Sunday, January 15, 2012

Demonstrative Religio

Jesus in the Eucharist is a concept, a reality that takes faith. For some, it takes so great an amount that it's too hard to believe.
"You mean to tell me, that as a Catholic priest prays over simple bread and wine, it transforms (transubstantiation) into the actual body of Christ? You believe that?"

I seem to recall a similar story when Jesus proclaimed the very same thing. Many of his followers couldn't continue the journey.

For others, it takes only a small amount of faith. That the size of a mustard seed.
For those that believe, that their Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life humbles himself under it's guise, Holy Communion serves itself as their bread and butter. The two disciples on the Emmaus trail witnessed Him, in the breaking of bread. It was when their eyes were opened to a personal relationship with Him, hearts burning within. Their conversions began.

For my husband and me, this came later. As Evangelicals, we  already understood a relationship with Jesus. We touted the adage, "It's not about religion, it's about relationship." I offer now, that this saying and concept is a bit arrogant.

Jesus established Church. He founded practices that lend to righting our hearts towards God. As we go about daily habits to care for ourselves and those we love, we also do certain things to feed our faith. Many of those religious rituals lead us into intimacy with Christ.

We don't neglect the assembly. We pray. We read the Bible. We partake in the traditions that have been handed down to us, in Word and historical deed.

I recently read in a daily devotion,  the word 'religio" is defined as, "to retie" to rebind reality together, to reconnect things so that we know as Jesus did, "I and the Father are one."

So why not believe that in Holy Communion we receive Jesus? We taste and see. We ingest Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Do we not develop relationship with one another at mealtime?

My teenage daughters and I went to a short retreat at Lifeteen Covecrest Camp in Tiger, GA this evening. We began with worship music, testimonial talks by two young adult missionaries, and followed with Eucharistic Adoration. A priest processed into the room with Jesus in the Host contained in a star like  monstrance. I always thought this a peculiar word.   I kneeled with my friend Colleen, the room darkened, lit by a charming fireplace and candles. Imagine a roomful of reverent teenagers, heads bowed, kneeling, weeping, and praying.

When I thought of the word montrance, I thought 'monster.' Surely there was some Latin root meaning that I didn't connect. Sure enough, I learned from a missionary that monstrance simply means, "To show." I whispered to Colleen, "How cool is that?" I added, "Demonstrative....manifesting."

Jesus shows himself in many ways, demonstrates mercy, forgiveness, peace, and love in a myriad of forms. I love that we can experience him in the form of The Blessed Sacrament. Does this mean I am a religious person?

Well, yes.

I am.

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