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Charla Sacraments

Do You Believe in Magic?

magic
Magic is defined by inexplicability and the seeming impossible is possible. Mystery is the unknowable. One of the aspects of Catholicism that enthralls me the most is the inexplicability and the inability to know aspects of the basic tenets of our faith. I am a figurative thinker, concrete concepts are dull to me; they offer no challenge, no thought, and no trust. I like not being able to wrap my mind around the mysteries of what I believe. I love to try to decipher and ponder and wonder. My Catholic faith requires this of me, and for this I am grateful and, more than anything else, I am fulfilled.
We all have immortal souls; there is a part of our being that cannot be seen, cannot be touched, and will live forever. As Catholics, we believe that when our physical bodies no longer function in what we understand as life, a life beyond that measure is impending. We also believe in beings that exist without bodies, and God has placed them in our midst. We believe there are angels who watch over us and help us through a battle of unseen, yet seen, good versus evil. angel
We believe in a God who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. We have an innate desire to revere and worship this higher being as our creator, hence our father. A father who loves us and who can control all aspects of our lives if He wanted, however, He chooses to let us have free will.
Many religions share these particularities, but the Sacraments are what set us apart. The Sacraments are the epitome of mystery and magic. We believe that physical water can cleanse a soul of the stain of Original Sin. We revere the body and blood of Christ in the guise of physical bread and wine. I find myself staring at the monstrance during Adoration and my eyes see what is not really there physically. Oil begets graces within our souls as we are Confirmed in the Faith. We believe in the forever romance of matrimony; two people are joined in God’s eyes forever, and Holy Orders bestows further graces. Anointing of the Sick has amazing results; I have watched my grandmother recover from her death bed three times after receiving this Sacrament. The Sacraments are powerful and proof of the magic within the Catholic faith. eucharistic-miracle-vilakkannoor-5
Most of all, we believe that God sent his only son to earth to save us and suffer for our sins. This man performed miracles and was raised from the dead and ascended into a realm we call Heaven, a place we believe to be perfect peace. To be Catholic means believing without seeing. There are mysteries galore in what we believe. There is no way to prove any of it tangibly, and I appreciate that aspect. The true magic of Catholicism is that we have faith and we never need to prove any of it. “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.” Saint Augustine

Categories
Splendid Sundays

Spendid Sundays – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

You can find today’s readings here.

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40
Psalm: Psalm 33
2nd Reading: Romans 8:14-17
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

Today we celebrate our Lord’s existence in the Most Holy Trinity. The Truth of the Trinity is one of the most difficult mysteries of our faith to understand. Some non-Catholic Bible believing faiths argue that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct and separate persons, which is much easier for our human brains to grab a hold of. However, to understand how three persons can be distinct, yet the same One Holy God… well, we have nothing on Earth that quite replicates this Truth, so we accept it on faith. We take this Truth on faith so much, that it’s not explicitly spelled out in the pages of Sacred Scripture, but we can see where it is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is clearest in Holy Mother Church’s Sacred Tradition.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Trinity as, “The mystery of one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The revealed truth of the Holy Trinity is at the very root of the Church’s living faith as expressed in the Creed. The mystery of the Trinity in itself is inaccessible to the human mind and is the object of faith only because it was revealed by Jesus Christ, the divine Son of the eternal Father.”

It is by this Holy Trinity we are saved and can delight in life eternal in Heaven. God, the Father created us, created our souls and bodies. The Son, died for our sins and reopened the gates of Heaven so that we can gain salvation. We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, and are sanctified through uniting our suffering to Christ’s suffering and through keeping our Lord’s commandments.

It is simply wondrous that after 2,000 years, the truth of the Trinity has been protected and handed down, generation by generation, such that so many Christians today can properly believe in God. The doctrine of the Trinity is a testament to the Holy Spirit protected truths taught by Holy Mother Church.

 

Categories
Doctrine Emily Faith Formation Ink Slingers

It’s a MYSTERY…

Think back to when we were kids – waaayyy back for some of us {{cough, cough… ahem}} – and try to remember what the word “mystery” used to mean to you.  The word conjures up feelings of secret passwords and dark hallways, hidden images and underlying meanings… oooooh and those who were clever enough to figure things out felt like we were transported into a new dimension of knowledge!

Now as adults the word “mystery” just doesn’t feel the same.  So many of our childhood mysteries have been solved.  The hidden images are blatant and the underlying meanings that once brought us to tears now feel pedantic to discuss.  We wash away the thoughts and feelings that made our hearts and minds swoon only to fill them with the answers, as if we were filling in a scan-tron on a standardized test.  We’ve turned the pursuit of knowledge into a race to the finish line – and now that we’ve all earned our medals we can’t quite figure out what all the fuss was about.

But mysteries are a huge part of our Catholic Faith.   How do we view these mysteries as Catholic adults?  Do we look on them with childlike wonder?… Or do our eyes glaze over with boredom?  When people ask us questions about our faith do we try to have all the answers?

One of the central mysteries of our faith is the Trinity

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

 In fact, the Catechism speaks beautifully on this mystery of our faith:

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith.” The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.”

Wow… that’s pretty intense.

In my free time (HAAAAHAHAHA!) I participate in a small faith group at my parish.  We are using a program called “Why Catholic?”, which, like many other great programs that are out there, helps guide us through different discussions in the faith.  This particular program goes through the Catechism in different sections.

Our group is made up of several moms with kids at the Catholic school, as well as our principal and vice principal… about 10 of us in all. We’re pretty diverse – wide age range, kids in various grades, very different backgrounds, and I find it really interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives and individual thoughts on each topic.

Lately we’ve been discussing the Trinity and how we address God in prayer.  We were surprised at our unique views.  The principal, who is the eldest in our group, said she mostly invokes the Holy Spirit in prayer.  One mother in the group was raised in France and was taught by nuns – she, on the other hand, was never comfortable addressing God as the Holy Spirit – this side of the Trinity was just not familiar to her, so she mostly called upon God the father.  Another mother in the group was raised protestant and was most comfortable speaking to Jesus in plain language – formal prayers are more challenging for her to truly connect to God through.  And there were also those of us (including myself) who rarely saw God as a single one of His Persons… to me, they are always the three-in-one.

Really, there’s no “right” answer.  Of course, God is always His Triune Self, no matter how we, as individuals, tend to encounter Him.

And the Catechism goes on to discuss…

The Trinity is One.

The divine persons are really distinct from one another.

The divine persons are relative to one another.

… all of which should completely negate each other… and yet, simply are.  What a BEAUTIFUL mystery to ponder!!

The MYSTERY of the Trinity is just so extremely beautiful.  As we wait in hope to encounter the Incarnation of Christ during this season of Advent, it’s always nice to take some time to meditate on some of the rich mysteries of our beautiful faith.