Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We believe, Lord--Help Our Unbelief (Day 8)
The 33 Day Purity Boot Camp has giving me a lot of time to think. Think about our over sexualized culture and the pornographic mentality that is choking all virtue out of it. Pondering this has made me wonder what direction our country is going. It makes me think of the men in our church. Its made me think long and hard about my own personal journey and struggles towards heaven. It has made ponder my own brokenness and how bad it feels to let God down by sinning repeatedly over and over with the same sins. My favorite writer C.S. Lewis had this to say (and its worth quoting at length because it hit’s the nail on the head) he writes:
“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. …make some serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues. A week is not long enough. Things often go swimmingly for the first week. Try six weeks. By that time, one will have fallen back completely or even fallen lower than the point one began from, one will have discovered some truths about oneself. No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. The main thing we learn from a serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues is that we fail.”
St John puts it a little more bluntly in his first letter:
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
So there you have it. Just in case you didn’t know- we’re sinners. I would like to offer a solution to our problem. A medicine for our disease. I’m asking you to believe in a miracle. I’m asking you to believe in the Eucharist. I believe that the Eucharist is the greatest miracle that mankind has ever refused to witness.
The Catechism says in paragraph 1324 “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit’ of the Christian life…the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking."
So what does that mean? It means that we believe the Eucharist is really the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It means that we believe the Eucharist is the 2nd person of the blessed trinity. It means that we believe the Eucharist is God. It means that when we go to adoration and stare into that monstrance - we are gazing at purity Himself: JESUS. Think about this for just a second- all the hours we have looked at pornography have literally reshaped our brain and have distorted our view of women. Think about if we start staring at the Eucharist with the same daily effort that we used to stare at the computer screen. I think if we do so, He will heal our eyes, brains, and hearts. St. Josemaria Escriva recommends that you go to adoration and tell Jesus, “Domine!- ‘Lord!’ Si vis, potes me mundare.- ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ What a beautiful prayer for you to say often, with the faith of the poor leper, when there happens to you what God and you and I know may happen. You won’t have to wait long to hear the Masters reply: Volo, mundare!- ‘I will! Be made clean!’”
All right, I know what you are thinking, “You are totally bonkers crazy to believe that visiting a piece of bread will cure your porn addiction.” Well, I challenge you to prove me wrong. What other options do you have? Or if you are a Catholic you are saying to yourself right now, “well sure I believe that” or “this is nothing new to me” or “I have heard this preached a million times before.”
But I don’t think we as Catholics really believe it. What I’m suggesting is that as a church in general, we do not truly believe in the miracle that happens on the alter. We don’t truly believe in the real presence. I’m not here accusing anyone. I myself am accused. I too have walk up in the Communion Line and responded to “the Body of Christ“ with a parrot like “amen.”
The teachings about the Eucharist are what make us Catholic but they are also difficult teachings to wrap our heads around. Even the disciples found the teachings about the Eucharist a little hard to swallow (no pun intended). We see an example of this in John 6:60, “then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” I think our modern views echo that of the doubting disciples and the proof is in the pudding of our daily lives. If we as a Church really believed in the real presence of the Eucharist ¾ of Catholics wouldn’t ignore the third commandment (missing Mass on Sunday). If we as a Church really believed in the real presence of the Eucharist, 80% of Catholic’s wouldn’t use contraception. Because If we truly believed in the real presence, our lives would revolve around the mass and the mass would stop revolving around our lives. If we truly believed in the real presence of the Eucharist, our genuflections would take just a little longer. Our great amen would sound just a little greater. Our Gloria would be just a little more glorious. If we truly believed in the real presence of the Eucharist, our adoration chapels would be filled 24 hours a day. Our singing would be more joyful. Our collection plates would over-flow (my pastor told me to add that one). If we truly believed in the real presence, we would inspect ours hands after receiving- because that left over dust or partial is Jesus. Jesus will not have any more glory when he returns at the end of the world than he does as a spec of dust on your hand. So don’t wipe him on your pants. But that’s just dust right? NO we’re dust, that’s God. If we truly believed in the real presence, the Sunday line to communion would never be any longer than Saturdays line to the confessional. Point Blank if you think you’ve committed a mortal sin, you cannot receive the Eucharist until you go to confession. This is the infallible teaching of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way:
“The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."
Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of reconciliation before coming to Communion. If you don’t like that, I‘m sorry. If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about ourselves: and if we have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of our error.
Here is my point and my final solution: What we pray is what we believe is how we live. If we pray like Eucharist is really God. Then we will believe that the Eucharist is really God . Therefore we will live like the Eucharist is really God. We will be made pure. If we believe in the real presence we will become the real presence for the others around us. It starts simple, when the priest lifts up the host, say to yourself “I believe lord--help my unbelief.” God will enlighten us and will never deny us knowledge about his son. I would like to close with a quote form a Saint who truly believed in the real presence in the Eucharist. So much so, that he was willing to die for his beliefs. Ignatius of Antioch wrote this in the year 110AD on his way to be executed, "I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible."
I believe, Lord--help my unbelief!