Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh Bishops, Shepherds, Laymen, This IS Your Faith and Heritage- Speak Boldly

'In order to free the world, prostrate in darkness and bound by numerous pagan errors, from the power of the devil who held it a wretched prisoner after the fall of our first parent, the heavenly shepherd, Christ our Lord, by his ineffable mercy, condescended to take flesh and, as a living victim, offer himself to God for us on the wood of the cross, nailing the guarantee of our redemption to the wood of the cross as a proof of his love for us. Then before returning to heaven he left on earth the Catholic Church his bride, as a new city, a holy Jerusalem, coming down from heaven without wrinkle or spot, one and holy, protected by his mighty weapons against the gates of hell. Its government he entrusted to the prince of the apostles, Peter, and his successors; they are to preserve whole and entire the teaching drawn from his lips, lest the sheep redeemed by his precious blood feed on poisonous ideas and fall back into age-old errors. This power sacred Scripture teaches us he entrusted especially to blessed Peter. For to which of the apostles but Peter did he say: "Feed my sheep." And again: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when once you have turned, strengthen your brothers." Therefore, we who occupy Peter's throne and possess power equal to his, not by our own merits but because of almighty God's inscrutable wisdom, steadfastly desire that the Christian people embrace that faith proclaimed by Christ our Lord through his apostles in a continuous and uninterrupted tradition; the faith which he promised will endure to the end of the world.'
Pope Bl. Innocent XI, 'Coelestis Pastor'

Doctor of the Church, One of Her Greatest Popes, and a Saint beloved of God

'If we knew at what time we were to depart from this world, we would be able to select a season for pleasure and another for repentance. But God, who has promised pardon to every repentant sinner, has not promised us tomorrow. Therefore we must always dread the final day, which we can never foresee. This very day is a day of truce, a day for conversion. And yet we refuse to cry over the evil we have done! Not only do we not weep for the sins we have committed, we even add to them. . . If we are, in fact, now occupied in good deeds, we should not attribute the strength with which we are doing them to ourselves. We must not count on ourselves, because even if we know what kind of person we are today, we do not know what we will be tomorrow. Nobody must rejoice in the security of their own good deeds. As long as we are still experiencing the uncertainties of this life, we do not know what end may follow. . . we must not trust in our own virtues.'
Pope St. Gregory the Great

Pope St. Gregory the Great, pray for us! Pope St. Pius X, pray for us! Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us! May God strengthen our current Shepherd, Benedict XVI, and provide for such a saintly Pope as all of you to be given to us in the future.

Words of Truth and the Creed of this Blog

'While you, my teacher, are King, most sweet and kind, you speak to me, exhilarating me, and I speak, burning with desire through being loved by Christ. You teach me to speak and to know the truth. With me you are near and make me, your unworthy slave, speak and open my mouth with these words, which are not my own.'
St. Umilta of Faenza

Saint Umilta, pray for us to the Lord our God, that through thy vast merit and gracious prayers we may receive the grace of Christ in order to proclaim Him to the nations, and His Holy Gospel. Teach us to know the wisdom of Christ, and to experience the touch of the Divine King with the same burning desire and love that you do. Despise not our petitions, but purify them and set them before the King of all that is seen and unseen, Jesus our true God. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Six Profound Truths

1) The more Truth you encounter, whether you understand it or not, it transforms you. It is an encounter with the Living Christ, who is Truth Himself. Constantly immersing yourself in all philosophy, theology, Angels, Saints, Church History, Sacred Tradition, and Sacred Scripture; swimming through all this and through all good; contemplating the richness and depth and beauty of nature; surrendering to the God who is always with you to the end of the age; loving and loving and loving Jesus Christ more and more until you are in ecstasy in His love and cannot bear any more on earth... This is the life of a Saint. This is the life of holiness that your Divine Spouse wants to give you. Allow yourself to be transformed; do not hesitate to go over your head and challenge yourself into the deepest of Catholic Truth and the deepest Love of God that we can fathom and possibly swim in. 

It will work on your soul and transform you, if you only dare to immerse yourself and not settle for the ordinary and humdrum and regular. Your burning passion and ardent, flaming, zealous love for Jesus Christ, His Sacred Heart, and His entire Person must be above and beyond the most zealous passion ever exhibited by the most ardent and sadly misguided Protestant, for you are held to a vastly and frighteningly higher standard of Grace than he is. Our Lord has said, To whom much is given, vastly much more is required; and you, dear Catholic, have been given hundreds of thousands of majestic and Heavenly finite gifts, the chief of them being the Mother of God herself, and you have one Gift of Infinite Worth: Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. You cannot possibly love Him enough for that Gift, but throw yourself into the infinite consuming fire of His love anyway. 

Remember, the honest Protestant living in simple faith, one of good will, loves Christ with such a zeal and ferocious passion because he literally has nothing else but to throw Himself on Christ as best he can after he is Baptized; he is at an absolute poverty of history, ecclesiastical shepherding and guidance, Sacramental Grace, Saintly and Angelic Intercession, and so many other good and perfect Gifts from the Father of Lights, crowned most perfectly by the Holy Eucharist.

After Holy Baptism, a Protestant's temporarily sinless and converted soul hungers for our Lord in the Eucharist and, not finding Him, is starving for the Lord and seeks Him with a passion, in a barren land with no sustenance, as in the desert of Sinai after crossing the Red Sea from Egypt, and having no Manna nor Divine Water. Make sure that you do not count the Lord's great Graces and Gifts as nothing and take them for granted: Love Him with a stronger zeal than a Protestant, and do not grow comfortable amidst the splendor and luxurious Grace of the Church; throw yourself upon Christ, utterly unite to His Passion of Love, if you aspire to His Resurrection of Glory. Embody the cry of the beloved to the Divine Lover in the Song of Songs; for this is the cry of the Blessed Virgin. As you place yourself in the Song of Songs and in that intimacy with the Divine Spouse, you are one with the Immaculate Heart of our Lady, where all the majestic stores of God's love are kept in an immense sea too deep to fathom. That sea of rushing, living water is the Holy Spirit; for she is the Seat of the Spirit.

As a hart (deer) longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?- Psalm 42 (41):1-2

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory. Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee. So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.- Psalm 63 (62):1-4

My soul languishes for thy salvation; I hope in thy word.- Psalm 119 (118):81

Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."- Gospel according to St. John 4:13-14

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb...- Apocalypse 22:1

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early.- Psalm 46 (45):4-5

'To faint away with the desire to love this great God more and more is little.'- St. Paul of the Cross

Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.- St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church

If you do this, if these are the songs of you heart, the cry of your lips; if the Holy Spirit flowing from Jesus Christ is your only thirst, I can promise you, you will lead many Protestants to the fulness of truth. Carmelite spirituality and writers can help foster this sort of Divine intimacy and love in the devout Catholic.

2) It is utterly easy to see fragmented bits of vanity that we call knowledge of God and grasp at them and clutch them to your chest, instead of following God's reach through these sacramental accidents to God Himself. It is far better to have Wisdom the Person, than to clutch at and hold fragmented bits of knowledge, themselves brought down from infinite and staggering heights to fit inside our mind. We clutch at these facts and mull them over in our minds like a child clutches a teddy bear at the doctors office, hoping that it will impart to him courage and strength, and that it will protect him, when there is a Person in the Room that is giving Him a shot to truly strengthening him. We are in the room of this world, and the True Physician, Christ Himself, is waiting to strengthen us with His own self, with the only Cure that will simultaneously purge all that is offensive and sinful within us, and strengthen us into partaking of the Divine Nature: His Sacred Blood. We must realize our weakness, the pitiable frailty of all our exalted knowledge, and realize that all of these separate ideas turn into dust in our clutching hands if we do not surrender first to Absolute Truth and Love Himself, and allow Him to assume us and our knowledge that we know with us into Himself, and so bring all into Absolute Unity and Absolute Truth. In eternity, there will not be answers, but The Answer; not truths, but The Truth; not lights to guide our journey here on earth, but earth shattering Light Himself. All questions and all answers will melt away before His Face, and God shall be all in all. Transcendence can never fit entirely inside of our minds, but must instead work on us from His own volition of Will. Let us surrender in meekness to that Will to transform us.

3) It is near utterly impossible to successfully convey epiphanic truths about God to others that God lays on your heart to express. This is what God calls me to do with my blog, among other things, but it is humbling and difficult. The moment you try to, you find there are no words to express it, it melts in your hands, as you attempt to hand it on as a gift. This is because the principle that, yet again, divine Truth is so far transcendent above our own feeble minds, and the divine Word so much more excellent than our humble communication and speech, that even when God enlightens the mind, even then apart from the generous grace of God our lowly faculties betray us. Yet God has mercy on us, and bears with us lowly creatures, vastly sinful and imperfect though we are.

4) Metaphysical, ecstatically joyful, ultimate meaning Truth, and the brief moments when in an epiphany He comes as the Divine Lover and pierces the dense fogs of this life with His Light, and (rarely) makes Himself so cogently present to our soul; all this is nothing without loving suffering endured nobly on behalf of others and on behalf of the honor of Triune God our Savior, and the practical wisdom gained through physical, practical hard work over a lifetime of laying down your life for others, such as your family. Both complement each other, and our Lord's coming to you in your innermost soul and enlightening it will not take root as a seed, sprouting unto the plant of Eternal Life, if you do not also bear His Passion and suffering in this life.

5) Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are all positively ethereal; that is, as quickly as they pop into your mind, they tend to disappear when you try to put them into action and into virtue in your life. This is not the fault of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, but rather, ourselves as receivers and the ones who apply what is received to ourselves; we need God's grace to overcome our inherent tendency to lose our grip on Reality. This loss of a grip on Reality is the heart of sin, it is the exchanging of the Real, for the phony, Truth for a lie, Heaven for Hell, God, for the idol of your own will and ego, and in the end, if you do not put a stop to it by God's grace, Reality will separate Himself from you, all Truth Beauty and Goodness will flee you, and you will collapse in on yourself into the abysmal void of nothingness that is your own soul disconnected from the Source of all Life. This is your state in Hell. Only the One who descended to the realm of the dead has gone deep enough to descend into the already crumbling mess that is your soul and hold it up until it can be fully renovated in Him.

6) God uses the times when we are most broken-down and weak to overshadow us by His Spirit and renew our minds in His Truth. Fasting works in this way, and mortification as well; and in a much smaller way but on the same principle, I find myself thinking with the most clarity of God and His grace, and life in Him, when I am most tired. I have often been praying in dark, early hours of the very, very late night, sunk into contemplative prayer and meditating on our Lord, and I find at my weakest, I am most sensitive to His still, small voice in my soul.

Just a few thoughts that came to me late last night while I was in prayer and contemplating God.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Latin Vulgate and its English Translations

One thing that I've been thinking about a lot lately is the Latin Vulgate edition of the Holy Bible. What's puzzling to me is why more Catholics don't use a translation of it as their main Bible, the one that they read from regularly; and it's also puzzling why it has seemingly lost so much of its popularity and power within the Catholic Church. The Latin Vulgate is still the official Holy Bible of the Church, and the Council of Trent declared this regarding it:

"Moreover, the same Holy Council ... ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, disputatious, sermons and expositions held as authentic, and so no one dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it."  (Fourth Session, April 8, 1546).

Yet that is exactly what we see happening all around us in the Church; scholars and laymen alike are either ignoring it, or outright rejecting it. Venerable Pope Pius XII had this to say about the Latin Vulgate in His encyclical on Sacred Scripture, Divino Afflante Spiritu:

"[The Vulgate is shown] to be free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals; so that, as the Church herself testifies and affirms, it may be quoted safely and without fear of error in disputations, in lectures and in preaching..."

So the question is this: The Latin Vulgate is the official Sacred Scripture of the Church, it is absolutely infallible with regard to faith and morals, it cannot under any pretext be rejected, it is absolutely ancient (AD 400), and has been venerated in the Church for over 1500 years... if you are a Catholic of any Rite, particularly a Catholic of the Latin Rite, how could you possibly *not* want to read from this Holy Bible and make it your own for daily use? Sacred Tradition is one of the three legs upon which Holy Mother Church stands, without adhering to it, you cannot legitimately say you are Catholic. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, the Second Council of Nicaea in AD 787, had this to say about Sacred Tradition:

"If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the church, let him be anathema."

Likewise, the Second Vatican Council complemented this and expounded upon it in this way:

"Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."- Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

It's clear that the Latin Vulgate is certainly 1500 years of Sacred Tradition, so coupled with the declarations of Trent and Pope Pius XII, the only conceivable reason that I can think of why any faithful Catholic would not make it their Bible and venerate it and be faithful to it, is if they are of a Byzantine Catholic Rite and have as part of their complementary Sacred Tradition the veneration of the Greek Septuagint and the Byzantine Greek New Testament, or some other such case in another Rite with another ancient version of Sacred Scripture. 

I know of two english translations of the Latin Vulgate available for Catholic use: the Douay-Rheims Bible, which can be found online here, and the Confraternity New Testament. Both the Douay-Rheims Bible and the Confraternity New Testament can be purchased as physical Books as well; here, and here respectively.

We have to be careful not to allow any strain of modernism to affect our Faith, our identity, and our beliefs, and so remain faithful to the one Catholic and Universal Church in all ages. Modernism is one reason why so many heterodox or heretical Catholics ignore or reject the Latin Vulgate, and instead advocate or use a Bible based on the Hebrew and Greek texts (originally a Protestant movement, by the way), and also particularly why many esteem new Greek texts for the New Testament that unorthodox scholars have pieced together contrary to the Church's steadfast teaching. I invite you to recall to mind what a wonderful Saint, St. Vincent of Lerins, said regarding what it means to be truly Catholic:

"...he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who set light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine he shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all, or contrary to that of all the saints, this, he will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, 'There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you:' as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not forthwith rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it maybe apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith."- St. Vincent of Lerins, AD 434

I would also recommend that every faithful Catholic read over this document by Pope Saint Pius X called The Oath Against Modernism. It's so important to realize who you are as a Catholic, and to realize the battle you're involved in, in today's society. May God bless you all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lenten Wisdom

"Diving head first into lent... here we go. clearing my mind and inspecting the good that has been done for those around me. The good accomplished with these hands. It is His will that has moved these hands. We all see people complaining "Where is God? Where is God?" in situations of suffering. I don't mean to sound harsh but Be Christ Yourself! (in the most non heretical way of course) If you can't find love, if you can't find peace, if you can't find help where you are, then neither can anyone else there! Who will step up and show love to another? give a sense of peace to another? Jesus will, but His hands and feet have already been pierced, given, and taken to heaven. He waits for someone who will offer themselves, their body, as a new temple in which he may dwell and continue His mission of Love. This lent is for clearing out and preparing a new temple for Christ. In this way then, this temple must be sacrificed as Christ himself was sacrificed. We cower not, we wince not, we hesitate not, and with great trust we dive into the suffering, strive for extra suffering, survive for the sake of suffering, and with ugly crosses carried with love, we suffer as a fulfillment of the words "I Love You Jesus." For Love is an Action, and wasn't a word... until the Word became flesh..and dwelt among us..So now do I dwell among the world just the same. This lent, the temple will be further swept of self to further contain Him and further let Christ be the comfort, the hope, the peace, the happiness, and the love to the world that He is through these hands.... I Inspect the good that has been done around me for others and I praise God, holding up my hands. For it is He who made these hands and this temple, oh the greatest gift I've been given, and it is He who will receive them back. He may love His world through me with my full consent, so that "Where is God?" need not be asked any longer."- Renee Shumay 

Beautiful, inspirational, wise words from someone very dear to me, meant for all of us as we approach the season of penance, self-reflection and examination of conscience. Jesus Christ our Lord has made it very clear in The Gospel according to Saint John chapter fifteen that we are His own branches to the world, His emissaries, flowers of His grace being pruned by the Father through suffering and dying for the world, and yet in that death, abounding in the fruit of the eternal weight of glory that is everlasting life. At the Cross and the burial of Christ, He may be likened to a Seed, containing within Himself Infinite Grace, Infinite Life, Infinite Glory, the Strength of His Church that she has been sustained by for two millennia now; all contained in one as dead, True Life in death. Christ the Seed of the Vine was barren and dead and rough to all appearances, and was buried in the Earth.

On the third day the Seed of the Vine sprouted forth to unfathomable glory, and from the splendor of the Resurrection, His Church grew forth as a Vine in Him; being fed by the Holy Eucharist, and watered by the Holy Spirit. As living Shoots we still shoot forth from this eternal Vine, Bone of His Bone, Flesh of His Flesh, Blood of His Blood, sharing His Divine Spirit. Still we bear about the dying of the Lord Jesus in our mortal bodies, that the Life of Jesus might be manifest as our fruit, and the weight of eternal glory in Christ may be ours through the crown of thorns and the nails. This Lent, remember that you are that tiny shoot, at the top of a two-thousand year old vine, sprouted from the Resurrection. You are reaching for the sun, the Father, and the only way to be fruitful and reach your purpose in the glory of the eternal Father, is to stay connected to your roots, the crucified Seed and its Glorious Resurrection. Accept the mortification that comes as a matter of course from being a living and organic member of this Vine, and in humbling yourself under the might hand of the Father, He will exalt you in His only-begotten Son in due time, by the vivifying, dynamic power of His Spirit. This is your inheritance. This is your mission. This is your destiny. You are the Body of Christ.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Primacy of Love

I am definitely someone who likes to think about life, about the world, and about human existence, as well as often being the quintessential bookworm regarding theology and philosophy. Very few things do I enjoy more than to crack open great works by great Catholic and Christian men, and just contemplate and absorb Truth. I pursue philosophy, theology, wisdom, and truth with a passion, and I enjoy writing about what I have discovered (hence the name of this blog :) ), and what I have mulled over in the time I have had to think about life. One conclusion that I have come to, perhaps a late discovery, fool that I am, is that even though I am attracted to ideas and to philosophy and theology, love has a major primacy over knowledge. Now you might say, 'St. Paul has taught that in 1st Corinthians 13 already, and you call that a discovery?' And you're right! I've read St. Paul's teachings on the primacy of love so many times in my life. But as I think most people discover, we're far more blind than we realize. It is only the grace of God that enlightens us to value and worth and reality, not our eyes reading information on a page. There are certain times when particular truths hit home to you in an epiphanic way, rather than simply knowing it. This is that epiphany for me: very few people in this world respond to philosophical or theological knowledge, only the love that you exhibit to them. I noticed that people who believe in God or don't believe in God, very seldom do or don't based primarily on philosophy; they do or don't believe because of what has happened to them in their lives and what love people have or have not shown them, especially people who carry the fire of belief in God and claim to represent that belief. This should be a sobering idea for us as Catholics and as Christians, both for those who have a tendency to preoccupy their mind with philosophy (as I do) and those who don't. Take someone who is just an ordinary Catholic guy going to high school XYZ in Anywhere, USA. I would virtually guarantee you that 90% of the people in your school view reality through this lens of day to day interactions between themselves and the world, both non-personal aspects of the world such as blind suffering, and personal aspects like their interaction with other people, particularly people who claim to believe in God. This carries over into college and the rest of life to some degree, too. This is the reason why so many people can say, "I barely believe in God," or, "I believe in God but Christians have never seemed real to me," and all manner of other acknowledgements and disavowals across that spectrum. Please understand that this is not an appeal to ignorance, as if philosophy and theology were somehow bad things or that we ought only to interpret reality based only on what happens to us or how people treat us. I am just noting that it is a human tendency to live life in simplicity of heart and in an appeal and a desire for love and completeness, and there is deep wisdom in this, deeper in fact than the common pride of the scholar.

This is why it is so vital for us as Catholics to heed Sacred Scripture, when it tells us that the very substance of being a Christian is being a bulwark of love, peace, and stability in a hurting world, and accepting pain and suffering in the nobility of a son or daughter of God our Father and united to Christ His Son, who is perfect peace. This is what changes the world, and this possesses a power that all intellectual pursuits will never yield. Thousands upon thousands of Christian martyrs exhibited the Spirit of God through three centuries under the Roman Empire, and the pagans who watched them wondered at the fact that they were immutable beacons of pure Life. Let us keep that spirit of the martyrs alive in ourselves, and remember that when we walk down any path of life surrounded by men and women on different paths than our own, they're not looking at the thoughts you produce or the truth you bear directly, but they view that through how you love and how authentically human you are. Christ has no hands on this earth but yours, no feet but yours, no mouth to comfort but yours. If you are part of the Body of the perfect Man, you will be perfectly, authentically human, and on your way to being perfected in love; this authentic humanity is what people hunger for.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shadows of C.S. Lewis

If there is one thing that I've learned in my time seeking God, it is the fact that nothing transcendent can ever be grasped and held mentally by us, and still retain its true form and full power to transform us lowly creatures in Christ. Take the transcendent of morality, for example. Morality is the right manner of being as exhibited by our actions, and that right manner of being is right specifically because it in harmony with the eternal Mind of God, the Word through all things, He that was made flesh by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through our formed conscience, in the tiniest whisper, our Lord tells us in a still, small voice the right path to tread, and the right manner of being. We feel it in the depth of our soul. In this way, God acts upon us, and we are not trying to grasp Him and bring Him down into our finite thoughts. The moment we try to over-think it - as many scholars and other intellectuals do - we have tried to grasp what cannot be grasped, and tried to hold what cannot be held. In doing so, we find it vaporize in our hands, because we have refused to receive and thereby be transformed. I believe that this happens more often than we realize; I believe that it occurs unfortunately any time one looks at the world or the universe and sees only the matter, only the information, only the energy, only the forces, and does not see them as windows to the Divine Nature.

The more we, in this scientific age, quantify and probe the tiniest recesses of quantum mechanics, or the highest heights of physics to the Big Bang and the milliseconds following the very beginning of the universe, the more the transcendent that we have known and felt in the depths of our soul for as long as mankind has existed vaporizes in our hands, though reality is just the same as before. It is a trap that so many brilliant minds fall into these days. We have a tendency to see simply material things alone with a non-material soul, with a mind that was made to connect with transcendent Truth, and can only understand the universe through that lense. But at the end of the day, with all knowledge of this universe that we have, and the more we know, the sum of the human mind remains between denying himself and denying the transcendent in the depths of his own soul, or embracing the God without Whom he is nothing; embracing His action upon the soul, and resisting the desire to make Him conform to our comfort and our mind. This is the destiny of mankind in the eternal purpose of God; we are capable of receiving the Divine Nature, and being transformed in the very glory and being and possessing the very life of Christ, and this transformation takes places through our Faith in Christ pulling us up, and through becoming more and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit being given to us in the dept of our soul, and manifesting Him by our actions.

I believe this is partly what C.S. Lewis meant when he stated over and over again in his masterpiece of philosophy disguising itself as children's literature, The Chronicles of Narnia, that "He's not a tame Lion, you know." He was of course referring to Aslan, the symbol he uses to convey Jesus Christ to the reader under type and shadow. Christ is not tame, He will not be quantified, He will not be measured, He will not be subjected to rigorous tests of His existence, nor be subjugated to the probing of the mind into the hidden mysteries of His eternity and transcendence. All He has permitted us to do is to accept His grace as a reality and receive His theosis, starting at the depth of our soul, and He will not stop until we are resplendent creatures, burning with the light of a thousand suns, perfect images of the glory of God, in Him. He has married Himself to His Church two-thousand years ago, and He is still married to her; anyone who is a member of her is sharing in a two-thousand year marriage, and joining in the waiting for Him to return from His long and mystical journey.

This is what makes the mystery of the Eucharist so much more astounding; Christ, who is not tame, and will not be quantified nor identified nor broken down into human logic, is called as easily and as freely as a Divine Lover running to the beloved into our midst. He has the boldness to declare that in the context of the Divine Union with Him, we need not be merely passive, merely receiving. After we receive Him, after He has joined us to Himself, we begin to be grafted into a relationship with our Lord where we participate more and more; by His constant and utterly unfathomable grace and propping up for lack of a better term, His Church offers His Sacrifice, she offers God Himself and we along with Him, back to God. No individual has the grandeur in and of himself to offer God to God and so actively participate amid the very act of receiving God; we participate in the Sacrifice of the Eucharist through the Bishop or Priest presiding, yet even a Priest, even a Bishop, is only in so Divine an office because Christ conferred the Grace upon Him to be one with Mary in a particularly astounding way. Mary is the participator in the Divine Life; it is because she is the substance of the Church and the unity of the Church that the Church collectively offers God's Sacrifice to God, and Priests, as ministers of the Church and representatives of the being and authority of Christ, unite to this offering that Mary consummated under the Cross when she stood there and offered her Son to God as Abraham offered Isaac in type and shadow. Mary is, through her own absolute and utter dependence on Christ, our only participation and only hope of participation in the Divine Nature because she alone has God as her Son, which is an intimate union and participation unfathomable to us; she alone dwelt in the substance of the Holy Trinity from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to her glorious Assumption; the Assumption is nothing more than the ultimate physical and spiritual expression of the Incarnation of God, who Assumed her over her whole life and most absolutely at the Incarnation by becoming her Son, bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh. Oh the depth and riches of the knowledge and plan of God! His ways our unfathomable. Never has it entered the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him, what He has already Assumed the Blessed Virgin into. Let us always be awestruck at His transforming Grace and Love, and let us beseech Him, Christ our God, through the prayers of His mother and all of the glorious Saints, to safely shepherd us to His eternal arms, which is the embrace of Love Himself.