Sunday, January 29, 2012

Supernatural Embrace of Christ

I have to blog about a very supernatural experience that happened to me this evening. I want to share with anyone reading that the Sacred Heart of Jesus really does reach for the weary and the lost, and truly does give them rest. Tonight I was planning to go to Adoration for the first time, even though it's fairly late at night, because my life has been so incredibly busy of late that fairly late at night is the only time I can fit it in. My local Catholic Church is pretty close to my home, which is very nice, and they have perpetual Adoration where the Adoration chapel is open 24/7, six days a week. So I go to the Church and I try to open the door only to find that it was locked for some strange reason, even though the Adoration chapel is open tonight and at the time I got to the Church. I left very disappointed after trying to door several times, because I really needed some time alone with Jesus tonight. I had been looking forward to adoring Him and sitting in His Presence, so that His Grace might fill me and strengthen me for the coming week, which I know will be difficult. Life for me has been really really hard lately, so many members of my family have died or fallen mortally ill, school has been unbelievably stressful, friends have been nowhere to be found, family lives far away, and so I needed to be filled with Grace to keep going on. Because of all of that, and because I had no idea when the next available time would present itself to go to My Eucharistic Lord again. Naturally, I left dejected. I went over to a McDonalds that was not far from the Church, and just sat there for awhile after eating dinner, and I prayed the Rosary. This is where it gets truly strange. At that specific time, into the McDonalds walks the Priest of this Church, Father Tony, who I had never seen face to face before. He's dressed all in blacks, walks past me and says hi, and eats his late dinner and reads the paper not far away from me. He stays there nearly the entire time I was at the restaurant, and even though He didn't say anything else, I take it as a sign that Christ was telling my through His Alter Christus, the One who Alone fully represent Him, that He is not turning me away from His Door. Though the Door was locked to His Eucharistic Presence and His Sacred Heart in the chapel, He overrides time and space to reach me at the precise time and place that I was present in through His Priestly Presence. Truly, one of the strangest and most wonderful events in my life on recent memory. How does Father Tony walk into the one of two McDonalds in town that I happened to be at, at the precise time I happened to be there, on the very night that I (rarely) managed to try to get to Adoration? God manifests His love in incredible and mysterious ways.

Praised be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Praised be His blessed Name. Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Holy Mother Church - Holy Mother Mary

One thing that has struck me recently is that in converting to the Catholic Church, I am doing nothing less than being grafted into the Olive Tree, Israel and the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I come into the Church, as I draw near to her, the thing I am reconciling to and uniting to is a person, not merely an institution. The Church is indefectible because of Mary; it can no more forsake its Lord than she can be separate from God, Bone of her Bone and Flesh of her Flesh. The Church is always sacred in substance and always guided by the Holy Spirit because she is its substance and dwells within all Catholics, all Deacons, all Priests, all Bishops, and in the Holy Father himself, and we all collectively in her, and all in God. All of us are members one of another, and collectively members of the Neck of the Body, and of the Head of the Body, our Lady and our Lord. It is she who I am coming home to, a loving Mother, and no other focus can ever capture the essence of what it means to become Catholic. She is everything, the entire difference, between staying Protestant and becoming Catholic; it means nothing more nor less than nestling oneself upon her breast as a newborn infant, admitting to knowing nothing and depending on her to teach you and love you, and in that maternal love showing unto you God; even as St. John the Apostle tells us is our highest mission on this earth toward one another, with her perfectly fulfilling it thus already. It is only at this profound point of being that a person can truly say that he has become one in being with Almighty God, as everyone who has ever been united to Him is thus nestled in the arms of the Virgin and hugged to her breast in that Babe, in Whom dwells all the fullness of infinity naked, cold, and helpless; become as nothing. The one from Whom all demons tremble and run and at whose hands are cast into Hell, the Consuming Fire, the Eternal Light, the Mighty God meek and approachable in the womb of the Virgin and then in her arms on her breast. This, my dear friends, is what it means to be Catholic. It means to be a member of Mary when the Almighty Judge is a Babe within her womb; hide yourself within her maternal womb in the Babe Christ, and you will find mercy and shelter, and the utmost unfathomable Love of Jesus.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Et Verbum caro factum est,
et habitavit in nobis:
et vidimus gloriam ejus,
gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre
plenum gratiƦ et veritatis.

The Spouse of the Most Holy Trinity in us, and we in her, and all fullness in Jesus Christ

"I am the Light of the World," says Our Lord. He also says, "You are the Light of the World." A city on a hill, sons and daughters of the Lord God, a pure and chaste Virgin Spouse of Christ, the Body of Christ, the continuance of His mission, heirs to Christ and those called to share in His glory and Divinity, just as He shared in our humanity. And whatever we are, we are the daughters and sons of our Blessed Mother, the Spouse of the Holy Trinity and the True Body of Christ, the Light of the World along with her Divine Son, the Beacon of Sinners and the root of the Priesthood. She, as she stood under the Life-giving Tree, whereon hung the Fruit of the Redemption of her womb, raised her hands to His blessed and holy Feet and held Him there; She, who now dwells within the body and soul of every Priest who assumes her same position with the Blessed Sacrament at every Mass; She, Theotokos, Mother of the Word, Mother of Priesthood, called God as naturally as His Mother into her womb to Assume her and in her all humanity, sinful children of Eve, into the Divine Nature. She, who through the power of the overshadowing Holy Ghost conceived within her womb He whose every moment of existence was Sacrifice; She, who every Priest imitates in whatever way they can imitate her natural Motherhood as small toddlers, who every Priest imitates at the invoking of the Holy Ghost, the Priestly call of the Words of Consecration, and the conception of Christ anew within His Church unto all ages as she subsists within the Virgin Mother with Child. All that we are, anything that we are, in imitation of Him, she is its essence.

Some thoughts on the various Rites of the Catholic Church

I will begin my very first post of my very first blog with a quote from one of my favorite Saints, Saint John of the Cross: "Mine are the heavens and  mine is the earth; mine are the people, the righteous are mine and mine are the sinners; the angels are mine and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, for Christ is mine and all for me. What then do you ask for and seek, my soul? Yours is all this, and it is all for you." This passage always comes to mind when I consider the different Rites of Liturgy and Sacramental and theological life that have come down to us through Sacred Tradition. I think it's a shame that so many Catholics of the Roman/Latin Rite don't realize the twenty-three different rich patrimonies that the Catholic Church boasts. From Anglican, to Latin, to Greek, to Coptic, to Ethiopian, to Maronite, to Ukranian, to Syrian, and to so many more, it is one of the principle gifts that the Father of Lights has counted us worthy of receiving. I am a convert from Lutheranism to the Catholic Church, and I can only speak for myself when I say that when I am Baptized and received into the Church, I am not just receiving the Latin heritage, as if that Highest Heaven was too little; I am receiving EVERYTHING, every corner of the Faith, every Rite, every Saint, every year in the two thousand that have gone by, and every good, true, and beautiful speck of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It's almost too great of a gift to fathom, and along with St. John of the Cross I say in awe of our great and wonderful God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; What then do you ask for and seek, O my soul? Yours is Christ your God, yours is the fulness of Mary His Humanity, the Virgin made Church, and all of the splendor and majesty of the entire Church subsisting within their Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Yours is the culmination and infinite point: of every Saint, every year of the two thousand, every drop of martyred blood shed, every tear wept, and the gate by which every spirit assumed through Mary into Christ and the Beatific Vision of the Most Holy Trinity; this culmination and infinite point: God the Word nailed to a Tree, the Tree of Life and the broken Rock out of which pours the fullness of the Life-Giving Spirit. Yours is the Fruit of this Blessed Tree, the Manna from Heaven, the Bread of Angels, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of God Himself and the communion with God, His Mother, and every Saint in His and her Body and Members of both. How can I fathom, then, these following words..? ...yours is all this, and it is all for you.

We praise thee, O God :
    we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee :
    the Father everlasting.