Continued from previous post –
I should add while I’m thinking about it that the Orthodox also have valid sacraments (all seven of them). And that (please correct me with a comment if I am wrong) only the Lutherans and Episcopalians/Anglicans admit of seven sacraments, out of the Protestant denominations. I think all of them recognize baptism and marriage. Anyway, that’s not my point and I’m getting on a tangent.
So – if a person desires, and believes to be necessary for grace and the spiritual life, to receive the Real, True Jesus when that person goes to communion, then that person ought to be Catholic.
And herein is the problem, the bugaboo, the stumbling block!
Of course it would be foolish to say “well, OK, I will become a Catholic to get Jesus in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity when I go to communion, because for me it is that anyway, it’s not just a symbol or a representation. But that’s really the only part of being Catholic that applies to me. The other stuff (on which in a minute, be patient) I just don’t hold to personally, so I can just go on believing what I want to, and go to communion wherever, even in a Catholic church, because Jesus didn’t say you can only receive Me if you go through 6 months of instruction first.”
AAAH! Big alarm bells going off! There are TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS in the New Testament: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ***AND*** You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Great Commandment #1 goes hand in hand with Old Testament Commandments #1, 2 and 3. It also dovetails quite nicely with 4 of the 6 precepts of the Church – (1) to attend Mass on Sundays and all Holy days of Obligation, (2) to obey the prescriptions of fasting and abstinence, (3) to go to confession at a minimum of once a year, (4) to receive Communion at a minimum once during the Easter season.
It should be fairly obvious to just about everyone how the first of the Two Great Commandments relates to the first three of the Ten Commandments. So let’s look at the precepts of the church –
(1) Of course if you’re even making a halfhearted attempt to fulfill the first Great Commandment (hereafter GC1), then of course you’re not going to want to miss Mass on Sunday. This precept (p1) directly addresses Commandment #3 (C3) to keep holy the Sabbath day. As for Holy Days of Obligation, these are all feasts and solemnities in which Christians celebrate and remember a great point of Church doctrine – the birth of Christ, His Holy and Glorious Resurrection, His Ascension into heaven, the purity-from-conception of His Holy Mother, etc.
(2) p2 is binding on all who have reached the ‘age of reason’ which is not something I want to has h out here. But anyhow, Friday is traditionally a day of abstinence from meat, as it is the day when, throughout the year, we remember our Lord’s Sorrowful Passion. Fast days have been enjoined on us in order to further make clear the desire for our sanctification that God has for all of us – as we feel the pangs of hunger from denying ourselves a plethora of foods on certain days, we are united with Jesus on the Cross, and further the Holy Spirit’s work in us to grow in holiness. So it can be argued effectively that those to whom this precept applies who ignore it, are not following the teaching of Christ in GC1.
(3) p3 applies to all who have made their First Confession (and First Holy Communion in the LR, since the two sacraments are linked in this rite). The virtue that opposes the sin of pride is humility. All who are truly seeking to cultivate the virtues in order to root out sin from their souls ought to approach the Throne of Mercy through Confession at a MINIMUM of once a year. The Church encourages us to go more often than that. Some saints went daily! If this has struck a nerve, and all you’ve been doing is the minimum, then try 4 times a year. Then 6, then pretty soon you’ll be going once month (and one advantage of this is that you won’t have to rack your brain so much to think of things to confess – they are easier to recall when you’ve just committed them).
(4) p4 presumes that we will make our minimum annual Confession during Lent. But really, how serious can you be about being a Christian if you only receive Jesus in the Eucharist once a year? If you think this is all that’s necessary, then maybe you ought to go be a Protestant. Although I don’t think there are any Protestant denominations that only have ‘communion’ once in every year. I think the Presbyterians have it every three months, some have it once monthly. If it’s really and truly Jesus, and it’s true that He is with us ‘always, until the end of time’, and you believe that (really believe it, not just say you believe it), then you gotta go where He is, which is the Catholic Church.
Next: how GC2 encompass C4-C10, how p5 relates to them, and what is the point of p6 and whether or not it still applies.
Again, if anyone reads error here, PLEASE comment and correct me.