Tuesday, March 25, 2008

An Easter Reflection

Not from me - I'm not feeling particularly reflective this year - but from Jennifer at Et Tu?, who reflects on her experience of the Eucharist since becoming a Catholic at the Easter Vigil last year.

Her initial response before her conversion was bemused disbelief ...

There was a part of me that kept hoping I'd find that it was all a misunderstanding, that Catholics were only required to believe that the consecration of the Eucharist was a really, really, really important symbolic event, that all that crazy talk about drinking blood and eating flesh was just some old fashioned superstition that us enlightened modern folks weren't required to believe. I was a lifelong atheist, after all. It was enough of a feat that I even came to believe in God in the first place. It was enough of a leap of faith for me to believe that some miracles might have happened a few times throughout history. But to ask a former militant atheist to believe that a miracle happens at every single Catholic Mass, that bread and wine are actually changed into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ despite the fact that they look exactly the same...it seemed too much to ask.
Then she moved on to intellectual acceptance ...
When I received my first Communion at Easter Vigil last year I had come to accept that the teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is true. Or, perhaps more accurately, I was willing to accept on faith that it was not false. I was undoubtedly being led to the Catholic Church, and found its defense of this teaching to be solid and compelling, so I trusted that it was true in some mysterious way, even though I didn't really get it.
And now, after a year of experiencing the Eucharist ...
This belief in and love of the Eucharist is the most surprising thing that's ever happened to me. Never in my dreams would I have thought that I could believe such an incredible, outlandish claim. On some occasions I have even taken a step back to look at it all as objectively as possible, to set everything aside and honestly ask myself if this is all in my head, if perhaps I am eating bread and drinking wine at the Mass, but that its great symbolic value has led me to put myself in a different state of mind. And all I can come up with is this:

If this is a symbol, then I am insane.

It's not Tolkien, but that's about the best I can do. The way this Sacrament has slowly transformed my soul and given me a connection to God that I never knew before, the way I could easily move myself to tears at the thought of not being able to receive it, the strength I have drawn from having this direct communion with God...if these things are not real, then nothing is.
Go and read the whole post here.

And I'm very glad she linked to the Tolkien quote, which I had forgotten about (and in any case, had never found a source for). I added part of it to my sidebar.

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