Author: Lisa Graas
•4/25/2010 10:36:00 PM
See Scripture references on The Eucharist compiled by Scripture Catholic.

It was my first attendance at a Catholic Mass that I understood the words of Christ in regard to eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood.  I would encourage the curious to consider the Scripture references linked above.  Below is one of the songs sung at that Mass where I found Jesus Christ is the True Son of God at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Knoxville, TN.  Because "catholic" means "universal", it didn't matter that I was out of state when I was converted.  The Church is the same wherever you go, anywhere in the world.  Christ meets us in The Eucharist at every Catholic Mass.

Related: The Sacrifice of the Mass, the Highest Form of Prayer
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/25/2010 10:47:00 AM
There is redemption in the Cross which we all participate in when we carry our individual crosses. My cross is different from your cross, but it was made especially for me.  It was specifically designed to help me to become the person God wants me to be.

The Scripture "God's strength is made perfect in weakness" was always difficult for me to understand.............until I received a cross. I carried this cross for years in bitterness, thinking myself such a 'trooper' for being able to carry it without complaining too much to others. God sent a friend to me.....a fellow faithful Catholic whom I met online as we were both doing apologetics.....and she was a good enough friend that I could pour out my complaints to her.  In this, my family was spared much anguish. (Read what Aquinas has to say about habits.) I was weaned from complaining.

For years I struggled to patiently bear my cross. Finally, I "received" the cross, which is different from "patiently bearing" God's time, not mine.....and I can testify that bearing a cross patiently is a good and holy thing.......but when I received my cross with joy, the joy was returned to me, and my cup runneth over.   My friend hardly hears a whimper from me anymore, though the weight of my cross is the same, and it is because I am satisfied with Christ in my whole being, as a bride on her honeymoon. Such weight...but...there is no weight, because the joy uplifts me.

I still struggle with sin and always will. I'm a political blogger and do get into some serious emotional entanglements with that.....but I am, nevertheless, truly a person of joy now. I confess that I fear sharing this there as there would be ridicule from people that would be based on lack of understanding it, God bless them. I know I can share it here and I don't care who reads it here.....but post this on my political blog? Too afraid. I am a thousand times more fearless now than I was before I found the Church in my twenties....but still have fears. I have a long way to go.......but I have a relationship with Jesus that is beyond sustaining. My cup truly runneth over.

Something else that I have learned....... "The cross" you bear.....well, it's easy to get trapped into thinking that this or that *particular* suffering is your "cross". No. All concerns, all sufferings, both minor and large, are your cross. Everything. Christ wants to fill you completely. I have a physical ailment plus bipolar disorder. These are not my "cross", per se.Anything that impedes me from trusting in Jesus is my cross. Anything. And all of those things in total are my 'cross'. One can't have a relationship with Jesus from 2:00pm to 3:00pm and forget Him the rest of the time. When I understood that, it gave me freedom to not be so concerned with things I thought were so big.

If one thinks this or that suffering he bears is 'big and bad', it impedes him from trusting Jesus. Our human intellects can't really measure/quantify justice. Believe me, I've tried........because God gave me a thirst for justice. One will only come up empty if one engages in that exercise of trying to quantify things where it is not clearly defined.  When you come to understand that it's "all" your cross and that you can't truly quantify it, you'll understand that you can't quantify it in others any better than you can in yourself, and this understanding helps one along in the continuous struggle many have nowadays, myself included, to be more accepting of perceived downfall in others.

There are basic guidelines that God has given us to help quantify justice/injustice, though. For example, murder is a sin that "cries to heaven for justice" (sometimes written as crying to heaven for vengeance). This is why I fight so strongly against abortion.

Bottom line?  You must trust Jesus in all things.  This trust can be painful, but it is the path to joy.