truths and how they relate to the whole. Dr. D’Ambrosio, Sarah Swafford, and Dr. Swafford break down the beauty of what we believe into meaningful parts of a large mosaic. This study is for those people who want to go deeper into the well of riches in the Catholic Church.


Jeff Cavins

Internationally renowned Catholic speaker, creator of The Great Adventure Learning System, and host of The Jeff Cavins Show podcast with Ascension


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“In What We Believe, Andrew Swafford, Sarah Swafford, and Marcellino D’Ambrosio give an overview of all-things-Catholic in a way that’s clear, refreshing, and truly brings the FAITH to LIFE…YOUR life. I highly recommend that you get a copy for yourself, and five more for your friends!”


Chris Stefanick

Founder and President of Real Life Catholic, lead author and presenter of the Chosen Confirmation program


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In the What We Believe Collection:


Study Set 

Online Access

Starter Pack