Monday, September 28, 2009

Fr. Apostoli, The Beatles and the Eucharist...

Watching Fr. Apostoli this morning (love DVR) as he sits in for Fr. Groschel on Sunday Night Live. Fr. Apostoli is such a wonderful teacher. He's talking about gifts of the Holy Spirit., specifically about the gift of Understanding. He quoted St. Augustine who said, "credo ut intelligam" or "I believe in order that I may understand."

Something Fr. Apostoli said immediately brought the song "Anna" by the Beatles, to mind. Now I've not heard that song for years and years, and what do you know, *POW* there it was, in my head, like a record playing on my brother's old stereo, the song, John's voice, the guitars, Paul and George on the chorus, the whole ball of wax. (Isn't the mind something??? It's incredible~ I mean it was all there in light speed the minute Fr. Apostoli said: "So Jesus, after the crowds are walking away, turns to his apostles and says "Are you going to leave me also? As if to say, if 'you' don't believe me, 'go with them.' They don't believe and they're walking away.

When Fr. Apostoli, said, (as Jesus) "go with them" that's when the "ANNA" song burst into my brain, so loudly in my head. It's been maybe 20 years or more since I heard it, and yet,the lyrics were right there in my head and on my lips instantly. To me, it's a song that Jesus could be singing to His Bride, those in the Church who, for whatever reason, have not taken the time to "understand" the Eucharist. They are "easy prey" for those who "believe" in the bible, and can quote verses right and left with such skill, and usually some knowledge, and usually 'well meaning' but they too, DO NOT understand the CC, or her teaching on the Eucharist.

So then, these many Catholics, rather than giving Jesus a chance, 'go with them.' They 'go with the flow' of the other fish and wind up out of the One Main Life Giving River, and are 'carried away' by "false doctrines" and end up in little tributaries further and further away from the life giving source, where they were able to thrive, and end up sometimes gasping for air in water stagnant and much too shallow. That's how it is for many. I'm not bashing the good, well-meaning albeit ignorant Christians in other faith communities, who think they're doing the 'right thing.'

However, I am going to "come down hard" on the "presumptuous" dare I say "arrogant" ones who purposely lead those fish into deadly waters. St. Jerome wouldn't pull any "Truth punches" nor should we! Those 'wolves' are sadly even in the CC, teaching false doctrine in religious ed classes, as they're trying to transform the Church. It's the Culture of death. It's their hidden, but blatant agenda (Marxist or whatever else) so corrosive and lethal to the heart and souls of the innocent. The end for the cunning, crafty CINOS "Catholics in name only" (who do know better but are in defiance and rebellion to the Church, i.e. many in political office, and the "liberation theology crowd"- you know who they are) is going to tragically be far worse than for those who are sincerely thinking they're doing poor mis-guided Catholics a favor by "witnessing to them" in order to "get them saved." In their ignorance, they'll be given mercy. In radical opposition to the Church by those who do know better, it will be better for them to have a millstone tied around their necks and thrown into the sea. Better for them to have never been born. -Jesus words. (By the way, please don't use His words to purport that Jesus is therefore "pro abortion" in some cases. NOT SO.)

You come and ask me, girl,
To set you free, girl,
You say he (the more flamboyant, charismatic preacher/fellowship)
loves you more than me,
So I will set you free,
Go with him.
Go with him.

Girl, before you go now,
I want you to know, now,
That I still love you so,
But if he loves you mo',
Go with him.

All of my life,
I've been searchin' for a girl
To love me like I love you.
Oh, now.. But every girl I've ever had,
Breaks my heart and leave me sad.
What am I, what am I supposed to do. (when I've given My ALL for you)

Just one more thing, girl.
You give back your ring to me, and I will set you free,
Go with him.


Just one more thing, girl.
You give back your ring to me, and I will set you free,
Go with him.
you can go with him, girl
Go with him

Compared to the Mass, with all due respect, an excellent expository message is still only
a man's or woman's opinion of a certain bible passage, and that is NOT COMPLETE FOOD.
It was "oohs" and "ahhs" or even at times the "sham wows" (not the towel) one walked away
with after a service, that was like a chicken nugget compared to a not-so great homily but yet
still receiving Jesus in the Eucharist! No comparison. True Substantial FOOD, only a 'wow'
and a "what a great message!" Not a difficult choice. A message hardly gets one out of the
parking lot, (hard to recall 45 minutes of preaching isn't it?) let alone nourishment for a whole
week or more. But if that's all one is wanting, that's all one is seeking and all one is going to want.
To seek the deep and vastness of Truth for understanding is too hard. Too boring.
There's not enough emotional highs and those "good feelings" to 'carry on' my wayward son (daughter.)
They'll stay in this or that fellowship until they're "not being fed" any more and then 'they're off!'
Like a race horse to another church, to join another crowd with another, even better SWS,
(Sham Wow Service.)

They fall for the emotional charge, and "high" as opposed to the steady, slow process of coming to
love the Lord (in the Eucharist) as a lover gets to know the beloved. It's a SLOW PROCESS.
But SLOW isn't what the "World" understands. It's "NOW! or never" for the worldly ones.
They walk away. Only a few remain.

Truth is like a rose bud. The rose bud is beautiful, but it's not very fragrant. All of the petals are there, enclosed in the tightly wound bud, but it isn't until the bud grows, and then begins to open, that the fragrance and fullest beauty of that rose can be appreciated, and then, not just by our eyes, which is wonderful enough, but by our olfactory sense,which lets the beauty of the "truth" of the rose, enter "INTO US" and become, in a small but real way, a "part of us."

Just think, TRUTH is always 'unfolding.' We'll never fully understand the Trinity, even in Heaven, but we don't have to have complete understanding, only the "willingness" to be taught, to learn more, to grow in understanding is how we'll appreciate the Truth of the Trinity, or whatever other mystery of Truth you "think on" and ponder. We do believe, so that we may understand.

To be "bible-believing" Christians, we must do more than just 'quote scripture' and "believe" what's there on the page. Truth contains even more than the "bible" is also contained in Sacred Tradition, as the Church teaches.

What also comes to mind in those lyrics is Saint Thomas, who got the moniker, "The Doubter" by "missing a meeting." A lot happened in that meeting he didn't attend (as usually is the case,) and so because he doubted, Jesus, in His mercy, knowing that Thomas WOULD believe, took Thomas's hand saying "thrust your hand into my wound, and believe." It still took 'effort' or a "work" on the part of Thomas. It took Thomas's cooperation WITH Jesus. (Faith without works IS DEAD after all.) and Thomas beheld the holes in the hands and feet of Jesus. Yes, that "pesky chapter" JOHN 6 that was hardly ever read or spoken about or taught in any depth back in my former Evangelipentecosmentalist days that LEAPS off the pages to me now!

Now that I've sat under the teaching of traditional/orthodox believing Catholics, either in spiritual reading, or a class, and now I "taste and see"...the 'understanding' in becoming more and more 'enlightened' about the Eucharist, the Church, the Sacraments, all that Jesus gives to us, I can grasp easier, if not fully. Being in 3 different fellowships, was really a mix, a "hybrid" of what amounted to "rosebuds of Truth." Yes, we were being taught, but without much hope of real 'enlightenment.' The "ah ha" moments were sometimes there, even many times, but I would leave with still a deep hunger that wasn't being filled. Still hungry for more than a "great message." The Eucharist is ALL OF JESUS. Not a "good message" but HIM! You tell me what's more filling, eh?

Jesus, out of his great love, did prove to Thomas, just as Thomas wanted it, but it was probably a cause for some sadness on Jesus part, who'd already done everything in His power, to show His great love, mercy, forgiveness and the love of the Father. That's still how it is today. We 'follow' the Lord, or so we tell ourselves, but going further away from Him, His Church, cannot be "the way" we're to be going. Chasing after the latest fad or trendy message in a 'mega church' or 'home church' though many are filled to capacity, IS NOT unity, but American individualism run amok - a "consumer mentality" in Christianity will eventually fall flat on its face. I know. I've been there. The ROCK FELLOWSHIP we were part of fell completely apart in a matter of a few years. POOF it was gone, in one fell swoop, in a short coupe of weeks Rock Fellowship was no more. We no longer had a church to go to and it was a rude awakening for me. But not rude enough to seek out the Catholic Church, only another more 'grounded' interdenominational one. That 'mega church' has now had 3 or 4 major spits of the congregation since we left only 5 years ago. That Inter-denominational "church' founded by a good man, is basically no longer what it was 20 years ago. There's no real authority, only a 'board' which is now a whole new 'crowd' so Christianity in America, in the Protestant world is much like the movie, The Natural: "They come and they go Hobbs. They come and they go."

Some thoughts on the "just believe" crowd:

It was when Jesus told the crowd about His Body, being given as food, His Blood as drink, that if we "eat of His flesh, drink of His blood" we will have LIFE within us. The 'crowd' didn't have understanding, and they didn't 'hang around long enough to get understanding. They wanted to "just believe" (that's what most bible believing Christians say, "just believe!" and you'll be saved forever....unless you fall away, but again I digress.

So the 'crowd' who could not grasp what Jesus told them, because of the collective impertinence and maybe arrogance, or impatience, walked away. They LEFT THE LORD...their Savior. Sobering. Jesus turns to his apostles, the 12 and asks them, "Will you also leave me?" When Peter, *first Pope, leader, head, spokesman, prime minister* says "No. Where would we go?" Meaning "We've come to believe in You, there's no one else. He said "You alone have the words of eternal life." A TRUE ACT of faith.

Peter, speaking for them was saying in effect, "We've come to "BELIEVE" in You. We don't have anyone else to believe in. Jesus we trust in You." (Divine Mercy - almost 2 millennium before St. Faustina wrote her Diary.) Though he still didn't understand, Peter gave Jesus a chance because he had 'faith in Jesus' and put that 'faith into action' by his 'staying' to learn. By staying he then understood later on, at the last supper, when Jesus took the bread and said "This is my body," and took the cup of wine and said, "This is my blood." When St. Augustine said, "I believe that I may understand" it's an example of it, later on he [Peter] understood.

And so the same goes for today. We will 'stay' and learn? Will we choose to gain understanding of Truth, or will we "will to not learn" and go off continually starving ourselves while the REAL FOOD, the REAL PRESENCE surrounds us. Indeed a sobering thing to contemplate and really most tragic. To starve ourselves, in the midst of Food in abundance is tragic. The FOOD is there, but it takes faith to understand.

A work of God's grace, to be sure, but our faith working with grace. It's there, but it takes our 'willingness' to 'believe.' The FOOD, JESUS, is there, but He must be sought, for He's done all He can do. The FOOD is there, right beside us, just down the street, only it's a little bit hidden. There's no loud fan fare to announce another 'great message' perhaps, but our FOOD is there, unnoticed, small, humbly present in the tabernacle is our PERFECT FOOD, JESUS, waiting for you, waiting for me, in the little white host "given for the LIFE of the world."

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