Spirit of Christ, Spirit of the Cross

These past few weeks I’ve let myself slip into studying instead of praying, thinking instead of discipling. It’s something I have to watch out for all the time, this inclination to become distracted from what I should be doing (picking up my cross and following my Lord) and doing instead what I want to do (read, write, talk, anything but pray and meditate on the mysteries of our redemption). But this week I had a little taste of what discipleship must really be about and the kind of difference it can make in one’s life. And even this little taste is enough to make me want more. Continue reading “Spirit of Christ, Spirit of the Cross”

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, first in a series

In the Beginning

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

(Updated again, May 22 2019, currently all links to the Una Voce Northern Alabama site appear to be broken. Updated: Aug 14 2017: Fixed broken image links. Updated links to the workshop audio as of Oct 19 2012.) The following is Part 1 in a continuing series which began as a write-up of a talk by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, but instead took on a life of its own and has become some rather broad reflections on salvation history as it leads up to the founding of the Church by Christ, and the Church’s role in salvation. After we gain a broad overview, we’ll go deeper and into more detail.* Acknowledgments at the end of this post.

Sacraments: Rivers of Grace

Prayer and the sacraments (and the Eucharist, the Mass, among them) are the foundation of the serious Catholic disciple’s way of life. We don’t just go to church or go to Mass on Sunday or even daily. We pray the Mass. We study it, reflect on it, we try to live a life that pre-disposes us to receive Holy Communion worthily, which doesn’t mean that we consider ourselves worthy, far from it.** We learn about the faith to deepen our faith, to give God the worship He deserves to the best of our ability, so that, through our worship and active participation in the sacraments, God can give us, and we can receive, His sanctifying grace necessary for our salvation. As Fr. Nolan says, This is how we are saved. It all comes from God, from Christ Jesus, from whom all grace and graces flow as rivers of grace from His wounded side.

We need to go deeper now to discover the real meaning of the Mass, to explore and understand and develop this life of prayer and study and reception of Christ’s grace in the sacraments. This is the heart of Catholicism, of Christianity. Without this, the rest of it has no meaning whatsoever. So let’s go back to the beginning, to the creation story in Genesis.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, first in a series”