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!
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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.

24 Comments:

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God Christ is real. In our dark days and thoughts that fill our mind we have to go to our Lord. and when we dont spend time with him is when things get complicated and our own thoughts take over and we can become so filled with anxious thoughts. Then we pray and the Holy Spirit reaches to us through pray to turn our thoughts to Christ and to reach out for help .We cant breathe without loving Christ we cant even exsist without Him. He is everything.Through our worries we see we need him more then ever.And we turn and find a friend in Fr. GReg and others who love the Lord. Its amazing and very powerful!!!!

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok- say you spend time with Him and that seems to make things more comlicated. And what if you don't even know who to turn to? What then?

 
At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Ok- say you spend time with Him and that seems to make things more comlicated. And what if you don't even know who to turn to? What then?


Then you find someone to talk to like Fr. Greg or Fr. Mike or someone. Last summer I started reading the blog, it was late July... it was early August before I ever made a post but before that I started going to adoration when I could and after I went a couple of times I asked a question on here that was half really seaking something and half trying to play "bait the priest" (sorry FG)I was a little ticked off at the time both at the church and at God. Fr. Greg didn't rise to the bait, infact he totally cought me off gaurd when he opened his door to me, I actually asked him if he was for real.

The more time I spent going to adoration, then back to going to mass and just spending time in His presence things calmed down. At first it was crazy it seemed like my emotional state was turned upsidedown and I was not the 'stable' person I had been so for a while it was really complicated and seemed like it was getting worse. Things have (obviously) calmed down. What I have found though is if you ignore everyone else at adoration and you focus on HIM and you just let it all out what ever it is and sit back clear your mind of whatever stuff is going on and look at HIM... things change in you. Before stumbling on the blog and coming to SAA I hadnt really ever gone to adoration I thought it was something only 'wierdos' or 'religius nuts' did. Now, well I'm the 'wierdo' and I am happy to be a 'wierdo'.

If you are at SAA, I encourage you to find some time to talk to one of our priests or if not then another priest they can help you work through some things. You aren't alone, all of us at some time or another have probably been there... or are there. Please don't think you are alone or that there is no one to turn to.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really can make things more complicated. If you have gone along for years with no thought of God and then decide you want to probe it, you can destabilize yourself and your life. It's disorienting. What devout people are talking about is another reality. It really is. Some people can really cross the threshold from unbelief to Christ but for some the journey takes them into an existential fog that can be worse than how life was before.

 
At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

It really can make things more complicated. If you have gone along for years with no thought of God and then decide you want to probe it, you can destabilize yourself and your life.


Yes you can, but in the end the overall stabalizing force that is God is worth more then the initial destablization of self as a new self is formed within the context of God and faith.

The problem with existentialism is that it is a self focused idea and one can belive in an existential philosophy or one can believe in God but God can't really be reconciled with the existential philosphy because that philosphy places too much on the individual self which creates the problem to begin with. Much if not all of existential philosophy places "self" in the role of God, so can 2 things take up the God slot in ones life without creating conflict and confusion? No. If one can put aside the idea of 'self first' it is easier to come to belief and faith in God because then you don't have something filling up that 'God slot' in your life. And when I say putting aside ones self I don't mean losing who you are but rather, putting aside the "me me me" drive that is promoted in this day and age.

 
At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't mean that a person adopts some sort of an existential view, just that meditating and seeking God can make you feel like you're losing your grip on the concrete world that you have always known, and not finding anything else to act as an anchor. I think I used the word existential wrong. My point is that sometimes I wish I never asked who Jesus is because I was managing life better before I did.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Not nessisaraly.

Example, about 2 weeks after I went to confession back in September some stuff at SAA happend and coupled with the absolute hurricane going on in my own self I almost dropped everything and ran away from the church. I had some of FGs books and some stuff I had put together for him and left them with a note in the sacristy one day before adoration, I fully intended to run and never go back to SAA again because I wanted to go back to my "normal sane life with no waves" because I was managing before just fine without GOd and Church. I truly almost gave up Church and God and stopped meeting with FG because it was "too much". In the end though it wasn't and the waves subsided... it will calm down it may not seem like it will right now but the storm will pass they always do.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat-
So a calm self will come? Without being too dramatic, it's hard to keep my head above water.

 
At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Anonymous 3:54 p.m. wrote, ". . .meditating and seeking God can make you feel like you're losing your grip on the concrete world that you have always known, and not finding anything else to act as an anchor."

Anon, I think some of what you're experiencing is a function of the secularism of our culture. In many Catholic countries at one time, signs of the supernatural were interwoven into everyday life so that they seemed perfectly comfortable and familiar - churches with crosses and bells that sounded the hours, statues of angels and saints were set up on street corners and market entrances. People crossed themselves in public, and prayed aloud, spoke of God and of holy things in everyday circumstances.

But that is not how things are today in modern Western culture. So the transition can be tough. For this among other reasons, many Catholics include in their homes pictures and statues of Jesus, Mary, the angels and the saints. They also carry small images or cards with holy pictures that they may look at (discretely)wherever they are. A picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary slipped into your Day-Timer, or a tiny crucifix on your workstation tucked next to your computer monitor where only your can see it . . . these things can make a difference.

God bless you!

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

It will come, I am confident of it. I myself am not quite there yet totally but I have moments where there is peace, and gradually those moments have become more frequent and they stay around longer and longer.

 
At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something is wrong with me. The past few times I've gone to Adoration, all I do is cry. I can't tell you exactly why, but I'm not going back until I can be in control of myself- it's distracting.

 
At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

That is when you need adoration the most. I spent months crying at adoration, and bawled my eyes out before mothers day. Christ understands, I understand, FG understands and I am sure everyone else does to. If anyone is distracted by it, maybe it is out of concern and love for you.

Christ wants to spend time with you and wants you to come to adoration, trust me he doesnt care if you are like I was for a few months... a weepy mess. he loves you and wants to be with you, just let yourself be with him just as you are... you arn't hiding yourself from God by not coming to adoration, he sees everything including all your pain no matter wehre you are. It is easier to give it over to him when you are in his presence and can see him in the Eucharist at adoration... it is that tangable aspect.

Christ loves you and wants you there, FG loves you and wants you there, We all love you and want you there no matter if you have a grin on your face or if you go through 3 boxes of tissues in that hour.

 
At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

And another thing, if you need to talk... let me know, I am always an ear and you are never imposing.

 
At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kat-
thanks!

 
At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is the most wonderful thing I've found in the past year. I don't write, but I read at least twice a day and I find solace and inspiration in the words written herein. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger fran said...

There is a great Christian song titled "I Can Only Imagine," by the group Mercy Me. The lyrics describe a variety of emotions one might feel upon reaching heaven and walking side by side with Jesus.
Since Jesus is truly present during Adoration, and the experience so exquisite, tears seem most appropriate.

 
At 2:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's ironic that you mention that particular song, as I recently used is as a background piece for something that was rather important to me. I applied it to a pictorial about a time in life when children explore and discover themselves in the presence of Christ.

 
At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Dreaming about Jesus in the Eucharist said...

Getting to know Jesus can be done in baby steps. Some of us fall in love with Him over and over again.

Many think we need to try to be more religious and try to follow rules. We are all on a different path - one that is hopefully leading us to know Jesus better.

Anon- who thinks time with Jesus makes things more complicated. Yes it may. Yet that is a good sign. Jesus is always calling us to conversion - CHANGE! It is all good although it might feel complicated at first.

I had a beautiful dream that I was standing in front of the Eucharist. The Eucharist was very large and I was drawn to it with great intensity. I could see people in my life (family & friends) near the Eucharist. In my dream Christ seemed to say keep looking at me, do not turn away from Me in times of worry, confusion, sorrow, busyness, anger, hurt. The dream was overpowering.

Crying during adoration. A beautiful gift. I weep during most of Mass and always in the presence of the Eucharist. Cleansing, healing tears because His love overwhelms me.

 
At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I could ay my tears were the kind you speak of, but that's not it. I've made such a mess of so many things and I don't seem to stop myself from repeating that process in my life. Mostly I sit there to ask why- Why am I like this? Why don't I know what to do? Why can't I make changes in my life? Why do I feel so different from everyone else? Why do I feel like I have to try so hard in everything and still never have it feel like it's good enough? Why don't people like me? Why can't I let anyone get near me without imploding? Why don't I ever see what's right in front of my face? Why am I so foolish in so many things? And it goes on.....

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Anon (6.31pm). I hope you find some help soon. Maybe it is not as simple as confession. Maybe you are feeling depressed? I hope you can see what even the one next step could be, and not worry about whether there is a mountain ahead. All the best. Margaret

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"wish I could say my tears were the kind you speak of, but that's not it. I've made such a mess of so many things and I don't seem to stop myself from repeating that process in my life. Mostly I sit there to ask why- Why am I like this? Why don't I know what to do? Why can't I make changes in my life? Why do I feel so different from everyone else? Why do I feel like I have to try so hard in everything and still never have it feel like it's good enough? Why don't people like me? Why can't I let anyone get near me without imploding? Why don't I ever see what's right in front of my face? Why am I so foolish in so many things? And it goes on..... "

Anon, my tears are not always cleansing tears. For a long time (and some times still) the tears are tears filled with grief, sorrow and regret.

It is hard when our mind races, but Jesus speaks to us in the silence.

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kiwi-
I don't know a lot about depression, but I've always thought some sense of hopelessness to be involved in that. I'm not hopeless nor am I always sad. There are just times, usually when I feel I'm in a safe place that it all comes out. In fact, I'm not really a cryer, but lately....I've cried enough to drown myself. Depression really never occured to me.

 
At 3:27 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Anon(7.16am)- I am not any kind of expert, but I wonder if you need to talk about your sadness and crying with someone. Writing about it on a blog may help somewhat.... but it is not the same as some real human face-to-face help.

 
At 5:13 AM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Fr Greg,
Thanks for this post. I am one of the "large numbers" mentioned. I need to hear believers say what faith really means to them... I am listening out for their words. And you gave those words strongly in this post.
I can't quite get myself to Mass. But I did sit in the church again this weekend. And after reading your encouragement... I really did try to talk to Jesus about what he seems like to me... what he might be wanting from me. And it seemed like there was some compassion on the other end.
Margaret

 

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