Saturday, January 31, 2009

Observations In The Church of Rome (Pt.4) - The Mysterium Tremendum

In a world religions class I took at Brock we had to study what the definition of a religion was. I tended to argue that worldviews and religions were the same thing but others argued differently. One answer a Lutheran Theologian came up with is that Religion is about the Mysterium Tremendum the Tremendous Mystery (I guess the Latin was pretty easy to interpret there...) and that what makes something a religion is the fact that it involves this grandiose experience of the great mystery and awe for the incomprehensible. That's not a great answer in my opinion, but there were many other answers as well. Another scholar said that The Sacred is the key to what religion is, but she defined the Sacred as: not the profane. ...? ... itès a wonder academics are still looked up to. But all this to say that these two definitions come in handy here, I mention them because Catholicism has explained these two keys to me, whereas my Baptist faith didn't.

The Mass was called by the Reformers the greatest travesty and blasphemy ever created on earth. Many times I agree with the Reformers but I cannot agree with that statement. For me, the Mass is a miracle. When I walk into a Catholic Church there is a sense of Gods presence in a really unique way I had never felt before. I wish it wasnt there sometimes because then I wouldnt sound so triumphalistic in describing it, but it IS there. Whenever I go back to Protestant churches, despite the fact that the people there actually know the gospel and welcome you warmly, the building seems empty. It is a Christian gathering, but it is still a gathering, like a school play, or a concert. But the Roman Catholic Church taught me what the Sacred is, and the Eucharist is the Mysterium Tremendum to me. I was always taught in the Baptist church that these things are bad, they are dead rituals, and base idolatry. Thats why I was so shocked when I experienced the Real Presence of Christ. It was not something I expected at all. I didnt think i would walk into a Catholic Church and Suddenly I would feel something - I might have thought I would feel disgusted. But I never expected that feeling of the Sacred, the desire to actually get on my knees before a Holy God. The mystery of the good gift, the blessed sacrament, the mysterious miracle of the Mass... I think despite all of the pragmatic and practical flaws of Catholicism, the everyday apathy and ignorance, over and above all of that, I think the Mass will keep me there, the Mysterium Tremendum, the Sacred.

I love this line from Tolkien even if it is a bit harsh, I find it very true, and it is another thing keeping me Catholic:

"(Tokien says in a previous line that basically if Christ says this is my body, rejecting him is telling him he is a liar to his face, he then says): I find it for myself difficult to believe that anyone who has ever been to Communion, even once, with at least right intention, can ever again reject Him (God) without grave blame. (however, He (God) alone knows each unique soul and its circumstances.) The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by excercise."

And in my Missal it has that quote from Chrysostom that it is right to believe that the Last Supper and the Mass are "in no way different"

1 comment:

  1. Great, great post Andrew. This is what I have been wanting to impart to you for the past year, and you got it all on your own by recognizing Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. All the heterodoxy and ignorance Catholics are involved in these days is a passing thing. It will pass away and will be succeeded by a wave of faithfulness and orthodoxy. After that, new waves, new rebellions, new wars are sure to sway this way and that. But as the Scriptures say, fix your thoughts on Jesus: in the midst of the storm Christ remains faithful to the Church. Pray and fight, but know that you have a home where there is peace: the Eucharist.