Grounded in the Eucharist

Linking up today with Blessed Is She!

eucharist


My eyes bore into the wood grain on the table while my fingers trace the edges of the stray bottlecap from my open Fat Tire brew.

My father-in-law had gone into his familiar speech about why nearly every Christian in the world had misinterpreted Scripture because of a pesky little mistranslation of the word, “aionios”. If only people could understand their mistake then Christianity would become a very different thing. A correctly translated “aionios” read with simple reliance on the Holy Spirit free from denominational lenses would lead people to clearly see that there is no eternal Hell and no eternal Heaven, but only states of being that are endured for a time before giving way to other, non-defined states of being.

My father-in-law sounds very authoritative when he gives this speech. We listen dutifully. Oliver, the agnostic, has taken up care of the dishes and I have taken up the task of boring holes in the table with my eyes. I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable. Always an avoider of conflict, I am usually quick to agree with someone as soon as I possibly can. The eternity of Hell? Yeah, maybe I could waver on that.

An icy realization hits me. What if the Church is wrong, and our entire dogma is based on a series of biased mistranslations? What if everything I believe is off-kilter and I’ve just been a damn fool? I imagine my life turned upside down as I shed my denominational loyalty as a snake sheds its skin. Perhaps it should be just me n’ Jesus, as the Protestants say it should be.

I run through a mental checklist of everything that’s important to me and stop short as this Scripture emerges and trumps everything else:

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53

The Eucharist.

As Catholics we believe that when we take the consecrated host into our bodies at Mass, we literally ingest the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Lord of Heaven and Earth, always meek and humble of heart, gives us the gift of not only forgiveness of sins and adoption as children of God, but his actual flesh and blood to eat as we are united in his one body through the bread of life.

In comparison to the issue of the reality of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, every other issue falls by the wayside. What use is conjecturing about the end times or the nature of the afterlife when there are more pressing issues at stake? When I encounter doubt, my love and belief in the Eucharist keeps me grounded and faithful to the teachings of the (nearly) only church which offers it.

We also have really cool Marian Apparitions, but that’s an issue for another time!

towhomsmall

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Wanderings

These past couple of weeks I feel my wanderings have been desperately aimless. I feel like a cork bobbing in the water waiting to ride a current, but held back by the line. The feeling has left me down and anxious, although I’ve still found plenty of life to savor! In the interest of stretching a creative muscle, here is what I have been doing the last two weeks.

Reading:

Among other things, my new lover is this massive brick of a book which fits neatly into my Kindle:

gameThat is how I roll. Several years behind everyone else! Also enjoying the challenge of trying to beat my library’s 3 week due date! So far comparing Game of Thrones to Lord of the Rings, I can see more of the murkiness of human relationships in GOT rather than the overarching idealism which draws the characters of LOTR together. Very interesting, indeed!

Creating:

doodlesI have still been drawing and painting. Mostly Catholic stuff, an ode to coffee and sad clothespins. I’ve really enjoyed a creative outlet which can be quickly taken up and quickly put down. Not entirely sure the husband appreciates seeing this much scripture and Catholicity, though he was a big fan of the coffee love and landscape.

Seeing:

yardpics

Backyard entomology! I deduced that the fat caterpillar with orange is a Wilson’s wood nymph moth. The caterpillars stacked like hot dogs on the underside of that leaf, I have no clue. The purple flower is some lovely lantana.

Also, Texas countryside is still marvelously beautiful. We’ve had more than our share of rain this spring, so we are blessed to have tall green grass, red poppies, indian paintbrushes, bluebonnets, pretty yellow weeds, prickly poppies. I could go on. Bottom line, I am completely dazzled by the spring.

I haven’t so much been enjoying the indoor entomology. We have a burgeoning fly infestation. Plus carpet beetles. But, y’all. The flies. Today I swatted 10 flies. Not a single one has been caught by the fly paper. It’s a conspiracy.

Doing:

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We’ve been enjoying the weather, that’s for certain. Also getting our money’s worth out of our San Antonio Zoo membership. Plus sampling tasty brew at the Real Ale Brewing Company 19th anniversary party!

A Matter of Expectations

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Self portrait. I’m the one on the left.

Last week I found myself walking the track in the opposite direction of traffic. This was not entirely my fault as I put myself completely at the mercy of toddler wiles. As we walked the wrong way, we passed some of my mom-quaintances as they exercised together in the correct direction. The interaction made me feel strangely ostracized, and it was somewhat emblematic of my social life over the last several years. The ladies did not mean to exclude me. Toddler chasing is naturally exclusive, especially when it happens unconventionally. The interaction left me unsettled for the rest of our time at the playground.

After thinking about my discomfort I realized that I seem to operate in the expectation that I will be excluded, an attitude which needs a little (a lot of?!) mental adjustment. Especially since I’m living in the year of Hello! Approaching situations with those kinds of expectations in a way ensures that they are met.

So here’s to playgrounds! And self discovery! And new expectations!

Scenes From South Texas

I’ve often wished over the years that I could view the world, always, through an amber lens. Green is–clearly, objectively, unarguably–the best color. The end. And it looks so lovely through an amber lens. Today I spent quite a long time driving and taking the scenic route. I keep being floored by the beauty of Texas spring. It looks like living in the Shire. When I am holed up my house in protest of the burnt brown landscape in July and August I will look back on these spring days fondly. I’ve been so inspired of late that I bought a cheap watercolor set at Wal-Mart so I could at least attempt to capture some of what I see and cannot photograph! But I also try to photograph when I can!landscape

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lillychickenscaragrass

On the Absence of Dad

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Happy Easter! With eyes that say, “hurry up and take the damn picture so I can let go of this kid’s arm!”

I was nervous about going to Mass this Easter with my littles in tow.

I usually go to a specific Mass, sit in my designated spot right next to a pillar (otherwise known as a toddler blockade). I go to this particular Mass because it’s typically not crowded and I sit behind a kind family always willing to grab my rambunctious toddler and hold on to her while I wrestle with the baby. I go to Mass alone, yes, but not always without help.

This Easter I had to attend Mass alone and with no helpers. I recall one moment in which Baby Cara was strapped to my chest and Lillian bumped her head on the pew as a result of a certain level of mischievousness and started screaming, suddenly in dire need of being picked up and comforted. I had a baby on my chest, a toddler on my hip and sweat on my brow. Other parishioners couldn’t help but observing, “you have your hands full, don’t you?” My reply, “Yeah, it would be a great time for my husband to convert!”

There are occasions at Mass when I see families attending together and my heart aches. At moments like that it’s helpful to remember how lucky I am to be at Mass a baptized Catholic.

God spent years tending to little seeds planted in my bitter heart to bring me to this place. The fact that kneel before the blessed Sacrament and sing Alleluia every week without a hint of cynicism or irony while earnestly trying to quiet babies and occasionally hissing at a toddler through clenched teeth is a blessed miracle!

towhomsmall