It is hard to fathom, frankly. Could it possibly be true? Is it as He says? I suppose for me the starting point would be in my own heart. Who do I understand God to be? Everything and nothing hinge on that very point. Everything changes if I believe despite what I see. If I do not believe, it changes nothing because it is what He says despite my unbelief. Is He the God of the universe wherein nothing is impossible, who’s Word brought everything into existence and holds it there? Or is He an imposter whom we have elevated over the millennia?
You must decide.
Your faith practice may simply encompass Mass attendance when it fits in your schedule. You go through the motions, because that is what Catholics are supposed to do. Maybe this is what your family did. Perhaps your family was like mine, wherein we never missed Mass, and we prayed the Rosary regularly. That was the classroom of my childhood, and how I was taught to live out my Catholic faith.
But Catholicism is deeper and richer than that.”
Perhaps, you are not entirely sure what the Church believes; but you are convinced there are aspects you are not in agreement with. Have you ever dived deeper into the topic to see what the Church in her wisdom actually teaches and why?
If pressured by a non-believer about who Jesus Christ was, could you comfortably and compellingly speak on His behalf in a way that would enlighten and influence them?”
One Christmas Eve at a progressive dinner in our neighborhood over eighteen years ago, I was goaded by a well-meaning Christian on various aspects of our Catholic faith. I fumbled with my answers and failed miserably in providing any collaborating data either Scriptural or doctrinal. I remember being tremendously embarrassed. Later that night in prayer I apologized to my Father in heaven for my lack of effort in growing in my faith. I had been a Catholic my whole life and knew squat. There was no valid excuse other than laziness and not making it a priority.
While it saddened me greatly, it also moved me to action. I strongly wanted to know more. How could I call myself a follower of Christ and active member of the Church He began, and yet know so little? I was in my forties and had maybe a third-grade education in the faith I professed.
I went right to work the next day and spoke to one of our Priests at Corpus Christi. Father was ready to help and pointed me in the right direction. I made it my priority to research answers for all the issues she had addressed and was blessed to discover so much more. I wrote to her apologizing for my inability to have answers for her and shared with her what I had discovered. I imagine she was not expecting my five-page response to her questions. That embarrassing moment was the catalyst I needed to wake up and grow. I am thankful for it and continue to read, listen, and look for opportunities to learn. What I continue to realize with every new morsel of truth, is that I am starving for more, yet still know so little.
What about you?
Our Bishop, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted recently released an Apostolic Exhortation called. Veneremur Cernui. Like any good shepherd he seeks to educate his wayward, confused, and worldly flock. We wander away. We heed to the voice of others who are not the Shepherd, and we listen to wolves in sheep’s clothing which further cause division and misunderstanding. The exhortation is beautifully written, and easily understood. I encourage you to read it, talk about it, and share it. Why? Because it captures why we believe, and what the Church has always taught in a way that is digestible.
Truly accepting the truth about Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist is a game changer. If Christ did not rise from the dead our faith is worthless. If Christ just left us a symbol at the Last Supper, in the bread and wine, it is pointless. Men and women have died horrible, agonizing deaths for thousands of years rather than deny that the Eucharist is exactly what Jesus said it was. (read John chapter 6)
For we live by faith, not by sight.”(2 Cor5:7)
Where are our eyes of faith?
If Jesus Himself was not convincing enough, if His Words in Scripture still do not persuade you, I implore you to read and pray for the Lord to enlighten your heart and mind to the undisputable truth of the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the little humble host we receive at communion. Ask the Lord to eradicate all doubt in your heart and mind. Ultimately, our actions will speak loudest of this truth. Belief will impact how we prepare our hearts and souls for the reception of Jesus our Lord and God, how we ready our appearance and dress for the banquet and realization that it is before God that we stand.
I invite you to meditate and pray on these three particular quotes by saints who came to fathom this gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
“I desire to unite Myself to human souls, Know, My daughter, that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to Me; they leave Me to Myself and busy themselves with other things…They treat Me as a dead object.” (St Faustina’s diary,1385)
“He who is all-knowing knew of nothing more that he could give than the Eucharist. He who is all-powerful could not do any more than he does in the sacrament and he who is all loving had nothing more that He could give. The Eucharist is a Divine storehouse filled with every virtue.” St Augustine
“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation” St Francis of Assisi
Cease in your unbelief and believe.