The Catholic Jesus
I guess I’ve been touching on so many other issues that I haven’t really had time to talk about my experience of Jesus as a Catholic.
1. God With Us
The Real Presence has shaped my experience. When I walk into Church, I expect Jesus to be there, when I see the candle at the side of the tabernacle, I know God is with us. I feel the reverence and the sanctity when i enter for Church. I behold the Lamb of God weekly, and it has made me more devout in my walk. I feel I take Christ even more seriously than I did as a radically devout Charismatic. God’s Spirit is in the mass, and He has filled me with good things, but at the very first, he has taught me to be silent, to be sober.
God with us, it shapes my daily expectation, to join in with my heart in adoration for all the masses being said worldwide. To contemplate the incarnation, as it happens right before me, it makes the Church truly an echo of Mary, for every week, every day she makes present to us the incarnate Lord. To be able to see the Lamb which John preached, and to apprehend God with my senses, it’s baffling. But more so, I am apprehended by Him, by the peace He brings, and by the light which He alone can give.
2. A Jesus for All Ages
This Jesus is not MY Jesus, He is the Lord of the Church. He’s my Lord, but he’s not my fabrication. My experience happens with all others. My experience at Church isn’t to isolate me, it’s to bring me into worship and communion with others.
As a Charismatic, I love that my experience now has a place in the universal expression of Christianity. I am with the entire communion of the saints in worship, in adoration, and in prayers. We all have a common experience, it’s diverse, but we know we share in the same bread, and therefore are the one Body. This Jesus is not just about my today, or what the pastor says, he is about yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is truly a Jesus who was, in the history of the Church and the Jesus who is present to us today, and the Jesus who shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
The feast days for saints are reflections on this Jesus continuing to work in history, the feasts for Him remind us both of His life, and His Resurrection and ascension. The gospel daily reminds us that He shall come again.
3. The Family-Maker
Jesus is not just in the business of saving souls, he is in the work of creating families. This Jesus is drawing an entire church into His presence. He has set me in a broader context. I commune with Him and His people. He has established a large and welcoming family, whose merit is Him alone. He is the merit by which men are saved and He is the grace which He bestows. He is the One who shall reconcile all things to Himself, both things in heaven and on earth.
He has given me a family, a mother, Mary, who I can behold, and contemplate and remember. She was and is the most perfect disciple of them all, and we should all seek to emulate her life. He has given me an earthly pastor, the apostolic office of Pope Benedict XVI, and before him Pope John Paul II to lead and to guide, to preach and proclaim. He has given me priests and bishops, prophets, and evangelists, teachers and speakers, miracle workers, charismatics, laymen and laywomen, an entire communion of saints, and most especially my girlfriend and my sponsor. He has given me a family, and a home; He has given me Himself by inviting me to dine with Him in Rome.