Saturday, November 17, 2012
In a recent conversation with one of the best friends who is an atheist, he described his aversion to the Church. Of course, his criticisms were mostly about threatening people if they sinned or rewarding them if they behaved, and other (what I would call) unfounded statements, but some were not. Nevertheless, did he know Christ's love, though? I would contend, no.
One can have a fundamental knowledge of every Church dogma and doctrine, expounding on the historical development and how the Church arrived at that particular teaching. This is a most honorable kind of knowledge, but, as Pope Benedict says, this knowledge is never a substitute for a personal encounter with the Lord.
In one's personal encounter with the Lord, formed in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other prayers and devotions, the individual meets the Lord in ways that man is able to comprehend. Since man cannot comprehend the reality of the Lord in the earthly realm, God chose to reveal Himself through visible signs and symbols man could understand. Bread and wine, which take on the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ while retaining the appearance of bread and wine, is a common food and drink to most cultures throughout the world. The Lord allows Himself to be revealed in ways man is capable of understanding here on earth.
To develop a friendship, one needs to talk and have a great relationship with a friend. This is certainly true of friendship with the Lord. One cannot simply leave Mass and leave Jesus in the tabernacle. One must take that relationship with the Lord into the world and have a constant source of communication with Him. This is certainly true when Christians are the waters flowing from the Temple onto the world, inundating it with love and making those they come in contact with fertile. The Christians are the waters flowing from the Temple, flooding the world with Christ's love.
The world can only be transformed in, through, and with Christ if His followers know Him and have a personal relationship with Him.