Thursday, July 14, 2011
Blog # 165 The Power of Faith
Blog # 165 The Power of Faith Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Augusta. You cannot remember places unless you have been there. You might imagine what it is like in Chicago or Augusta but that is not the same as remembering. So it is with occasions and experiences. The St.Patrick's Day parade in Savannah. The New York World's Fair in 1939. To be there is one thing; to remember is another, and to imagine it all is a third. So it is with people. We cannot remember someone we have never known, though we can imagine what a person we think of or heard of might be like. Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler... From Chicago to Augusta to Bethlehem, from the St. Patrick's Day parade. to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, from my mother and father as persons to Jesus as God-Among-Us, it is similar. Without having been there, having had the experience, having known the person, we cannot remember, only imagine, at the best. So far,what you have been reading here is the same for someone who believes in God and someone who does not. Now the difference comes. For someone who does not believe it will continue the same as long as that person does not believe. But once the experience of faith occurs the WHOLE PICTURE changes. By faith, rather than having to go to Bethlehem, Bethlehem comes to us, wherever we are. The life death and resurrection of Jesus becomes a current experience rather than a memory. Jesus lives and continues on as someone who loves us "madly" as some of the Saints have said, even at the present moment, always. I believe this is included in what Jesus said to His disciples before ascending into Heaven when He said: "go and make disciples of all the nations. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always until the end of the world."(Mat 28:19,20,26), and when He prayed to the Father for all who would believe in Him in these words: I pray..that they may be one, as we are one - I living in them, and You living in me...so that your love for me may live in them,and I may live in them" (Jn 17:21,23,26). Only God could do it that way, of course. But our faith tells us that Jesus is God as well as the carpenter of Nazareth. As carpenter Jesus is remembered, and there is no one on earth today who remembers Jesus that way because no one of us is as old as nineteen hundred years. We have stories from the life of Jesus the carpenter in the Christian Bible, and from them we know something of the actual historical life of Jesus as we might know something of the New York World's Fair from pictures, old newspapers, and poems written by folks who were there in 1939. But for anyone born this side of 1942 the world's Fair of '39 can indeed be real, but not remembered. From these considerations the words of Jesus over the bread and wine at the Last Supper followed by His words: "DO THISin memory of me" have a whole new meaning different from our natural experience of memory. As a result,doing, in obedience to His command,at our daily experience of the Eucharistic Sacrifice what He did at the Last Supper, we know by faith Jesus is really present in the Eucharist rather than merely remembered. The personal supernatural presence of the Resurrected Jesus in the Eucharist is as real and true for us by faith as the personal physical natural presence of the historical Jesus was for Peter and the other Apostles on the occasion of the Last supper.