Posts Tagged With: Communion

A Return to the Mass and Confession

 

wreathAdvent is a wonderful time to renew our commitment to God. It’s a perfect time to get back into the sacraments, establish a new tradition, or a new routine! For Catholics or Non-Catholics who currently do not attend church, this is a wonderful time to start attending Mass on a weekly basis. There are certainly a lot of reasons you may have fallen out of the habit, but there are many more, much better reasons to return to the Sacraments! Recently, I went to Confession for basically the first time and I am just ever so happy that I did. As for Mass, well, where would I be without my weekly Eucharist? If you haven’t been to Confession or Mass recently, now is the time to return.

Still not convinced? Well, the wonderful, far more eloquent folks down at National Catholic Register have assembled a wonderful little one page sheet on the how’s and why’s of returning to Mass and Confession, which you can see and print and share here: http://www.ncregister.com/images/documents/Advent_Guides.pdf

Return to the Sacraments! Come experience the Mass for the first time. You’ll never be sorry you did! This is the Year of Faith; there’s never been a better time!

 

Categories: Chasing After God, Year of Faith | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eucharist: The Real Presence of Christ

 

Who was it that told me the story? I think it was Father Bruce Neili. Saint Juliana of Liège was gazing at the moon one night, and it gave her such an intense longing for the Eucharist. That night led her, of course, to petition for the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

A longing for the Eucharist? Convert is not impressed. Convert is willing to concede that the Eucharist is the Real Presence. Sort of. Mostly. But to long for it? Why? It doesn’t taste very good. Wanting to go to Mass seemed perfectly reasonable, but to long specifically to take Communion seemed a little unbelievable.

That was 3 or 4 years ago. Since then, what’s changed?

When I’m sick, just as soon as I feel the tightness in the back of my throat and the sniffle in my nose, I want a bowl of hot soup. I long for it, because I know it will make me feel better. Lately, I’ve had that same longing every week. I want to receive Communion, and I long for it, like…like I long for hot soup when my body is sick. As the days go by, my soul starts to feel sickly until I long for nourishment. After receiving communion, I return to my pew feeling lighter, relieved, and so very grateful.

6 years ago, I was a bit put off when I was first introduced to the image of the pelican as a symbol of Communion. The thought of the bird striking its breast to feed its own blood to its young was macabre. At some point, it became a comfort. To think of Christ, nourishing us with His own Body and Blood. Giving strength to us by giving Himself to us.

There really aren’t words to describe the emotions involved in receiving communion. The act of kneeling and bringing to mind my sins, placing my trust in God to forgive me once more, asking for the strength to do what He asks of me, and finally receiving the Blessed Sacrament. It’s overwhelming, and emotional and so very fulfilling. More and more often, I find myself kneeling back at my pew after communion, just overflowing with such gratitude and appreciation for this gift.

Again, what changed? How did I go from “Totally not the Real Presence” to “I guess you might be right” to “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world!”

I suppose conversion doesn’t end at confirmation, and I don’t think it ever will end. I’ll probably continue to turn slowly toward God for the rest of my life. It was hard to become a Catholic, I mean, seriously, mind-numbingly hard. I was raised my whole life to believe that these people were horribly and unforgivably wrong; that they believed a bunch of ridiculous, ritualistic mumbo-jumbo. I heard and believed every ugly thing I ever heard about the Catholic Church. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be joining the church, I would have laughed in your face.

It all came down to a tiny seed that somehow planted itself inside me. It started as a curiosity, an appreciation for the beauty, but it turned into something else the moment I went to my first Mass. It became a pull, a tug, and a constant reassurance that if I just followed along, it would all make sense. “Seeing is believing? No! Believe and I’ll show you!” the voice in my heart whispered. I had to let go of the idea that everything had to pass my test of authenticity; I had to submit myself to the authority of the Magisterium.

Isn’t that the nature of faith? Sometimes it’s a leap into the unknown, but more often, I think it’s just following, learning to submit, and receiving graces every step of the way.

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else, What the Catholic Church Teaches | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pro Multis: For All or For Many?

Can you believe it’s almost been a year since we started the new translation of the Mass? “And with your spirit!” I was so distressed when we first began because I had just gotten the hang of the old translation. I even had the creed down by heart. Now, I’m pretty much in step with the new translation, but I couldn’t say the creed to save my life! I keep meaning to sit down with it and go over it one bite at a time, but, well,….I haven’t!

I’m so very glad for the new translation. It has given us a far more robust liturgy and forced us to think about the words we are saying instead of just going on autopilot. For your pleasure, some highlights of the new translation and my scattered thoughts on them.

Mea Culpa!

Quite possibly my favorite change of the Mass is the Penitential Rite. For those of you who don’t know/don’t remember, it went from this…

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

To the much more penitential…

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

It’s like the most divine poetry! “I have greatly sinned!….through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!” {exclamation points added at the full discretion of the convert} Far, far better than “I have sinned through my own fault,” don’t you think? However, when one ponders the original latin…

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátæ Maríæ semper Vírgini, beáto Michǽli Archángelo, beáto Ioánni Baptístæ, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Páulo, ómnibus Sanctis, et vobis, fratres: quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo, et ópere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Virginem, beátum Michǽlem Archángelum, beátum Ioánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Páulum, omnes Sanctos, et vos, fratres, oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.

…one does have to wonder if the original translators were phoning it in the day they translated “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa” to “my bad.”

The same logic must have applied when translating “Et cum spiritu tuo” to “Right back atcha.”

I’m Not Worthy!

In Communion, there’s just something about “Behold the Lamb of God!” It demands our attention so much more urgently than merely stating “This is the Lamb of God.” Behold! Look! See! This is the one who takes away the sins of the world! Drop what you’re doing and behold! Also, saying “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” doesn’t quite inspire the same kind of deep contemplation as “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.” My dwelling place is not worthy of Your presence and yet You have chosen to make me Your dwelling place? Lord, I’m not worthy! But in a word, He can heal, not only this broken, disposable body of mine, but my eternal soul. In a word! I’m not worthy, Lord!

For All or For Many?

I’ve gotten carried away, I’m afraid, and nearly forgotten why I started this post in the first place. Perseverance is about to pay off for you, dear reader, because you’ve just read an inexcusably long introduction to a much better post!

One of the changes in the mass that has stood out to me like a sore thumb is during the Consecration of the Eucharist. Of course, I could have done some research, or even just, I don’t know, read one of the many guides to the new translation of the Mass I bought/was given. Instead, I just waited around until the ever insightful Dr. Taylor Marshall proactively explained it all.

I am, of course, referring to the change from this…

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.  It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.  Do this in memory of me.

…to this…

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. 

Specifically the change from “for all” to “for many.” Dr. Marshall, as always, goes into great detail on his blog. The difference is chilling, even a year later.

It’s not “for all,” it’s “for many.” All won’t be saved. We must testify, we must pray for the souls of those who reject Christ. It’s only a difference of a single word, but there is an endless chasm between the two.

 

Categories: Chasing After God, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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