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.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Emmaus Road Experience

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. (Lk 24:31)

Our pope recently spoke regarding the need for a return to the Eucharist:

“How much need modern humanity has to rediscover the source of its hope in the Sacrament of the Eucharist,” the Pope said. “I thank the Lord because many parishes, alongside the devout celebration of Mass, are educating the faithful in Eucharistic adoration. And it is my hope that - also in view of the next International Eucharistic Congress - this practice will become ever more widespread."

My question is how do we encourage Eucharistic adoration? If many Catholics no longer recognize Jesus in the "breaking of the bread", will they be drawn to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? I don't know what comes first here. Perhaps the practice will stir the faith or is it vice-a-versa? I belong to a fairly large parish, but the once a month First Friday Adoration is sadly not well-attended. Maybe if there is more preaching and teaching about the Eucharist?

As a young Catholic, before I left the Church for 30 years, it totally escaped my notice that Christ was physically present before me on the altar at Mass. If I truly listened to the liturgy as it was being prayed, I should not have missed it. What was I thinking when the priest held up the Eucharist and said "this is Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper?" What was I thinking when I saw the priest genuflect as he opened the tabernacle, when he kissed the altar that heaven would come down upon?

Unfortunately, in my case familiarity must have bred contempt, or I intentionally turned myself off to the offer of His grace in the Mass. Or the "witness" of the nominal Catholics around me blinded me. Or maybe it was just my sin and my refusal to see Him as those in scripture who turned away and no longer followed him. We need to pray that more folks will have an "Emmaus Road Experience." Funny thing, it took me thirty some years to come back and recognize "Jesus in the breaking of the bread" and it occurred in the town where I now live...... Emmaus, Pennsylvania.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Li chita bò tab la ak yo pou manje. Li pran pen, li di Bondye mèsi, li kase l', epi li ba yo li.
Menm lè a, je yo louvri, yo rekonèt li. Men, li disparèt lamenm devan yo.

November 10, 2006 4:06 PM  
Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

TJ, here's the link to my expanded post, instructions for the 'suit':

November 10, 2006 4:42 PM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

I wish I knew what anon said. Does anon speak Spanish by any chance? I can read Spanish, and sometimes some French or Latin as the languages are related.

Anyway, Eucharistic Adoration is indeed a wonderful grace. My parish has perpetual adoration, and do you know, I attended there for months before I understood this devotion. In fact, the Lord himself called me there one day, hard to explain, but I have found that the feet of Jesus is the only place to go when there is a problem or a joy or anything in between.

I have to share this, though, for the benefit of your readers.

When I was struggling with my final step to be fully united with the Church, I was trying to come to Confession and was terrified. (This was not my 12 year Confession, but the one after...3 years). I left work early to go to Mass, which was in the chapel. I entered, not really recognizing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, although I made the motions others had made because I knew that's what we are supposed to do. (genuflecting on both knees, etc).

I thought I saw a friend in the first row, realizing only after I had joined her that it wasn't her, but a stranger...yet this "mistaken identity" put me so close to the consecration of the Mass that evening that I have to believe the Lord himself seated me there in the front. I didn't want to be there...I was not comfortable, and I wasn't going to communion as I finally understood I needed Confession first.

I will never be able to explain this, but that night, during the consecration, I SAW Jesus there at the altar. It was like a veil of some sort had dropped...I did not physically see Jesus, but my soul did, and my eyes NEARLY saw him--it's like there was an outline, a presence I can't put to words. In any case, I fully recognized Jesus there on the altar, and I couldn't stop crying. recognized that I was seperated from him. I will never in a thousand years be able to explain the grace I recieved that night, nor the reconciliation. The next time I attended Mass, having gone to Confession, I remember recieving Communion and afterwards, a PHYSICAL sensation of being hugged, including warmth, presence, pressure, etc. I remember the "knowledge" that Jesus came back with me to my place and welcomed me home so personally.

Again, impossible to explain.

Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, and when we go to Adoration, we are really in the presence of our Savior, and Heaven really does come to us, straight from God's mercy. From his heart to ours, from his very being to our very souls...Christ is present, he is real, and he is waiting for all of us and recognizes us all individually as His children.

Why is this so hard to explain? English isn't broad earthly language can contain the experience of God.

November 10, 2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Devote:
Thank you for the beautiful words regarding your experience of Christ in the Eucharist! Again, this is the experience that so many of my charismatic friends long for. I wish they could hear your words.
It is hard to describe in words the incarnational activities of God. The same creator of the universe humbling himself to become a crying little infant daily humbles himself in all the altars and tabernacles of the world by taking on the substance of bread. Truly inconceivable!

November 11, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

It is indeed inconceivable! And this experience doesn't happen all the time....must make that clear! But God gives us what we need when we need it, and if a special grace is necessary, he provides it so lovingly and generously. I have done the "Charismatic" thing, although I really couldn't get into it...not my spirituality. It seems to be seeking emotion, and while some of the graces God has provided me (such as above), emotion was not necessarily part of it. Sometimes I feel nothing, but that divine knowledge of God is still there because of the lesson God provided to me. Again, difficult to explain.

One thing that chased me away from the (Catholic) Charismatic prayer group was the disconnect between Adoration and their "Praise and Worship". They start their meetings with guitars, songs, many of them holdovers from the 70's, hand waving, shouting rather than singing, and "tongues". Well, fine, and I know these people...they are praising God no matter if it's in babble or English. But I found that I needed to spend that particular 30 minutes with Jesus directly, not in hand-wavingly bad music. When I expressed to a group memeber that I was late because I was praying in the chapel, she said, "But don't you think God would want you to be here praising Him?"

What!? "Singing" bad music seeking emotion...or resting in the presence of God, seeking true prayer, with or without consolations?

I'm thinking you and I are in complete agreement with regard to the Charismatics in our lives. I love them dearly and they are devoted to God, but they are missing a really big point if they think that Eucharistic Adoration should take a back seat to their version of "Praise and Worship".

November 11, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Amen Adoro! We sure are on the same wavelength for sure!
Please check my blog here regarding the danger of charismatic

November 11, 2006 1:15 PM  

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