Catholic Girl Journey

One Step on the Journey

Image at Nashville CathedralIt was a very special occasion. Besides his attire, he looked no different than you or I. But he has been marked by God. As for me, it was all chance (or God’s design) that I happen to be there. If it hadn’t been for the announcement prior to the celebration, I would have never known.

Work had brought me to Tennessee, so I extended my trip to see a bit of Nashville, scheduling in Mass at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. I was excited to see what would be different. That’s one of the fun things about going to Mass when traveling, each church does things just a bit differently. Sometimes it’s the music and sometimes it’s the way you’re greeted or a special prayer that is said before Mass starts. I had no idea it would be such a special celebration. It was the first Sunday Mass of Father Andrew Bulso and only  the second in his ministry. He had been ordained just the Friday before.

Beautiful. Both the Mass and cathedral. I think what amazed me most, is that just three days prior, Fr. Bulso did not possess the ability that he had that day, to say Mass and to consecrate bread and wine into the Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the imposition of hands and the anointing by the bishop, Fr. Bulso had become a priest marked by God. The priesthood is a gift Jesus gave the Church to continue His mission of bringing the kingdom of God to us. Although it was not my parish, it reminded me that tomorrow’s priests come from our church family of today. We may not know who they will be, but they are among us.

Holy Orders confers an indelible mark on the soul; it cannot be seen, but it changes the individual. While the preparation for the ordination does take years of study, it is a moment in time that changes the person. Much like the Last Supper for the Apostles, the time spent learning at the feet of Jesus prepared them for that night when He instituted both the Eucharist and Holy Orders. Jesus gave his priests  the ability to feed His Church, both in Word and deed. It continues down to our day, as each bishop ordains the priests, who may one day become bishops and repeat the process.

There are men in our parishes and dioceses who are called to this most unique vocation. So say a prayer they will be open to God’s call. Say a prayer for those who have answered and are in formation for the priesthood. And say a prayer of thanksgiving for priests  who celebrate Mass, from their first to their 20,000th and beyond; for each one is just one step on the journey of faith.

Catholic Girl Journey

Believe

Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity … all in one, little, white wafer. This is what I believe.

As a Catholic, one of the most important beliefs is the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated host. He is truly present in both his human and divine natures. There are lots of books that can describe the belief in much greater detail, but no matter how much one learns about it, the one question remains. Do you believe?

As a college student I took a class called “Jesus: History or Myth,” and it was my first real experience where I had to ask myself what I believed. Hearing other students scoff at the notion of Jesus was shocking for a girl who spent 12 years in Catholic education. But almost more troubling were those who believed Jesus as a prophet or some sort of great person, but not as the Son of God. It was during those college years that I first began to own what I had learned as a child—Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior who died for our sins and rose again.

At Easter, we celebrate the three events that make the real presence of Jesus possible: the Last Supper, Good Friday and the Resurrection. When Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to His disciples to eat, He asked them to repeat those actions (Lk 22:19). But they would have had little meaning if He continued amongst them as He was. Those actions would have been a memorial if Jesus had only died on the cross. But Jesus rose from the dead, transforming the meaning of those actions into the bread of life. In a way, Jesus at the Last Supper took what He was going to do in the future and brought it to the disciples in that moment. At every consecration of the Eucharist since then, both the crucified and resurrected Jesus are present. Jesus, the Son of God, is the master of all time and space. How can I not trust Him to be able to perform such a miracle? Each day that miracle occurs at each Mass all around the world.

I cannot claim that I understand how it is possible. It is a mystery and defies logic. But that is what faith is about. It is believing that God so loves me, that He wants to very much be a part of me, so that by consuming the consecrated host, we are one. No, it does not make me divine, but it does bring me closer to God. It opens me up to trust in Him more each time I receive. But first, I have to believe.

Note: While this was written only speaking about the bread, the same is true for the wine at consecration. Each is considered to be fully Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.