Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Power of the Eucharist and Sponges


Over at Path of Weis, there is a post which is a plea for Catholics to reverence the Eucharist if they do indeed believe that it is what we say it is. Many wonder why more Catholics aren't changed by it. I thought Gretchen's response was so well put, I had nothing to add in George's com box. I have written about this extensively in the past but found an article by the late Fr. John Hardon that ties in nicely with this discussion.

"Those who believe deeply in the Real Presence will benefit greatly from the Real Presence; those who believe weakly will also benefit accordingly. The Eucharist is capable of working miracles in our lives. So it can -- after all, the Eucharist is Jesus. He worked -- change the tense -- He works miracles, but as it depended then (remember, Christ could not work miracles in certain places for lack of faith), the same now. It depends on the depth and degree of our faith."

The Eucharist is indeed Jesus but many don't recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. Sadly a phenomenon which has occurred since the early days of the Church.
( Check out 1 Corinthians 11)
I like to imagine that the sacraments are like the "water" of God's grace pouring over us. His grace falls everywhere in the world but the sacraments are a concentrated delivery of this grace which Jesus instituted and designed to be the normative way in which we "interact with God."
We are sitting under the "spiritual funnel" where the downspout is directed down on us when we present ourselves for a sacrament, such as the Eucharist or Reconciliation. Then what happens is this: if our hearts are cold and stony, the water just washes off us like water flowing down on a smooth hard rock. If our hearts are pliable, soft and absorbent like a sponge, the water of grace gets in and goes deep to replenish the much-needed moisture.
I don't know about others, but when I go up to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, the prayer of the Church that we all just prayed in the Liturgy of the Eucharist is on my heart and lips.
"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I keep my head down praying these words as intently as I can. I'm not sure what someone in front of me or behind me is doing, but I know what I need to do. As I approach the priest or extraordinary minister, I pray, "Jesus please let me be a sponge, not a rock. Let be be open to all the grace you have for me here ." Hopefully, I will have gone to confession in the recent past so there is no chance that I bring an unconfessed grave and serious sin to the altar. I then pray quietly in my pew, and sometimes pull a small copy of the Anima Christi prayer to pray.
Everyone one's experience may be different, but the saints have given us a long tried and true
way to obtain holiness in this life, and it always revolved around the reverent reception of Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. Thanks be to God for this most ineffable gift to His Church!
But this same God of the universe who humbled himself to become one of us in a dirty animal stable, (where he was overlooked by many, because it was "business as usual") continues to allow himself to be presented on the altars throughout the world where He is overlooked by many, because it's still "business as usual." An unthinkable paradox indeed.

3 Comments:

Blogger Gretchen said...

What a beautiful analogy, and so true. I try to get to daily mass as often as possible, because I know that each time I eat the bread and drink the wine, it is a litle bit more of Him soaking into me, who needs Him so desperately.

Thanks for your kind comment, btw.

April 29, 2009 1:46 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Russ,

I know there are good folk like you out there. You make me feel better about alot of things. On the other hand, I am often perplexed by the way of life some folks hold and still "believe" this.

It makes it all a struggle. But like a dear Monsignor once said to me "When You say Catholic, you mean... here comes everyone from sinner to saint and anywhere in between."

-g-

May 07, 2009 9:05 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks George, but even us revert/ converts/devout cradle catholics who really believe in the teachings of the CHurch still have this flesh suit on and it causes us to fall at times. But the hope still is there that He can make us more like Him, if we just say yes, and cooperate with that grace. But Sometimes I am just a plain jerk and even after receiving the Eucharist, will have an uncharitable thought or impatience with someone in the parking lot after Church or bearing an unbelievable grudge that I thought I had given over. That's what the confessional is for!!!!! Thank God!

Being Catholic doesn't make one perfect, but I have personally found gave me more tools for that purpose than I had before. Everyone's mileage may vary :)

May 07, 2009 10:29 PM  

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