The Spiritual And Physical Life
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
We are called to be Disciples of Christ; but in doing this, we must accept His teachings. This is challenging in the culture we live in, but I do not believe it was any easier for His first followers. Christ said to His Apostles,“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”(John 15:5).
There are three ways to remain in Christ: personal prayer; reading and applying Sacred Scripture to your life; and receiving the sacraments. Those who live a sacramental life stay connected to the True Vine through grace. Our spiritual life corresponds to our physical life, and both need perfected with growth, strength, and food to sustain us. When we are sick we need something to bring us back to health, and our spiritual life needs regeneration too, our soul is renewed and strengthened by the sacraments.
St. Thomas Aquinas explains that it is all a great mystery, and he believed that the saints were brought together by the love of the Eucharist. He would place all his writings at the foot of the tabernacle to ask the Lord if it was written well. He wrote that the power of Christ is present in all the sacraments, but the Eucharist is truly Christ Himself, not a symbol.
From the Old Testament Passover to the Last Supper in the New Testament, it is mentioned often that Jesus sat down at table for a meal. Since the beginning of the early Church the Eucharist has been a sign of oneness, yet only 30 percent of Catholics believe in the True Presence, or the words from John 6, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (John 6:53). Now that we know the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, why is there irreverence when we are in His most Holy Presence? There is a crisis of faith if we do not understand the great Paschal Mystery unfolding during each Holy Mass we attend.
The Feast of Christ the King is Nov. 25, which is the end of the Liturgical Calendar, and ushers in the Advent Season beginning on Dec. 2. Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 as a way to bring Christ back as “King of Kings” to the secular world.
Our world and the Church certainly need a reset in our commitment of faith and Baptismal promise. Gathered together our sacramental rites are of main significance; as we engage in the prayer and ritual of the Church, we are formed as Church—the Body of Christ.
Call upon this holy witness of our Church during this time of year with a novena to St. Andrewon his feast day, Nov. 30, and continuing until Christmas Eve. Andrew was the brother of Peter and introduced Jesus to him by saying, “We have found the Messiah!” Andrew is mentioned 12 times in the New Testament most notably in John’s Gospel with the miracle of the loaves and fishes. It was Andrew who spied the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish, but even he doubted that these rations would feed 5,000 people.
During this Advent Season through prayer, scripture and sacrament, give God what is good, acceptable and perfect. Find the Messiah in your life, and be a worthy recipient of His love. Amen!