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.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

Today marks the eve of the beginning of the new Church year. Last week, the daily readings in the Mass pointed us towards the coming of Christ, building our expectation and hope. As we enter the season of Advent and the beginning of the New Church Year , we are once again given the opportunity to "let our hearts prepare Him room."
I have so appreciated these last four years as a Catholic because of the way the Church helps us to grow in grace by celebrating the events of salvation history. Prodigal Daughter and I have integrated our lives into the rhythm of the Church calendar and have seen the supernatural way that God uses this to continue to draw us to heaven.
As a Catholic, if you never had the opportunity to go to a retreat, hear Catholic teaching on radio or TV, read blogs, or read inspirational books, you could still be fed and grow as a Christian, by the Mass alone. For the Mass* is the most perfect prayer of worship and the daily readings of Scripture along with the reception of the Eucharist is all one needs to live a faithful and fruitful Christian life. As a matter of fact, for the first 1500 years of Church history, that is all the believers had....and they did alright.

*From the Catechism: The Benefits of the Mass

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."226 Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."227

On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ.228

What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh "given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,"229 preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.

Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:

For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.230

As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins.231 By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.232


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I am so eternally grateful for the Mass! Reading this almost makes my heart burst with joy and wonder and gratitude that I was 'brought back Home' to the Real and Truest presence of Christ on earth! What a gift and what a treasure. I pray to never be separated from Him, and His Church ever again.

December 02, 2008 7:24 AM  

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