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.

Sowing (and sacrificing) seeds of Your love and mercy

My Holy Lord,

Bless me, Father, this day, and my words and actions to Your holy purpose.

It’s my sister’s birthday today. And currently she’s upset with me. When that happens, she cuts herself off from me and avoids our conversations. I think I know the most recent cause.

I sent her one of Bishop Barron’s homilies on Spiritual and Religious. She and I had had a conversation in which she had told me she really didn’t believe in Christ and Christianity; that she was “spiritual.”

Bishop Barron’s homily on this precise subject was so gentle and welcoming and clear. We can find God in all things, all places, but only in Christ are we able to enter into a personal relationship with You. Only through Christ do You call us to be You own, heirs to Your kingdom, Your adopted children, part of Your family. When we are chosen by You, all we have to do is say ‘yes,’ and believe and submit our will to Yours.

Well, Bishop Barron said it all better than I have. But the upshot upon hearing his homily was my desire to share it with my sister since it spoke to precisely the issues she and I had been discussing. It felt as though You were encouraging me to act, to evangelize Your truth to her.

Sadly, as has happened before, my words were not only rebuffed, but a rift resulted. So, I’m confused. I don’t seemed to know how to share You with others, without causing relationships to be severed.

I don’t think this is Your desire…and yet…

Maybe You want me to sow these seeds and shake up the worlds of these people You call me to evangelize. Disturb them enough that You’re able to get their attention. Maybe my relationship with each of them is the sacrifice (long or short-term) that is required to save their souls.

I pray that You bless her on her birthday today and help me to let her know that I love her, despite how troubled her feelings may be about me and You.