Friday, June 01, 2007

Christ is real

1) Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are welcome!!

2) Our summer seminarian, Jim Boccabella, arrived this morning and will be here for about two months. We will introduce him this weekend at the Masses. If you get a chance, please extend to him a warm greeting of welcome!
Recently, we had an exchange of comments based on my post about chastity and St. Joseph. In it, Anon wrote the following: “I don't mean to sound combative or inconsolable, and I guess I come on to this blog site because I have some hope, but it is a tortuous mystery to me why so many people do not experience what you (i.e., Tom and Fran) describe. We're out here in large numbers. Some people can't bring themselves to pray because they have absolutely no sense that there is anyone to pray to. I know that there are no real answers to this - I say it here because this is not something one can talk to people about in regular social situations.”

Thanks very much, Anon – great comment! While I am sorry that you are experiencing the life of faith as a “tortuous mystery”, I am grateful for your openness and candor. In particular, your line, “We’re out here in large numbers”, struck me. I am aware that many people who come on this site find it difficult to relate to those who have lived or are living a devout life. One of the main reasons of having this site is to reach out to the “large numbers” who struggle with their faith and / or morals. I am passionate about this outreach because I have been among the “large numbers” at different points in my life, and others have reached out to me to help me in my faith.

We all have to start somewhere in our lives of holiness. Yes, it started when we were baptized and received the life of God within us. But, it’s when we get older that we either make the choice to follow Christ or to reject Him. For many years, I rejected the life of holiness because I was more interested in doing what I wanted to do. My choice to reject Christ constantly was probably more indirect than it was direct, but it was still a choice that I knew wasn’t right. In looking back on those years, I realize that it’s because that I really didn't know Christ. I knew about Him but I didn’t know Him. I didn’t really pray because, like so many, I had “absolutely no sense that there is anyone to pray to”.

Anon, the best thing I can say to you or anyone who is having a hard time living the Christian life is to get to know Christ. People in my life, in different ways, said the same thing to me, and it dramatically changed my life for the better. I don’t just mean to go to Christ indirectly through others or through this site (hopefully!). I mean go to Him directly. Get to know the person of Jesus Christ as you would get to know a new friend. The best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them…to be in their presence. Jesus is present on Earth in the Eucharist. He is really there in the tabernacle! He is as real in Church as your best friend is in his/her home.

Holy Mass is the best way for us to be in the presence of Christ because He comes within us during Holy Communion. You can’t get any closer than that! The next best way is to pray in the Presence of the Eucharist. You (or anyone) can make a visit to a chapel for a few minutes, or even longer – for example, we’ll have a Holy Hour tonight at St. Andrew’s from 7-8. If praying in Church is not possible, you can open up Scripture to get to know Christ; reading a chapter of one of the Gospels each day is very helpful for many people.

I truly believe with every fiber of my being that if you (or anyone) go to Christ in these ways, you will have a strong sense that there is someone there. I guarantee it. How? Because I (and so many others) have done this and experienced that Christ is there. For anyone who has tried to get to know Christ in these ways but has not experienced his presence, I would ask them to please try again. He is there. He is real. He is as real as the nose on your face. He is as real as your best friend. He is as real as anything in life.

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