Archives for January 2006

“By the Shape of You”

While meditating on the topic of this post, a sweet memory from several years ago came to mind. My my oldest son must have been 4 or 5 years old and wasn’t feeling too well. He had laid down on our bed to take a nap. I think it must have been supper time or something, because I went in to wake him up to see if he wanted to try to eat.

I didn’t say anything, but I sat on the bed next to him. I could only make out a vague lump of kid huddled under the covers and couldn’t tell if he was awake or asleep. He let me know he was awake by speaking.

“Hello, daddy.” he said.

“Hey, sweetie, are you feeling better?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Good. How did you know it was me? I didn’t say anything.”

By the shape of you, daddy.” he said.

It was too dark for him to see my features and he never heard my voice, but he knew me instantly by the dim silhouette in the darkened room. He could do this because of our daily contact and interaction. When you’re that age, daddy ranks right up there with Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear, so you can spot him right away, even in the dark.

Jesus said that His sheep would know his voice. In the beginning of my wading out into Catholic waters I was urged forward mainly by reading and listening. I read the Church Fathers, Church documents, apologetics and theology and, from my experience with Jesus in the Scriptures and in my life, heard His voice there. The same happened many times when I listened to teachers, apologists and Catholics I asked questions of. I’m very thankful for and believe God has used all of the above.

I can’t, however, say that I ultimately read and reasoned my way completely into the Church. There was something else. It’s admittedly very subjective and I don’t really write it here as an apologetic for the unconvinced. This is more a statement for those who either are where I am or have been where I am. This is a statement of encouragement, communion and solidarity.

I have to honestly say that one thing had as much or more to do with my decision to join the Catholic Church than anything I read or heard: being in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

There was very little middle ground for me on the whole “Real Presence” thing. It was one of my strongest objections to the Catholic faith back in my anti-Catholic days. I saw it as rank idolatry to take a thing made my the hands of man, bow to it and call it “my Lord and my God.” Upon further reflection, I realized that the actions of St. Thomas when the Lord showed him His wounds would have been the same if Jesus hadn’t been God.

There is a palatable difference for me in place where the Lord is in the Tabernacle or exposed in a Monstrance. Again, this is subjective, but I have to admit that this awareness came as a great surprise to me. The first time I visited an adoration chapel, I left that place with the definite impression of having been in the company of Someone bigger than myself.

As time went on, and I started to attend Mass and share experiences with other “convert”, “revert” and “cradle” Catholics, the Real Presence of Christ became more and more evident and real to me. I went from saying “rank idolatry” to saying “holy, holy, holy” and joining St. Thomas in his exclamation: “my Lord and my God!”

Even behind the accidents of bread and wine and the Zwinglian hang-over of my early theological training, I knew the Lord was there. I had known Him for years through the Spirit and the Word and I could see Him there now due to the gracious gift of Faith. Even in the darkened room of the limits of human perception, I knew he was there by the shape of Him.

If You’re Not Busy…

If you’re not busy, please join us tonight at 9:00PM EST for an online voice/text discussion about Christian Unity. We will be having this discussion on the Paltalk Network, in our “Catholic Building Bridges: Sane Ecumenical Dialog” room. For more information click here.

Octave of Christian Unity

First of all, we would like to invite you to join us in prayer during the Octave of Christian Unity. It starts tomorrow, January 18, and ends on January 25. Check out the link above for more information on the Octave, including history and prayers.

We also to invite you join us in the “Catholics Building Bridges” PalTalk room tomorrow, January 18, at 9 p.m Eastern for an event to celebrate the begining of this week of prayer:

…we are hoping to have some frank discussion about ecumenism, especially the postmodern kind of ecumenism, which is much different than the ‘meld all churches into one bland church’ 20th century mainline Protestant model of (failed) ecumenism. Bring your questions and concerns, and if you are into old-school 20th century ecumenism, that’s ok too. Also, we will end with a Compline (Night Prayer) service. This event will likely be recorded for a future podcast.

For those unfamiliar with the voice/chat paltalk system: Go to Paltalk.com, download paltalk messenger, sign up for a nickname, and look for our room.

Even if you can’t make the event, please join us in praying that we would all be one.

“Enough with the Sheed already!”

I guess you’ll just have to endure this plague of Frank Sheed quotes until I finish The Church and I. This is from Chapter 5 “AND REMEMBER THE INQUISITION!”

Having done no reading on the subject since my boyhood in my grandparent’s very Protestant house, I still assumed that the stories of heretic-burning were a pack of lies. Some Protestants, I knew, had been burned by Catholics, but I comforted myself with the thought (which I saw no need to document) that Protestants did worse things to us. But all this was extravagantly beside the point. What others did was a matter of their conscience; our concern is with what we did. Beating one’s own breast can be of great spiritual value, beating other people’s is of none.

I think there’s more than an ounce of cure in that paragraph…especially the last few lines.

Well, the next chapter probably won’t be as relevant to the subject matter here (“I LOSE MY AWE OF BISHOPS”) so this may be the last Frank Sheed I subject you to for a while.

“Lessons and Carols”: The Morning After

Just wanted to offer a quick comment or two about the goings on during our celebration in the “Catholics Building Bridges” room on Paltalk last night. If you were one of the 15 or so who attended, please feel free to comment with your own assessment.

Two words were used by more than one participant to describe the evening: nice and peaceful. How often can you say that about a public religious chat room?

It was very nice just to hear the Word of God read aloud and be able to reflect on the readings while listening to on-topic music. People were also able to ask questions about the various carols as we played them. It was both worshipful and educational.

When we were finished there seemed to be a general consensus that we had “been to church” in a sense. Christ was present in His Word, in the praise and in His people.

Looking forward to the next one.

We Need to Cook Just a Little Longer….

This blog has not yet made its official debut. This is why I have been the only one posting so far. We have yet to invite everyone who may be interested, and we have yet to work out the content guidelines for posting here. I am sure the content guidelines will be similar to the Ancient and Future Catholics page: show respect, no teaching contrary to the Catholic faith, always include Eastern viewpoints/practices, etc, etc.

You are encouraged to link over here if you wish, but just know that what you see now is rudimentary and may change!

Lessons and Carols

While this blog has yet to formally debut, some folks may work their way over here through various ways. If you do, please join us for a Lessons and Carols celebration, as we joyously gather on the 12th night of Christmas. The celebration is on January 5th at 9:00 PM EST. We are meeting on the “Catholics Building Bridges” room on the Paltalk voice/chat forum, available for download at paltalk.com.

Please join us! We will be using the paltalk forum (a kind of virtual gathering place/conference center) as a place for future podcasts (details coming soon…)

Addition: for more information and upcoming events related to our Paltalk room, check out Catholics Building Bridges Room Events and Guidelines

Introducing…

This is the all-new Ancient and Future Catholics group blog. We hope to have multiple contributors posting regularly about theological issues, which includes any postmodern issue or concern that Catholic theology may address. Similar to our home page (www.ancient-future.net), we include other Christians in our endeavors, especially Orthodox Christians, members of Churches the Catholic Church recognizes as true particular Churches. Enjoy.