Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why I Am Catholic

Eucharist; the summit of the Christian life.

I am Catholic because of the Eucharist; Christ fully present in the Eucharist. Because when Jesus spoke at the Last Supper after breaking the bread and giving thanks and praise "Take and eat, this is my body." I am all attention and believe Him without a doubt for He is the son of God.  It is radical for us today and was radical for the first century Jews to take as so many walked away from Him on this teaching. We can at least be thankful our word for eat is rather "civilized" when the Greek meaning is one along the lines of gnawing and tearing and munching. Imagine every Mass "Take this all of you and gnaw on it."

"Then he took a cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Matthew 26: 26,27,28)  I take it to mean what Jesus says. Transubstantiation is a miracle every Mass if we only had eyes to see.  The wafer, a thin disc of bread Jesus' presence diffuses divinity for all us sinners come to the banquet of His great love, and there he is gathering all of our mottliness and wickedness into His presence so we may take Him into ours and be transformed by His great heart. What amazing grace. What abounding joy. My heart leaping at Mass and my gestures so ordinary and small; a holding out of my hand to receive.

I am Catholic because this is Christ's Mystical Body I am a part. This is His church on earth and we are meant to love our Lord God with our whole heart and mind and soul, love our neighbor as our self, and spread the gospel to everyone; even the gates of Hell will not prevail against this missionary effort.

I am Catholic because I am learning to diminish in self and fill with Christ and the Sacraments infuse, help and aid me along the way. The Liturgy is a mystical worship of the highest form of praise to God and I adore being a part of the long un-spooling humanity in this sacred act.

I am Catholic because I love monasticism and the long line of monks; their practices and writings and teachings on prayer. The way they show how to be fully present to the divine in each moment; how our time is not our own; how to worship and and praise our Lord and God.

I am Catholic because I love Holy Mary, Mother of God; for her "yes" to become the mother of the Messiah and the unimaginable suffering she endured in His Great Passion and at the foot of the Cross; for all her listening and interceding prayers. I love to pray the Rosary as she leads me to her son Jesus. I love listening for Her in the passageways of my heart.

I am Catholic because we have the great transforming Sacrament of Confession. To speak your sins out loud to the priest standing as Christ is humbling and wrenchingly difficult at times. I would rather avoid speaking my sins to privately confessing them to our Lord in prayer. What a great realization of how fallen we are; how the glass of us is dirt smudged when looking through to Christ. How we can do nothing without Him.

I am Catholic because we believe in justice which demands corporal and spiritual acts of mercy; attending Mass at least weekly to render justice to God, to praise, worship and give glory to Him who gives us all.

And lastly, although I could go on and on, I love being Catholic because there's always good food around along with the characters of Saints and those in progress.

"To hear the echo of God's voice in all these things is to be a Catholic."

                                                                         Father Barron  Catholicism

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