In general, when folks talk about giving up something for Lent, it tends to be a vice or vanity. The television goes off in our house, as do the game systems. We become more mindful of our sweets. And this is when my parent’s home becomes particularly popular – they do not come from a faith tradition that observes the Lenten liturgical season, and so we allow the kids to take a Lenten reprieve when there.
In Lenten seasons past, I tried to set aside more time for prayer and meditation – time to draw closer to God. And I probably should have done the same again this year. Time is at more of a premium these days than it ever has been before – regular prayer time being limited to meals, boyhood bedtime, and Mass – and setting aside that time would have meant all the more. But I decided against it, looking instead to improve on some inner-discipline. Part of me has guilt – I’ve backslidden in my spirituality! – and part of me shrugs and says I’m just at a different place in life than I was in years past. The latter is certainly true. The former … I’m always ready to believe that’s true if someone wants to deliver a spiritual 2×4 to the back of my head to make the point.
This year I identified a sin in my life that has been a particular plague upon my soul, and I decided I would suffer it no more except through perseverance. And so, after talking with my wife, that is what I set out to do.
I wonder what Jesus had in mind when he said, “My yoke is easy. My burden is light.” Perseverance in goodness does not at all feel that way. And the perseverance itself begs questions of the whole experience – why this moment of hell? Why not end it by giving over and getting on with more important and interesting matters? What good fruit comes from this mortification? What is the end of this mean estate that I suffer?
Honestly, I don’t know that there’s a satisfying answer. All there is … is that I believe in Jesus. And Jesus suffered all to conquer all so that I might join with Him in all that I am and to share all that He has attained. And so, I give myself over to the good so that Jesus prevails in me and I in Him.
But that isn’t satisfying. It is poetic. It is beautiful. But my sin speaks so much more eloquently to me. “Take, revel, and return when you want more.” The Lord’s Supper isn’t so hedonistic. “Take and eat. Take and drink. Do this in memory of me.” He didn’t ask to be laid aside until we approach His table again. And growing up in a culture where the former is supreme and the latter is viewed as a form of insanity … it makes holding to the latter in fullness and earnestness difficult.
I’m glad to say that I fared fairly well, though admittedly not perfectly. And my precious wife has bore with my struggling – and at times irritable – spirit with the grace and love that called me to marry her. As for TV and games and sweets – we probably did the worst there. First of all because we didn’t do it as a family. I wasn’t willing to give up TV this Lent. I’m a jerk. And the kids would have gone nuts if they lost both TV and sweets. I think next year, though, we will give it up as a family. We should bear our children’s burdens if we are going to place it on them. It’s wrong to do otherwise. And, for giving up the TV, we still did a lot of TV viewing this year – it’s just really hard with 3 boys to keep them from killing each other when trying to clean, pay bills, budget, cook, etc etc etc.
During my Lenten Reconciliation, I confessed my sin, the struggles surrounding my sin, my desire to do away with it. And for now, while I cannot escape the near occasion of this sin, I feel cleansed of it – a first in a very long time.
I confess to Almighty God
And to you, my brothers and sisters,
That I have sinned of 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. Amen
Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee,
and I detest all my sin because of thy just judgment,
but most of all because they offend thee, my God,
Who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to sin no more
and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
I went on a retreat last weekend. I left my wife at home with a sick baby boy who basically was at the beginning of a week of the runs. I’d call myself a jerk, but the whole thing was largely her idea. I even was okay with bailing on my refundable payment – but she more or less insisted I go ( … but remember, it was more or less … there was still room for me to bail if I really wanted to).
But I didn’t want to. I wanted to go. I wanted to see if (a) this retreat was worth all the hype I’ve heard and (b) if it could do anything for the spiritual slump I’ve been in for a year plus some.
As to the hype, I can see why there’s the hype. It’s a good retreat, especially for young adults who may be slightly wayward. A number of presenters shared their “wayward” stories – some particularly brutal and hard – and spoke to the awesome power, insight, peace, and struggle of redemption and orthodoxy.
As to soothing the pain of my spiritual slump and perhaps lifting the haze of malaise, I can say that it has brought to light a number of areas in my life that are probably contributing to my paralyzingly mute dissatisfaction. It’s given me some hope in that I have areas I can now firmly address. Among those are (1) I realize now I’ve been bringing work home much more often than I’ve been heretofore aware and (2) I realize that not being among folks who need to share their faith and life makes me pretty much miserable spiritually.
I didn’t learn a whole lot from the talks in themselves. In fact, the first point (bringing work home) I learned during Confession (crazy, huh? but it once again affirms – CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR YOU). The second point I learned from introspection about why I was enjoying myeslf so much during the retreat. No one told me, “You know, Spencer, you’re liking this retreat because we’re sharing with you and you with us.” It was something I became aware of during the mix of it all.
Probably my biggest beef with the weekend (and it’s actually somewhat small, though it has given me a lot to think about) was something I felt was missing. As I kind of summed it up in my survey of the weekend, I wanted a story about “Beaver Cleaver living the life of Captain Saint in a real way that relates to Larry Flint(sic).” (I only now remember that it’s Flynt, with a y.)
A number of the presenters told the rough and tumble stories of their lives – that of a life given to selfishness, gluttony, and near-despair. It’s amazing the tremendous amount of shit (and I only use the profane because, indeed, aspects of their stories in honest and earnest are the very essence of profane) folks go through in order to stand before you and claim Christ as their savior.
And while I appreciate those stories (indeed, they cause much rejoicing, allelujah!!), they present a kind of problem for people who have had incomparable life experiences. On the one hand, we’re all happy that we didn’t have to live that life. On the other hand, we now feel like we’re missing something in our life experience that validates why we’re standing with these people, claiming the same things. It feels like they are claiming something more … or claiming more profoundly.
As a teenager (and even to some extent a young adult), I had two knee jerk reactions to the feelings these stories evoked in me. It caused me to want to play the bad boy and/or re-work the stories of my past experiences so they felt more like the bad boy stories. Both of these reactions are wrong-headed and contrary to the desires the owner of those stories have for us. But when all you hear are stories of shit to redemption, it begins to fuel an inference, even if subconsciously, that you can’t really own your faith, your redemption without the shit.
But I believe there are stories about those who are and have, by and large, always been upright and good, who rescue those mired in the wastelands of sin and despair – and they need to be told . Understanding those stories would go a long way in helping those of us who have treaded only the borderlands of sin and despair our purpose, our ability, and our worth.
The other problem I’m left with is my relationship with these folks – those crawling by the nail-grip out of the wasteland of sin and into a new life. (ooo … I LIKE that description. It’s an original.) The worst that can be said of my life is that I’m a bad boy wanna-be. I’ve done a few things that have hurt people badly, but I haven’t done anything that ruined my or anyone else’s life. I’ve not lived in sin where the many people I become involved with are at risk of harm. Nor should I need to, nor do the bad boys in good faith want me to. But what do I have to offer them? How do I relate to them?
This problem I think I’m coming towards an answer, but I’ve yet to get a full grasp on it. But I’m thinking here of Christ’s death march to Golgotha. More than I can ever know and understand, these folks are working on a real Golgotha path.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that that their sins are forgiven, but all the same, putting the sins to death in the flesh is a very different matter – we all know this. Sins get a hold in our flesh, our flesh craves and wants, and temptation, it seems, always abounds – to be technical, concupiscence. As Christ destroys those sins before the Father on the cross, we must destroy those sins before the Father in our flesh – again, to be technical, sanctification.
Jesus didn’t walk in agony to the cross alone. He had fellow sufferers: His Mother, Simon, Veronica, the women of Jerusalem. And that is what we’re called to be to each other. I can’t stop the pain and agony of desire and temptation in someone else anymore than Mary, Simon, and the other women could stop Jesus’s crucifixion. But I can suffer with them. I can be with them. I can help shoulder that cross, though that cross is their’s all the same. I can wipe their brow, though they have a longer journey yet to go.
This is something so simple that it’s easy to dismiss or overlook, but the depth of its Truth and Love is infinite. We enter into the mystery of Christ when we emulate the good things of Jesus for His sake. Not only do we show true love, true faith, true devotion … but we enter into the very mission of His existence: to be witness to God and His infinite Love. We are in those moments very much Christians – little Christs.
So, yeah, good weekend. Lots of very positive things to think on and begin doing. You could say that I’m feeling spiritually happy, which I’m not sure I could really say for a long, long time. For those of you who have been praying, thanks.
In highschool I played in the marching and symphonic bands. I had a pretty good time, I learned a lot, and I thought after moving on into college that it would just fade into a memory. What I didn’t expect was the recurring dreams.
I’m always in my seat. I’m always watching my director. And it’s just … perfect. I’m happy; everyone is trying to pull together; and what we do is beautiful and powerful.
The dream isn’t always exactly the same … but that since of perfection, overcoming odds (we played always a bit beyond our reach, and generally did it well), and happiness is always there.
And I’ve never had anything that has captured that same … community … since. And that is why I think I have had the recurring dreams since that time. And I think it is a large part of why I’m so damn depressed.
What we did there was perfect ourselves against odds for each other and the beauty of it all … a small image of what we should be doing in our spiritual lives.
I’ve just not had anything so well defined and so … intent in common, good purpose since then. And I think I would. In fact, I think that’s what is missing … or maybe it’s what I need to get over. It’d be sad though if the latter were true.
Funny this … it comes a year after my last crisis of faith.
For me, there are few places I retreat … places where there is no sin … places where there is only beauty, that watermark of God’s Divine Being and Perfection. My parents showed me nature – mountains, streams, woods, animals – and taught me music. I didn’t realize any of this until tonight while listening to U2.
The song You Can’t Make It On Your Own climaxes with the following lyrics:
Can you hear me when I Sing,
You’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why
The opera is in me…
It’s really sweet lyrically and musically because the entire song is about the strife and tension between Bono and his father, but here … this is the first affirmation … non-accusal … a heart felt thank you. This is the place that Bono’s father has shown Bono where there is no sin … the place that Bono cannot escape the love his father … the place where Bono ever knows that he is indebted to his father and so cannot ever leave his father alone.
Beauty is not to be horded: it is meant in its being to be shared. So it is that in a world where there is sin, it is not enough that we may be satisified in the pursuit to attaining to merely not sinning – to believe otherwise is the mistake (and sin) of the scribes and Pharisees. If it were only and ever about not sinning, God would not need to manifest Himself as part of the world … because God’s perfection by definition is undeniable. So if God makes Himself part of the world to be known undeniably by the world, then there has to more to it than just demonstrating His Perfection.
And what it is, is Love: to take the beauty you know, inside and out, to others. To merely not sin is to make a person’s concern beyond himself, at first glance, unimportant. But what it truly means to not sin is to love and love unconditionally. And when you love, you don’t love selectively and partially. You don’t go through the motions to fulfill a requirement. You don’t hold back, keeping some beauty for yourself or keeping beauty from some others. You give it all up … in your home … in the grocery store … at work … where angels fear to tread … the very heart of the den of your enemies … on a cross … because that’s the only cure to sin – to love it out, to take beauty everywhere as you can. Without fear, without hesitation, without doubt, you go, you share … you say, “Yes,” against the odds … in hopes that people will accept that cure and in turn begin themselves to love. It is necessary to have the hope that each and every person can truly, freely say,”Yes,” or else love, again, loses its meaning.
Christ’s invitation to and atonement on the cross is not offered for a few. As much as He is the All in All, He offers His All to all … or else it’s meaningless … Love is something a good deal smaller and finite than what I believe it to be.
And so, I find myself, wondering how and why I got from Bono, to love, to sin, to salvation. And what it is, is this: I’ve been missing what it means to love … to love as Christ/God loves. I have until now thought of “loving” as something I do to others … but it’s more organic than that. Bono’s father loved Bono and so took him to the opera. My parents loved me and so took me into nature. God loved us, breathed on us, walked before our eyes, touched us, healed us, died for our freedom, and has never hence stopped talking to our hearts and to our lives through silent words and the love in the lives of His lovers. If I am to love, it’s not something I do to someone else. It’s being unselfish in who I am … showing beauty … taking people to places in the world where there is no sin … telling them the story about a path to a cross whose beauty knows no equal … learning what it is I have to give … and giving it.
Dear Lord, show me what I have to give.
Shortly after the election last year, the Sage posted a message on the politics of Jesus entitled A King Without a Quarter.
It’s worth reading for yourself, but to summarize it briefly so you can get through the rest of this post, it asserted that Jesus was social not political. Not particularly mind blowing, but at the time when people were using religion as a means of divinely selecting a political party, it was important. There were a few other discussions on AYOR that surrounded it – especially the war – that made this whole thing particularly gut wrenching for me, but eventually I put it out of mind and got on with my life.
That was until after New Years this year. I can’t remember what prompted it, but I started to think about this essay again. The agitation and aggrevation that it caused in me earlier started to surface violently. Wouldn’t Jesus go to war? Don’t we have a just and righteous cause? …and that essay came screaming back at me: no, He wouldn’t. People are too precious to be sacrificed for causes and politics – the dealings of men. People are to be ministered to as we can – to be led to righteousness through Jesus and, in that, salvation.
What’s worse is that in all of this I found myself as a cog in the great war machine. The things I have worked on have motivated and aided the current war effort. And at the time I had nothing but pride for my work – blinded by the fact that my work, right or wrong, was justifying the death of some other human, some soul in need of redemption.
Now, I’m no commander-in-chief. The burden of what has happened is not directly upon me. Nor is the salvation of others my burden to bear directly. But my consent and participation makes me party to any soul who may be in hell right now because of my passive agreement to take their life in this time. If salvation is a communal affair… then our failure in these matters are also a burden upon us.
How am I to respond to this? What does this mean to me?
I then thought of – as I often do – the story of the rich young man. The rich young man approached Jesus asking how to find eternal life. Jesus said to obey the commandments of the Law, and the young man answered that he has kept the commandments since his youth. Then Jesus told the youn man to sell everything and follow after him, at which point the rich young man walked away dismayed because he owned a great many things.
I am a rich young man. I do my best to keep the commandments, and I have a great many things – much more by the standards of the whole world. And before I ever say that these things are of my doing, I acknowledge God’s blessing and providence in all my opportunities. I have no home – it is His before it is mine – and I gladly give it up when I should be called.
But now I find myself in a world of cognitive dissonance. I have a job under Caesar, for Caesar – an occupation of politics and not service to all mankind. The nature of how I came by these jobs is nothing short of God’s providence I do believe. They each came unexpectedly, easily, and most providentially. …but, in a world of guns, bombs, and wars… I’m working in some manner against the Gospel – against the ministry of Jesus, against seeking and saving souls.
And now, after having finished school, when my family is looking for some breathing space… I’m considering moving once again into something new… to possibly throw our lives once more into some kind of stress… I think they deserve more than that: some time to me, some time to peace, some time of stability.
The hardest part of all this for me personally, I’ve dealt with now. The hardest part was that, as far as I was concerned up until the beginning of this year, my current job is my dream job: simulation – games. And now I’m thinking of giving it up. Every thing that I had done to prepare myself for the real-world was for this specific kind of job, and now I’m going another way. It hurts. It’s disappointing. Yet it’s frightfully emancipating. It’s dying to myself and, hopefully, rising once more in Christ.
I don’t know what’s to come. As I told Sage, I think “it”, whatever “it” may be, is coming. I see two possibilities before me at the moment. I probably should look into them instead of letting them slip past me, and that’s the rub, right? If “it” is coming, you would think it would hit you over the head like a two-by-four, but I’m not certain God works so obviously – He certainly hasn’t so far in things such as these, though I see His hand guiding me in the choices I’ve had and, in part, the decisions I have made. For every opportunity I’ve had to lead me here, I’ve had other options. I think my choices, however poor, God has worked toward the clarity I have right now. And the funniest thing is that it’s not a clarity of action but a clarity of purpose. …I think, in general, we’d all prefer the former over the latter – it certainly makes things easier.
Now I wait, standing on the brink of a coming time, to more fully join the revolution of revolutions – to more properly join in and live for my Lord in pursuit of each fellow man. I pray for patience, I pray for wisdom, I pray an open heart, and above all, I pray that not my will but Yours be done. Amen.
If in trying to find meaning, today is without any, then why should any of the others? I ask because today felt like a pretty meaningless day.
Whatever meaning there is, we should be able to relate to it at any given moment. Perhaps it is just the soft silhouette of a setting sun upon my childhood, but I seem to remember a time when I knew why all things were special yet reasons were unneeded.
It seems to me our hallowed souls have been harrowed hollow by the wisdom of the age. We know instinctively that there is something to draw us awake from our sleep, to put one foot in front of the other, and continue on with the trappings of life … yet when we ask ourselves what that is, the resounding echo of a faithless soul is too familiar and near overwhelming. For some, the words of faith come to us by rote and litany – as empty as that may seem, I can take comfort that there is at least that much.
It all makes the lyrics terrifyingly familiar:
There’s not time for hatred
what is love?
where is happiness?
what is life?
where is peace?
When will I find the strength
to bring me release?
Where is the love
in what your prophet has said?
Man it sounds to me
just like a prison for the walking damned.
Well I’ve got a message for and your twisted head!
You better turn around and kiss your hope goodbye
to life eternal
Individuality gives way to hedonism and self righteousness. Corporate identity gives way to thoughtless anonymity and slothfulness. Surely there is a middle way.
I think I’ve lost taste for mere ideas. I want to see the example I seek living before me. And I pray I’ll be found willing to follow.
I bought a CD of gregorian chant a while back. This hymn has always been my favorite on the CD. So, I decided to find what the lyrics were (Latin runs together to my untrained ear) and mean. Given the nature of my conversion, the fruit of my search gave me much encouragement and reassurance.
Pange, lingua, gloriosi Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
Corporis mysterium, of His flesh the mystery sing;
Sanguinisque pretiosi, of the Blood, all price exceeding,
quem in mundi pretium shed by our immortal King,
fructus ventris generosi destined, for the world's redemption,
Rex effudit Gentium. from a noble womb to spring.
Nobis datus, nobis natus Of a pure and spotless Virgin
ex intacta Virgine, born for us on earth below,
et in mundo conversatus, He, as Man, with man conversing,
sparso verbi semine, stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
sui moras incolatus then He closed in solemn order
miro clausit ordine. wondrously His life of woe.
In supremae nocte coenae On the night of that Last Supper,
recumbens cum fratribus seated with His chosen band,
observata lege plene He the Pascal victim eating,
cibis in legalibus, first fulfills the Law's command;
cibum turbae duodenae then as Food to His Apostles
se dat suis manibus. gives Himself with His own hand.
Verbum caro, panem verum Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
verbo carnem efficit: by His word to Flesh He turns;
fitque sanguis Christi merum, wine into His Blood He changes;
et si sensus deficit, what though sense no change discerns?
ad firmandum cor sincerum Only be the heart in earnest,
sola fides sufficit. faith her lesson quickly learns.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum Down in adoration falling,
veneremur cernui: Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
et antiquum documentum Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
novo cedat ritui: newer rites of grace prevail;
praestet fides supplementum faith for all defects supplying,
sensuum defectui. where the feeble senses fail.
Genitori, Genitoque To the everlasting Father,
laus et jubilatio, and the Son who reigns on high,
salus, honor, virtus quoque with the Holy Ghost proceeding
sit et benedictio: forth from Each eternally,
procedenti ab utroque be salvation, honor, blessing,
compar sit laudatio. might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluja. Amen. Alleluia.
Malaise rhymes with Mayonaise, but it’s nowhere near as sweet. In fact, quite opposite.
With Mayonaise, I can enjoy a ham/turkey/meat sandwhich, banana sandwhich, peanut butter banana sandwhich (I know, it sounds gross), cole slaw (yes, I like it), potato salad … ok, that’s the short list. OH! and I get to lick the knife or spoon or whatever other utensil I use to spread it with.
Malaise … is like a mild form of depression. You don’t particularly feel down; you most definitely don’t feel up; you aren’t frustrated, you aren’t relaxed … you’re just stuck … kinda glad you’re not on the negative side of things … but not really. Just about anything would be better than this. If things were down, you could fight it. If things were up, you’d try to keep it going. The malaise … well … you could try to fight it … but you don’t know how because you don’t know what’s causing it … and things aren’t exactly wrong … just a sense of … not-right-ness.
Malaise is not apathy. It’s just a loss of direction – a compass without a needle.
Malaise is where I’ve been since some time in the middle of Lent. My malaise has a taste of wanderlust in it … but I don’t think it’ll go anywhere. I’ve had that wanderlust nigh 2 years now. I can’t do whatever it is I need to do to get out of the funk … and, even if I could, I don’t know what I would do. I tried to do the Deacon thing; Lisa stopped me short (and I don’t blame here in the least). I tried working different ministries at the ol’ parish. I always get the feeling home needs me more, so those things have kinda fizzled. Small groups have more or less been a bust. Soooooooo … I’ve tried a number of things to try to vanquish the malaise … but here I am. So either it’s “not my time” or I’ve not found “whatever it is”.
So … malaise. It’s where I’m at, and I’d like out. My failure rate is starting to become inversely proportional to my desire to “try” … maybe if I don’t try, it’ll better my odds of getting out? … sounds kinda defeatist. oi, but this is just the malaise all over.
This a bleg.
Pray for my family and for me. Especially as the week draws to a close.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been living with a sense that life isn’t quite right. To further give myself time for prayer and discernment on the matter, I signed myself up for a silent retreat.
Specifically, if you have the time, I would appreciate prayers for the following:
- that I leave my household this weekend in as much good order as I can, to minimize stress on my wife and children during my absence.
- patience and peace in my household during my absence. With an almost-three year old in the house, this prayer is pretty much welcomed anytime, anyways.
- that I am prepared mentally and spiritually for this weekend. I know I’m pretty much not, and that’s probably as prepared as I’m going to get … but maybe a few nuggets of wisdom might fall across my path to give me other points of meditation for the week.
- that my time is fruitful. That whatever it is I’m seeking and/or is my calling, I find or, at the least, come closer to it. Furthermore, I’m seeking to discern two things: changing jobs and another matter that in many ways could be life changing for everyone around me and close to me. Namely, I want to be certain that my selfishness and pride are in check, that I’m acting wisely, that I’m not letting fear hamper me, and that I am above all being a faithful follower.
- lastly, and above all, that my wife and I are communicating openly and freely. we both believe we are, but fear, uncertainty, and doubt are sneaky enemies. they creep in and lay down their claws all the while telling you it is nothing until you realize they mean very much to you. I enjoy a great openness with my wife, one I offer many praises for, and I hope and pray that it continues.
Thank you, and God bless.
I’ve got Andy Peterson up on the play list, and it’s Come, Lord Jesus. Man… talk about evoking emotions and thoughts… it might behoove you to listen to this song as you read this post… wait for “oh well there’s a burning down inside of me”…
Foremost in my mind are the times when I’ve met the Lord – when I knew He was present to me – around me and in me.
The one I’m remembering now was on my night of homecoming to the Catholic Church. The whole night stands out like a mystic story – something too fantastic to be real. Oddly enough, while receiving our Lord in the Eucharist along side my fellow sojourners stands out as a pivotal point from that night, it’s not the highlight that I remember. The highlight came before when I was presented to be Confirmed. To my right was a boy not much older than 7 or 8 – an age that I recognized as the time I started on my own journey with the Lord.
As we walked up to the altar, I was a little taken back yet overjoyed to see this child. I said to him, “Happy Easter.” And he answered, “Yes it is!!!” with the excitement normally reserved for Christmas in his eyes. And He said something like, “Are you receiving Jesus, too?” And I remember smiling ear to ear more than what I said, but I suppose I answered, “Yes, I am. How about you?” And he answered, “Yes! He is coming into my heart, and later I’m meeting him in Communion!!!” The joy this child showed really humbled me and gave me the emotional grounding I was needing for the night. I’ll never forget him, and I have no idea what his name is – but I think of him as a messenger of Jesus to me.
I know where that boy was in his heart –
he was in the Spirit and with our Lord.
What an exciting time! What a thing to share!
How fortunate I was to be in his presence!
How fortunate I was to be brought into His presence by him!
The other time was recently at the Eucharist. As a convert, you often wonder: “Am I believing in this as I should be?” God knows I want to, that I pray – at times feverishly – for something more than just a trust and an act, that I try to see what I want to believe is there – what our forefathers say is there. Perhaps it is a foolish endeavor – a work and not obedience.
This time I went to receive and as I took His flesh into my mouth, I prayed, “I eat the flesh of the Lord.” And I felt overcome. And I thanked Him. And then as I received His blood into my mouth, I prayed, “I gulp down His blood.” And I felt reassurance. And again I thanked Him. Perhaps not every time you receive something you are to feel, but the few times you do, you cherish them. They are personal. And I have cherished and reflected on that experience a fair bit lately. I now try to remember saying that particular prayer now as I receive Communion. With a guilty conscience, I’ll admit part of it is a hope to find again that confidence of presence and reassurance, but also because it was in that prayer that He gave another glimpse into His presence around me and in me. And I’ve been looking for that lately. That and where He’s leading me.
Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.