Tuesday, December 21, 2010
On Sunday, my wife, my four daughters and I were received into the Church. My wife and I received the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation (something I could never achieve as a Pentecostal), and I received my first holy Communion. I was shaking like a leaf up there (literally) because of the importance of the occasion and what I knew was about to happen and was embarrassed for that, but when Father Dufner raised his hand to bless us before our confirmation I felt immediately and physically calmed down. I'm not saying it was supernatural or whatever, but it felt like it to me. Anyway that was strange and very cool. A strange salty liquid came from my eyes during the consecration which my wife later told me were tears. ;-) I pulled myself together until it was time to go forward to receive Christ. The amazing full choir started "let all mortal flesh keep silent" and I had to will my body to move like in a fog. One of those moments when time did really and actually slow down. I tried not to think too much about the gift I was receiving in the Eucharist because I thought I might not make it through. My two oldest girls who were in front of me got a blessing and walked the wrong way away from our pew and I didn't even notice! (my wife told me later) What an amazing thing to receive a gift like that! I thought I knew the way God loved us before... as in "A lot". Now I don't think I would dare try to explain the extent of it. Seeing His Body layed on an altar for me and then being invited to partake of His sacrifice was the most... sacred... thing I have ever experienced in my life. I am convinced that God's love can never be explained now. It can begin to be understood by participating in a mass, but words words will just fail. It as if every sermon on God's love I ever heard was saying "I just told you about God's love, now go to a mass and let Christ show you!" As I walked weakly back to my pew and knelt down I thought to myself that this is more than just me partaking of His sacrifice. I realized that what I was in the process of eating was going to become part of my body. (Me becoming part of His Body more properly I think) This thought drove home forcefully the idea that I was being set aside for the same sacrifice I had just witnessed, again, no words necessary, it was all there to witness. The sacrifice of the mass explains these things in what is said, but even more in what happens. Absolutely beautiful!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Louis Park, MN This December 19th, which is the fourth Sunday of Advent, I will be recieved into Christ's Church, the Catholic Church. My wife and I will both be confirmed as well. My wife Bridget is a revert so only needs confession and confirmation. I can't express my feelings about all of this properly. It is... sublime, but at the same time strange and frightening. My family is so very blessed and I thank God that He lifted the scales from our eyes to see His Church. In our meetings with our Priest, Fr. Thomas Dufner, he has often asked what questions I have for him, or pointing out some doctrine that is radically different from my Reformed past he will ask if I understand it. My reply has been "That is why I am here, I want it all". In our first meeting, he drew a picture of Luther's snow covered dunghill on a piece of paper, and gave a very good description of the crucial difference between my former religion and my new one. Is the dung (me) covered with snow (imputation) or is it changed into snow (infusion)? When the question came to Papal infallibility, I said "that is why I am here, bring it on!" I want whatever Christ has to offer, and therefore whatever his Church has, I want it! Our church is just an amazing place filled with very holy people. There will be plenty of oportunities for spiritual growth for us if we look to their example! I am reminded of Chesterton's three stages of conversion now that I am reaching the culmination of the third stage. The first is giving the Catholic Church a fair viewing, or just being objective with it. The second is a result of the first... being aware of the percieved falsehoods as well as the stunning truths of the faith, and being excited and amazed at the quantity and quality of the truths. The third I will just let Chesterton himself give: It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair. The man has exactly the same sense of having committed or compromised himself; of having been in a sense entrapped, even if he is glad to be entrapped. But for a considerable time he is not so much glad as simply terrified. It may be that this real psychological experience has been misunderstood by stupider people and is responsible for all that remains of the legend that Rome is a mere trap. But that legend misses the whole point of the psychology. It is not the Pope who has set the trap or the priests who have baited it. The whole point of the position is that the trap is simply the truth. The whole point is that the man himself has made his way towards the trap of truth, and not the trap that has run after the man. All steps except the last step he has taken eagerly on his own account, out of interest in the truth; and even the last step, or the last stage, only alarms him because it is so very true. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CONVERSION BY G. K. CHESTERTON As I prepare to take that last step, the image comes to mind of the Jewish High Priest having a rope tied around his ankle when he went in to sprinkle the mercy seat with the blood of the lamb on the day of atonement. (the rope was to pull him out if he didn't uh-hum make it out). How much more sacred and profound an event I will participate in when I finally recieve the Lord's Body and Blood in the Eucharist. I might come to mass with a rope around my ankle. Any local Twin City readers can come and celebrate with us at the 9am mass on Dec. 19. Directions in the link under the picture above.