Bear with me, Reader-land, as you are subjected to the inane ramblings of a dying man. First of all, the best birthday present I’ve ever received.
No, just kidding. Mel got me that, and Glenn brought me Stone cutter whiskey. And Mary and Una gave me a beautiful calligraphy of prayers of St Theresa of Avila! But last night I was given the best present ever, me and almost 100 of my closest family and friends spent an hour in adoration and prayer.
Do you know what adoration is? For Catholics, it’s a somewhat common term, if you are in tune with the church. For non-Catholics, it’s a bit more confusing, so I am going to take this time to explain it, and I welcome questions and discussion.
To start with, Reader-land, remember the principle I wrote about before, Jesus is either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic. That is, He’s either God or He’s a terrible person who shouldn’t be imitated. And as Catholics, we believe He’s God. Establishing this, Adoration is when we gather in church and look at a golden thing that generally looks like a sunburst, at the center of which is a small white disc. That white disc started out as unleavened bread. But for Catholics, after the Consecration in the mass, it’s Jesus Himself.
What is that, you say? You are looking at a piece of bread? You worship bread?!? No, we don’t. We worship God. And what looks like bread is really God. Why and how, you ask? Well, that’s because that is what Jesus told us, and told us to continue doing in memory of Him. At the Last Supper, He said “This is my Body”, “Do this in memory of me”. Luke22:19, repeated in 1 Corinthians 11:24. So, either the consecrated host is God, because Jesus said so, or He was lying or crazy and all of Christianity and the principles it upholds are false. And the biblical basis for this belief is in all four Gospels and the epistles of St Paul. So don’t start with that whole bit about how Catholics made it up, but if you want to, I’m here.
So yeah, the best birthday present I’ve ever received was an hour with God in prayer. It’s one of the most intimate types of prayer, because you can look at Jesus directly, and speak to Him as a friend across a table. I imagine us finishing up a coffee, and me telling Jesus about my day. “Well, today everything hurt. And I got into discussions on Facebook. And I was so not motivated to work today.” And then I get back, “I feel your pain, for sure. But you focused a lot more on that Facebook discussion than work, didn’t you? And you probably responded when you were a little angry. ” And so on. Never a comparison or condemnation, just a friend holding me to higher standards. The other part of it is just hanging out. In my current disposition, I have come to appreciate gaps in conversation and silent company. Just be, just be still in someone’s presence. Who better than God?
You can say it’s a waste of time, or that we are crazy, but I respond with, why is spending an hour with a friend a waste? If Christians ask me if I have a personal relationship with Jesus, I get to see Him, hang out with Him physically, not just in nature or mental prayer. I want to hang out with my friends, not mentally imagine what hanging out with them is like as I walk alone through nature, that would be silly! And again, either what He said was true, or He was lying, or He was crazy. You can say it’s the latter two if you wish, but I am certain it’s the first.
It’s relevant, of course, that I believe this is my last birthday on earth, barring a miracle, and like so many other things, I have a different view of things now. Years ago I would have not thought twice about not going to adoration on my birthday. I’m not a holy man by any means, so please don’t get the wrong impression! As I stated before, I have many vices! On this occasion, I was blessed that Mr. Grimberg and Mrs. Carroll set it up! What a wonderful community we live in. And I am speaking so you all know how much I appreciated you being there physically and in spirit, and for Fr Noah to come and visit! I also have to thank Joey, Raf, and Will for the epic rendition of Happy Birthday I have ever had! I wish I had it on video, you guys would go viral!
I realize that this post will engender mixed reactions, but I definitely welcome your comments. I’m happy to try to explain or refer to the professionals. But the real prospect of dying definitely causes me to look at things a little differently.