Monday, 7 March 2011
Churches Built on Sand: Without the Real Presence of Christ
Now I will be the first to acknowledge that whilst I find theology fascinating, I am no theologian. My Latin is dire, and my knowledge of Greek, Hebrew etc. non-existent.
I am one of those Catholics that does enjoy reading decent Catholic books when time permits, but has to rely on the certitude of the guidance put forth (over many centuries) by Holy Mother Church.
I can only read material, understand it, meditate on it, through the prism of Orthodox Catholicism. As I'm not a theologian, it's the only way I can be sure of being on absolutely solid ground.
That's one of the reasons I get so flummoxed and bamboozled when I read of "experts" or "Catholics" who deny transubstantiation, or who try and make out the Latin Mass is "divisive." After all, the Church has always been crystal clear for centuries that the Real Presence of Our Lord (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) is an absolute cornerstone of our Faith.
Likewise, the Popes said that the Tridentine Mass was eternally valid, and many Saints went to their deaths after celebrating it, attending it or defending it. How could such a treasure trove of graces, the very Church-decreed vehicle for Catholics to witness the Last Supper and the Passion of the Cross, and to bring about the Sacred Mystery of Transubstantiation itself ever be termed "divisive?"
I know sometimes it seems like hard-headedness and even a form of false piety, but in finding solace in the simple (!) facts of Catholicism can be like finding a port in the storm, the storm being this mad world (and anyone who raises a family, runs a business and lives a life trying to make ends meet to pay the bills knows that the world can be beautiful one moment and mad the next).
Thus it is that no matter what the world throws at us, as Catholics, we always have the certitude of Our Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament.
As well as being a hopeless Theologian I am also dire when it comes to quoting from the Bible. Our Lord said He would be with us until the end of the world (yes, I'm paraphrasing) and I take solace in that. I also think that when He said that, He had a special meaning: the Blessed Sacrament.
He was leaving this world as God-made-man, but He would be staying, in a quite literal sense, in the Blessed Sacrament, that we might all visit Him, adore Him, and place our worries before Him.
Now to return to last Sunday's readings and the house on sand and the house on rock.
I couldn't help but thinking that Our Lord again had a special meaning in this parable.
Aren't the false religions of this world like the houses built on sand? Think of the Protestant churches. Within mere years of the Reformation, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were arguing and at each others' throats. Did the Disciples of Christ behave like this? The Protestants have the word of a man (they can chose which of the three here named) to be the founder of their church, to dictate their theology, their Sunday service.
We have the word of Jesus Christ, who made St Peter the very first Pope, who founded the Catholic Church, who instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass. This has not changed in 2000 years.
I do not think it was an accident that Our Lord referred to a house built on rock, for most of us know that when Christ made St Peter the first Pope and head of His Catholic Church, he said (I shall paraphrase again) 'You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.' As Catholics should know this history, we should also know that Peter means Rock.
Thus when Our Lord says build your house on rock, I believe He was reminding us that our homes, our families and our souls belong in the security, the sanctity and the surety that is His Holy Catholic Church.
Only there will we get the strength we need, in the Sacraments but most especially through the Real Presence and Holy Communion with Our Lord, to find security in this world. For as many wise men, living and dead, have said, the strength we need is not our own, but the strength of Our Lord Jesus Christ and where else can we hope to be near to Him, Body Blood Soul and Divinity but at the Altar of God?