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With Jesus

When I was a protestant pastor, I would often push people to read the Scriptures more. I would tell them it was the way we can experience Jesus here on Earth -- through His words. I still believe that, somewhat. We can experience Jesus in the Scriptures, but we can also get confused in the Scriptures and end up experiencing our own personal (predetermined) ideas of Jesus (which very well may be different from the truth).

How do we as Catholics experience Jesus? We all know the answer: in the Eucharist, which is called the "sum and summit" of our faith. By comparison with receiving the Eucharist, reading the Bible is like just skimming the surface. It would be as if a man after getting married decided to read many books about his wife, but never actually spend time with her. Useful information, yes, but that is not the fullness of the experience of matrimony.

In the Eucharist we are "with Jesus", but in the Mass (when done rightly) we are actually "there" at the crucifixion and at the tomb. We are transported in time so that we can go through that eternal sacrifice again and again. Jesus only did it once, but He allows us to hit "repeat" and grow to learn more about it each time. What an amazing blessing that He chose to give us more than a mere story about it, more than divinely inspired words about it, more than a comforting feeling about it; He chose to give us an event that takes us back to what He did, so that we can bring it forward with us into the here and now and allow it to continue to change us into His likeness.

You cannot experience these things through written words, or even video. Neither of them (or any other method) brings us into His presence fully and properly. We must be physically present. We must be with Him and He with us. When this happens, then those words in Scripture, or (possibly) something in video format can assist us in our faith, but they are not the substance. And if we get fixated on an "assistant" to the faith, we will end up missing the reality of the faith: Christ Himself.


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