Thank you for your profound answer to the question, “How do you know God loves you?” The joy I’m taking from this simple Blog-alogue (and the wonderful comments generated) reminds me of the lost art of correspondence and calls to mind some of the letters I’ve received over the years that I continue to save and cherish.
In the spirit of your previous post I’ll take up another of the questions you put to me:
Why are you [still] a Catholic?
I can answer that in two words: The Eucharist. Jesus’ continuing offer of his real and enduring presence continues to fascinate, enchant, and transform me. I don’t think I’m overstating it to say that Jesus’ gift to his disciples at the Last Supper is the most brilliant single action by a human that I can think of. (Granted, that human was also divine, which is a theological avenue I will pursue no further.) The Eucharist is such a rich sacrament, incorporating not only the bread and wine, but also we the people gathered. It’s a symbol that reveals the true nature of our existence—that rather than being separate and alone, we are all one; rather than being hungry and empty, we are offered an abundant feast.
At the most difficult times of my life I have felt called to mediate in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament—even when the theology of such devotion seemed contrary to my current theology. I come. I sit aware of my emptiness. I am fed in ways I don’t understand but cannot deny.
And on my way to Mass on Sunday I can walk through the parking lot full of judgments about my fellow parishioners and their personalities, their lack of driving skills, what they’re wearing, etc. But after kneeling in my pew and watching them stream up to Communion, their spiritual hunger on open display, I am transformed and realize the truth of the hymn, “and we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.” And that’s what gives me hope for the human adventure. And that’s what keeps me coming back for more.