today I heard a sad story.
Today in one of my classes I heard a classmate talk about how her family converted from “Catholicism to Christian.” First of all, when she said that, my stomach dropped. I felt sick. Catholics are Christian!!! I wanted to stand up and scream. But I let her continue her presentation. Second, she shared the reason her family left the church. She said her mom (1) felt the church couldn’t answer her questions about the Bible and (2) wanted more of a personal relationship with Christ. She shared that her mom did not like feeling like she couldn’t go straight to God, that she needed to go to the priest.
I literally wanted to throw up.
This story made me so sad. Like even typing this my stomach literally hurts and my heart is sad. Then she said through her research she found that this was a common reason people left the Catholic Church. Again, my heart fell. It made me sad because I knew how true and all too real this story was for so many Catholics around the world. And it made me sad that she and her family had been hurt by the church. So as I was thinking about her reasons, I had to agree that her points were valid. It is so easy to feel like there are not answers for things in the Bible. Also, I don’t know the priest she talked with, I don’t know what that experience was like for her. Maybe he didn’t have the answers, maybe their parish wasn’t sure. I don’t know what hurts lie in that conversation.
But the personal relationship part; I can relate there. That is a really valid point and a tough one, too. It can be so hard sometimes to break past the rituals and traditions of Catholicism and into the personal relationship part. Geez. It is so easy to come to church on Sunday, go through the motions of Mass, punch your spiritual time card and head to lunch Luby’s. And as I was thinking about how valid and true her point is, I realized God has such a bigger plan for us. His love is so much bigger than lunch at Luby’s. He gave us the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the definition of a personal relationship with Christ.
People often ask if we’re saved, if Jesus lives in our hearts. But I can take it a step further. Not only does Jesus live in my heart, but He physically enters my body every time I receive the Eucharist. Me and Jesus are that close. I do not know a deeper intimacy. I do not know a more personal relationship. Christ makes Himself available to us in such a beautiful and personal way. Through this sacrifice, He invites us to come closer. To grow deeper. To get more personal. Through the Eucharist, we have a gateway to know His heart better. We have access to everything He offers us.
I can understand how it is easy to take the Eucharistic Liturgy for granted. I’ve done it. Several times. Honestly, probably several hundred times. Not gonna lie. I can understand how easy it is to miss this. But we have to wake up. We have to take advantage of this opportunity for a personal relationship with Christ. And it is my job, as a Catholic with a personal relationship with Christ, to show others the love I have for Christ and them. And to keep praying. Praying for those people hurt by the church I love so much. And those people who have yet to experience a personal relationship with Jesus. And that have yet to access the fullness of love and grace in the Eucharist.