The Source and Summit of Our Faith

I love the Eucharist! The older I get, the more I understand and believe in the true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It becomes clear to me as I read the Gospels that Christ gave the Apostles the power to change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. You don’t need to be a biblical scholar to see what Christ did.

One of my favorite passages about the Eucharist is the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Here you have two disciples journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They are probably both distraught and excited at the same time. They are distraught over the fact that Jesus was killed, yet they are excited about the reports of His resurrection. Along comes “some guy” and starts a discussion with them about the scriptures. They are enlightened by what he has to say and strengthened by his words. Then they all sit down and have a meal together. This “guy” “took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.” (Luke 24:30). It was then, and only then, that the eyes of these two disciples were opened to who was with them. IT WAS CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST!! It was the Mass that Christ was celebrating with these two disciples–the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. Luke stated twice in his Gospel that Jesus was only made known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist. He wanted to make it clear that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist. I am truly amazed by our Catholic tradition and I see the wisdom of the Church. The fathers of the Church didn’t just make this up. There is a scriptural basis for all of it. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and 2000 years later we hold true to the traditions Jesus implemented for us. No other Christian church can make that claim! Praise God for our Catholic faith.

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Why does the church have so many rules?

“Our dialogue and interaction with the Church is designed to help us become the-best-version-of-ourselves. It is for this reason that in every age the Church proclaims the unchanging truths of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ — the Gospel. In doing so, she invites us to a life of discipline…There are disciplines and practices that must be adhered to and abided by if we are to walk faithfully along the path of salvation, fulfill our destiny, and enjoy the happiness with which God wants to fill us. Discipline is an integral part of the adventure of salvation.” (Matthew Kelly)

 
 

We are being called to be the best that we can be. This requires us to have discipline. The Catholic Church is not an organization with rules and regulations designed to force us into Her way of thinking or to restrict us and our freedoms. The Catholic Church, in Her infinite wisdom, understands our need for discipline. The teachings, guidelines, and rules set forth by the Church are not to restrict us but to give us guidelines with which to live a life of discipline.

 
 

For example, the Church teaches that artificial contraception is not an appropriate form of family planning. Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae predicted three consequences of artificial contraception. The first consequence he sites is that it could “open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.” Marital infidelity has indeed grown and moral standards have been lowered since the use of artificial contraceptives have become widespread. He also says that “a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument of his own desires.” The proliferation of sex in movies, television shows, and even commercials indicate that our society treats women as objects. The pornography industry also indicates the degradation of women. The third consequence Paul VI stated was a fear of “this power passing into the hands of public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law.” Look at what countries like China have done. China has enacted a one child rule, enforcing it through artificial contraception and abortion. The use of artificial contraception removes from a marriage (and all relationships) discipline. You don’t need to have discipline if you remove the consequences of your actions, which is precisely what artificial contraception does. The lack of sexual discipline in our lives due to the use of artificial contraceptives has led us down a path of increased marital infidelity, reduced women to objects, and given governments the power to make moral decisions for us.

 
 

As you can see, the Church does not set forth rules and guidelines to restrict us. I believe that these rules are there to guide us and to help us have more personal discipline. The above example is probably the most well known and controversial of the Church’s recent teachings. Many people disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception. Only about 4% of Catholics actually adhere to this teaching. The Church does not want to restrict us and our freedoms. The Church is there to guide us and to help us have some self-discipline. “Christ proposes a life of discipline not for its own sake, and certainly not to stifle or control us; rather, he proposes discipline as the key to freedom.” (Matthew Kelly) There is a freedom we receive from living a disciplined life. We need to be aware of our human weakness. Our inherent weakness limits us, restricts us. Living a life of discipline will strengthen us to break free from the temptations and sins we face every day. Living our lives in a disciplined manner will not only enhance the our own lives, but it will also strengthen our society as a whole.

Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment