In the Breaking of the Bread, part 4

In the Breaking of the Bread, part 4

jardek at Flickr

If you missed the others, here are part 1 and part 2 and part 3.

{If you missed my comment on my Delayed post, I am working sans enter and delete, so please excuse any typos and formatting glitches, as while I’m making due, it is rather distracting to have to interrupt my chain of thought and correct my numerous typing errors by backing up and highlighting.}

I was so relieved when I finally got my hands on that book.  I read it with captivating interest, but also with trepidation.  What if they knew something I didn’t and I got sucked into the Catholic Church?  But, I was also practicing something quite dangerous.  I was praying.  I was praying specifically that God would open my eyes and my heart to the truth.  The one and only Truth.  You’ve heard the saying, “Be careful what you pray for!”

Over these weeks of conversation with my friend, we’d constantly refer to our Bibles to verify this thought, or investigate that doctrine.  Together, we’d become convinced that Acts 2:38-39 and the various accounts of entire households being baptized allowed for infant baptism.  I read Jesus words over and over again, and noted the critical importance of John 17:20-21, “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”  Matthew 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it,” convinced me that the Church Jesus established in that moment was promised to still exist in this day.  But I still believed that a remnant had been preserved and that it flourished somewhere in Protestant-dom today.  I mean, a Church filled with such blatant heresy as the Catholic Church couldn’t possibly be Christ’s Church!  While this journey became increasingly complex, I began having a headache which lasted about two weeks.

As I read the first few stories in Surprised by Truth, I felt that these people, as persuasive as they were that they had found the thing they were searching for, really did nothing more than keep churhc-hopping or religion-hopping until they landed on something that spoke to them.  But what I didn’t see is how this “Catholic thing” wouldn’t necessarily turn into all those other flings with other faiths, as the searcher went on searching.  But it was interesting, none-the-less, and I continued reading.  Convinced there was nothing compelling in these stories, and I was safe from making this leap.  Heading to the gym, I laid the book on the stand in front of the stationary bike and continued reading.  I wish I remembered whose story it was, but it wasn’t the story that convinced me.  The author began quoting Scripture, and before I even reached his conclusion on the subject, I was jolted down to my soul.  My feet stopped pedaling and I sat and reread what was on that page.  Then I got up and left.  My headache likewise left.

The passage in question was the infamous John 6.  I felt like I had never seen this passage of Scripture before in my life, although that cannot have been true.  But the implications were totally obvious.  I didn’t need to read the convert’s explanation that the Greek or whatever really meant physically chewing.  I didn’t, in fact, read that until later in the evening.  I knew that the Holy Communion I received in all those Churches I had attended my whole life had never been meant to save anyone.  We just didn’t believe that.  The only Church I knew that believed that Holy Communion was a Sacrament, something that in and of itself was efficacious at doing something to the soul, was the Catholic Church.  I became Catholic that very moment.

I believed Jesus when He said, “Seek and ye shall find,” I just never expected it would be in the very last place I would ever think to look.  But I was looking to submit to His Church, and when that Church was revealed in the breaking of the bread, I submitted.  I approached all the other troubling doctrines with the eyes of faith, and a mind open to understanding.  I did a ton of reading, in books, on websites, particularly Jimmy Akin’s essays, and I came to believe not just with my soul but with my mind and my heart.  My friend had a bit of a harder struggle.  She had had some very strong walls put up against certain doctrines, Mary being especially vile to her.  But we kept at the Scripture studies and I shared all that I had been learning.  We bought the Catechism and found such beauty and depth, and she also was drawn to the Church.  We consoled each other as we were forced to endure RCIA, and longed to fully receive Him in the Eucharist.  And together we commiserated over family members who just wouldn’t see.  Some, my husband and her brother and his family, eventually came around.  Others, her husband and the rest of my extended family, still don’t get it.  But we have found the pearl and sold all we have to obtain it, and it is Good.

John 6

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life,* which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”l
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?m
* Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:n
‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.o
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
p So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
* Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.q
But I told you that although you have seen [me], you do not believe.r
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.s
And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day.t
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day.”u
The Jews murmured about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,”
and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”v
Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring* among yourselves.w
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
‘They shall all be taught by God.’
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.x
Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.y
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z
this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”a
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
The Words of Eternal Life.*
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?*
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.c
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”d
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?”
He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.