Have a Holy Thursday

I struggled early on after my conversion to Catholicism with whether to soldier through some of the challenges I was experiencing or whether to revert back to Anglo-Catholicism. I read whatever I could find to help understand what belief or lack of belief the Anglican martyrs held so strongly that they were willing to be tortured, burned, quartered…horrific atrocities. For most of them it came down to their disbelief in the Real Presence of God in the host and wine of the Eucharist. Many Anglicans also struggled with Marian devotions, but the central issue for most was whether and how God is…how He becomes…present physically in the host and wine. I felt convicted about the Anglican view for some time, and yet, periodically I continued to entertain conversations and prayer about the subject.

Finally, in the local grocery store one day I ran into the woman who had been my RCIA sponsor. We agreed to have lunch and, not surprisingly, the subject came up. There was the predictable back and forth, but I finally asked something like, ‘how can you believe in this?’ (I don’t remember my exact words.)

She said, ‘It’s the mystery. You have to leave room for the mystery of God’s presence.’

Well, I don’t know what it was about her words exactly, but something in me at that very moment just ‘got it.’

God is God. We aren’t.

We aren’t given to understand everything He knows with our rational minds, but we are able and are called upon to believe with our spiritual hearts.

I still don’t understand the Real Presence, but from that moment, I believed. And with that belief I was immediately awestruck with the incredible grace of this deeper relationship. Even today, it’s enormity thrusts me to my knees in praise and gratitude.

And, just one post script: more recently..a few years ago someone…maybe Bishop Barron…described how continual reception of the Real Presence changes one’s spiritual DNA. I’d go a step further to a belief that as my spiritual DNA has been altered over the last 15-20 years, my physical DNA has likely changed as well. It’s nothing I feel moved to test or prove or argue, but it’s one more of those things that I have complete faith is true.

Have a Holy Thursday and Triduum.

6 responses to “Have a Holy Thursday”

  1. I am a convert also and this was very hard for me as well. What quenched it for me for lack of a better term were three things. God in the OT set up a way He wanted to be worshiped and one of them were the four cups in the Passover meal and the sacrifice being offered to Him. Jesus being the one and only Sacrifice we have to offer to God, He had to become present in the Eucharist so we could do so.

    Another was when Jesus was explaining in Scripture that He was indeed in the Bread and Wine, those who did not believe Him, He let them go. I knew Jesus would not of done that if He meant that Holy Communion was symbolic.

    The last was, when the Corinthians were dying because they partook of it in an unworthy manner. Nothing symbolic would make someone die. When I pieced all of that together my faith begin to grow. Good post and thanks for sharing. God Bless, SR

    1. Thank you, SR, for your comments. I’ve not thought about those passages in this regard and look forward to doing so. I was just telling another friend that I love that one can study Catholic teaching all one’s life and still find new understanding and deeper appreciation for God’s love. I’ve begun following your writing and look forward to getting to know you and your faith. Many blessings on your walk this Easter. Mary Adrienne

      1. I love your writings very much. A book that helped me tremendously well there were three, Mass of the Early Christians took me to the beginning of the Church. Biblical reasons for the Catholic Faith. Helped me to understand it better. Most of all get this one. A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn. Pieced the whole thing together for me. It really took me about 10 years to get it all studied and figured out. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. We know where we are coming from, and sometimes I think converts need other converts. God Bless, and look forward to your writings. SR

  2. Thank you for these. I’ve copied them to my notes. Scott Hahn, of course, I’m familiar with. I’ll look for this book. I have benefited tremendously from Bishop Robert Barron and Word on Fire. He has his weekly homilies on the Sunday Gospel for every week going back to 2001. I just started at the beginning and am working my way all the through during my daily exercise routine…it’s a body-spirit two-fer. MA

  3. I know it is hard Mary, and takes a lot of study to get through it. I always said in my conversion that I had from Martin Luther up, but not Martin Luther back. I had to go back and get those 1500 years which took forever and am still doing it. Mass of the Early Christians helped me so much with that. That book is about what they did in Rome. When I read that book and looked at the dates, I knew then the Catholic Church was it.

    I know about those body spirit two-fers. I did them a lot as well. There is just so much to it, and coming from Protestant backgrounds sometimes it is hard to accept it all or even understand it. I felt like I had moved to an entire different country. I understood squat! I did not understand why no Bible, even what the word “homily” meant bc we always called it a “service!” LOL! My hardest thing was accepting Jesus in the Eucharist. It wasn’t Mary, the Saints, I finally got used to Mass, but Jesus in the Eucharist was a rough one for me.

    I am going to come back. I posted my conversion story somewhere and I have to go and find it. I do not know if you have read it or not. I have been away from blog for about 2 years due to taking care of my dad and am just now getting back to it.

    I want you to know Mary, if you are having difficult feelings you can always tell me. You have my email. There is nothing you can tell me that will surprise me because I had them all. Sometimes it is hard to tell a cradle Catholic how we actually feel, all the questions we have and why. Always here to listen and help if I can. God Bless, SR

  4. Thank you, SR. This is a very sweet offer and I appreciate it. Mary Adrienne

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