Sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and grab your Bible. This one is going to take a while to read.
1. "These Beautiful Things” This week in my book study, Full of Grace, the chapter was about Eucharist. I am going to share a few things from this chapter. It is not that I did not know these things, or that I do not remember them daily. It is in reading these Catholic practices and beliefs in black and white in such simple terms that I sat in awe as my whole Catholic identity came flooding at me. I remembered vividly my own first communion and preparation and other special days I received the Eucharist.
St. Justin Martyr gave this simple description of the Christian Liturgy in 155 A.D. I paused on this line, “When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.”
On the day well the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the Apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves…and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.
When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings the bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the Son and the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he had concluded the prayers of thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying, “Amen.”
2. “Whoever Eats of This Body…” John 6:53-59
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
3. Cannibalism?! One of my friend’s said that she was asked this question once in regard to the Eucharist. Of course she said her only response was a stunned silence. To a Catholic this sort of question can hardly be dignified with an answer. However, if, as a Catholic, you should ever find your tongue in time to give response here is what Pope Paul VI said of Transubstantion:
[the bread and wine] are no longer common bread and common drink…For beneath these appearances there is no longer what was there before but something quite different..since on the conversion of the bread and wine’s substance, or nature, into Body and Blood of Christ, nothing is left of the bread and wine but the appearances alone. Beneath these appearances Christ is present whole and entire, bodily present too, in his physical “reality,” although not in the manner in which bodies are present in a place.
This is what Catholics believe.
…Those were not such quick takes, but a blessed spiritual journey and witness to the faith.
4. “Suffer and Laugh” I am still reading about Mother Teresa in Adoration. So here is a short quote from a letter she wrote that stuck with me, “Sister Gabriella…She has learned to serve the Lord in such a way that she suffers and laughs at the same time.”
5. Sitting Pretty – Annie can sit now. It is not for long, but she improves everyday. She cannot get into this position herself. Her favorite/default position is laying on her back, grabbing her toes and rocking from side to side. To me Annie seems older than 4 1/2 months. The other kids could not sit as confidently as early. Although they did sit and walk earlier than “average.” Annie also grasps for objects very well. She is now eating rice cereal everyday. We did not start the other kids on rice cereal so early, but Annie has an interest and desire in food that the other kids never did. She grabbed my pizza one evening and tried to gum it down. She takes after her mommy. FGC ;-)
6. Reading Railroad – Andrew has been exploring reading programs for Alex. My friend told me about “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” This appealed to me because when I learned to read it was not via any elaborate or expensive phonics program like the ones advertised on the T.V. No it was simple lessons each day in my first grade class. There were no flashcards. I remember it was simple and easy. I kept looking for simple and easy reading programs for Alex. I am not ready to throw hundreds of dollars at any program. So we bought the aforementioned book. The lessons are fifteen minutes each day. We have done three lessons and so far so good. It usually takes me 5 – 15 minutes to settle Alex enough to give attention to the lesson. I will be excited to see where this little journey in reading will take us. I cannot stop Alex now, because he keeps figuring out words on his own and I think a little formal training would be beneficial.
7. Don’t ever grow up! The previous two “takes” brings me to my next. Why do these kids have to grow up? Just stay cute, little and funny forever.