“Just be patient” “Grin and bare it” “Hold your horses”
All this talk of how we should act in the interim, in the meantime, talk that is meant to placate, to provide comfort, only irks me with a cloying sensation of suffocation, of passivity and wishful thinking and self indulgent naivete and, eventually, of death.
“Woah, slow down,” I hear you say? “You’re not making sense” I hear? “Why did google take me here?” you declare?
Quiet, focus, you’re derailing, stay with me.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that after walking along my path of Catholic exploration, after having many of my prejudices disqualified, my questions answered, I feel like Scott Hahn in his cheesily titled “Rome Sweet Home,” who got to a point where he felt that “delaying obedience any longer, amounted to disobedience.”
We want gratification, and fulfillment. We want it as quickly as we can get it. And I am not in the business of building castles in the sky and merely waiting for them to come down to earth, because, as far as I can tell, that’s the way of the fool, who says “a little sleep, a little slumber” and then amounts to nothing (Proverbs 24:33.) The early bird catches the worm, after all. Want never gets, and early to bed, early to rise, that makes one healthy, wealthy and… oh no, wait, that last one is irrelevant.
I feel much more confident that I can speak to Protestant misconceptions about the teachings of the sacramental churches, but, my ignorance about the depth of the teachings sometimes stupefies me. Yet, my hungry, gnawing curiosity, my need for certainty grows. And, at any rate, that’s the thing about the sacraments, about patristic traditions, they teach mystery…
“In the Christian context, we do not mean by a “mystery” merely that which is baffling and mysterious, an enigma or insoluble problem. A mystery is, on the contrary, something that is revealed for our understanding, but which we never understand exhaustively because it leads into the depth or the darkness of God. The eyes are closed—but they are also opened.” (Kallistos Ware, the Orthodox Way)
I have seen these mysteries, I have seen them in the sacraments, in the Eucharist, in the host, the presence of Christ. It confuses me that some can say “Yes,THAT piece of bread is Christ” with such ease. Their conviction shames me.
Pointing at the precise moment of transaction, the exact point wherein I somehow consume, intimately connect with the IT which made stars and tress and mountains and me, is beyond my mind’s knowing. “This is my body” Christ says (Luke 22:19)
Eucharist, means”thanksgiving,” it is the word historically used to describe what Christians have always done on Sunday mornings, is the sacramental mystery. The doctrine of transubstantiation is meant to help us understand it.
In the meantime, until my transition is complete, I must cherish the prayer of the Catholic mystic, St Teresa, whose “Way of Perfection.” I am currently reading.
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.”
This hope protects me.
I feel like a man checking a house, testing its quality, knocking on all the walls, measuring the length, width and height, checking the crawl space and the closets…but not allowing himself to live in it, never making it his home.
I so desperately want to go inside.