The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Where am I, Right Now?

In about an hour I will be going to Mass to receive the Eucharist.  Am I in a state ready to receive Our Lord?  Certainly if I take my life as a whole the obvious, undeniable conclusion is a piercing, no.  The most poignant moment in the Mass for me is the profession made before communion, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”  So much pure, unadulterated truth in that simple statement of fact.  I am not worthy by my merit for God to enter into my life in any way much less the incredible intimacy of Eucharist.

My one consolation is the reality that Eucharist is not a reward for a job well done.  It has nothing to do with my past.  It has everything to do with my future.  Can I stand before my Lord and say amen to what he has to offer me?  Can I make a sensual profession of faith that I don’t want to continue in my sinful ways and am committed to live a Christ-like life?  Am I prepared to do that?  If the answer is no, out of love for God, I must remain in the pew at communion time.  It does not mean that God loves me any less.  In fact, I believe He appreciates the honesty more.  How many view Eucharist as an entitlement?  Worse, still, how many view Eucharist with indifference?  On the other hand, if I am prepared, then how can I not receive Him?

It sounds so simple; however, the reality remains that I will receive Him knowing that as much as He has given me; as much as I want to please Him; as much as I want to model my life on the Gospel; I will sin again.  This is why Eucharist is not a reward, but rather a remedy.  This is why we should prepare ourselves for this divine medicine.  That preparation is no less than a truthful, brutally honest examination of conscience.  What is going on in my life that defiles me? Where am I, right now?  Not where have I been?  Not look at how good I’ve been or how bad I have been.  No.  Where am I, right now?  In today’s Gospel, Christ lists a host of things that come from within that defile a person.  Where am I, right now?  If the answer is that I’ve gone completely off the narrow way then part of my preparation must be asking Jesus in the sacrament of reconciliation to lovingly guide me back to the path.  I’ll still suffer the consequences of driving my life into the ditch.  Christ never promised to take those away.  And those consequences can be so very painful not only to me but to the people I hurt by my sinful actions.  It is that pain that is so great that it brings me to the brink of losing hope and sends me into a state of despair.

What gives me hope is the faith that I’ll approach Our Lord in a pretty banged up vehicle, and He will look past the dents and dings and see the real man who is someone He loves very much.  A love so deep that despite the damage he offers me everything; his body, blood, soul, and divinity.  And if Christ can love me despite my undeniable failings, I need to lose the guilt that often prevents me from loving myself.  The regret will remain, and hopefully lessons will be learned; however, regret and shame should not cause me to stop loving the temple God made me to be.  For how can I truly love others as I love myself, one of the greatest commands Our Lord gives, if do not in fact and in practice love myself?  If Christ can forgive me, who am I to think that I cannot forgive myself?   And how could I ever refuse forgiveness to another?

“I love you Jesus.  I’m terribly messed up.  Only you can save me.  I’ll do my best, and I need your help.”

That is my “amen” when I receive Our Lord, today.