In the words of Pope Benedict: "There is nothing more beautiful than to know him and to speak to others of our friendship with him. It is beautiful and wonderful because it is truly a service to joy, to God's joy which longs to break into the world."
Operative word - JOY.
At times, I've been literally overwhelmed by Joy! It's not easy to write and put into words all the times I've had JOY flood into my heart and drench my soul, since our return to the Catholic Church. I was, for the most part, a pretty happy practicing evangelical Christian, but I didn't have the "meat" on the plate. I had a lot of tasty "side dishes" and even some yummy 'dessert' but the "protein" of His Flesh, the fullness of 'LIFE' wasn't there. For there's only One place where the full nourishment is. In the 3 different fellowships we were involved in for 26 years I did grow on partial truth, and I indeed my appetite for truth was 'whetted' in those communities. I made wonderful friends, a few I'm still in contact with via email/FB today. But I didn't have the "fullness" of Truth, the needed spiritual "protein" and I think that is what caused me to run with such fervor, for about 2 or 3 years, at each church, and then kind of 'fall flat' because I was running for the most part on a more shallow 'emotional joy' (which isn't all bad, but, like in marriage, if you're counting on the 'passion of the honeymoon' to carry you through, you're in for a real surprise!
Emotions, which are neither good nor bad but neutral, should not to be the barometer of our spiritual life. FAITH as small as a mustard seed, even in the darkest times, will always allow for a deep, profound 'sense' of JOY (even in sorrow) when lived out THROUGH our sufferings, because I believe Joy and Trust are two sides of the same coin. That was a big part of the piece that was missing in my life, as a 'joyful evangelical' Christian." I was "joyful" with a lower-case "j". As a Catholic, I'm now a more "completed" evangelical who eats of the FLESH of the Son of Man. Not morsels but a complete, satiating meal, where the "meat" of Truth, combined with the JOY of all the other Sacraments, rounds out the diet I need to run the race.
It [the Eucharist] properly understood and received makes for a Joyful Catholic Christian! It's not about the homily, the songs, the gifts He gives, the blessings that comfort, the consolations that soothe or the "high" we might feel in boistrous singing at a "praise service." It's about the REAL TRUE ABSOLUTE PRESENCE of Christ IN the EUCHARIST, the Source and Summit and Center of our Faith! Nowhere else can that "Real Presence" reside more fully and completely than in the Catholic Church. No matter what may come, no matter the hardship, no matter the pain of suffering or the smooth sailing we enjoy for a time, the Eucharist is our nourishment. 100% complete hydration and food. Pray for our priests! They give us Christ. Without holy priests, the Eucharist will cease, and many will die of starvation and sickness. No priests, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no health. Pray for our priests.
Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes.192 CCC
From First Corinthians 11 ...
- For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,
- and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
- In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
- For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
- Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 12
- A person should examine himself, 13 and so eat the bread and drink the cup.
- For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment 14 on himself.
- That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.