Stop Saying You’re Broken

Broken21

Not my image. Just getting the point across.

C.S. Lewis said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

I think we can all agree with that statement, and if you’re wondering how to be humble, here’s a fun WikiHow on it: http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Humble

A dear friend and I once wrote letters/notes to each other at the beginning of our friendship, in fact, before I even knew she would become a dear friend to me, we wrote each other notes of encouragement. (In context, we were out at a camp, and I was praying for her and to show that, myself and another person out at camp with me would write notes of encouragement and give her treats and the like. At first, she didn’t know who I was, it was all anonymous, but then I revealed myself to her, and we had some interesting letters from then on.) But one thing in those letters stuck out to me. A phrase she used to say how humbled she felt that God was using her as His instrument to help me to believe. She called herself “a poor broken sinner”. And to this day, it’s always bothered me, especially now that she’s a dear friend to me, and I love her like a sister.

I do not think anyone who reads this post would want any of our loved ones calling themselves broken. It’s just not something you hear from anyone who has good self-esteem or knows their worth. It contradicts that we were created perfectly, in God’s image and likeness and that He created us each as He wanted to. And where you might think it comes into play by the fact that we sin, you’re wrong, just because we sin, does not mean we are broken, it means that we’re human. When God sent Jesus to die for us/our sins, for our salvation, He was recognizing that we are going to sin, but He still loves us regardless of that fact, and no one who loves you wants you saying that you’re broken.

To recognize that we are sinners, we can say we’re sinners without having to say we’re broken. I sin, I make mistakes, but that does not mean that I am broken.

According to Google, the word broken has two definitions:

1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.

2. (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

These definitions are not what we should be describing ourselves as. Calling ourselves broken means that we are devoid of hope, and that we are damaged and not in working order. This is not humility, or the path to humility.

Calling yourself broken is not being humble. Calling yourself broken is saying that you are in despair or you are damaged and you no longer work.

So let’s stop saying we’re broken, and instead say that we make mistakes, and when we make mistakes, we must admit that we are wrong and make amends.

You are not broken.

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The Spiritual Oasis

So, before I really begin writing this post, I just want to point out that this one and the one before it are strongly related. It’s all about the journey I’ve been on the past two or three years of my life, and the fact that I really am not out of that desert yet, but this past summer and current school year have really been more of an oasis on the journey (as I’m beginning to realize). 

As a woman, I think we all have some general issues that we ALL face, ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Self-doubts, feelings of imperfection (that are incredibly hard to overcome), insecurities, and dare I say it, but doubts about our woman-hood, and that it truly means to be a (capital W) Woman. At first, I actually wasn’t sure if this post was going to be relating back to Mary, but oh goodness how Mother likes to sneak up on me like that. For me, the past few years (and heck, even further back then that) I’ve noticed that I had an extreme lack of confidence, and lack of the knowledge of my worth. Evident by the fact that when friends have told me they learned something from me, I’m dumbfounded each time. I always have to ask what they learned from me, and it’s funny because they almost always answer with the same thing: how to stick-through (tough-out) and overcome struggles, and how to keep their faith and trust in God through those struggles. I’m pretty sure the last time I was told this, I laughed out loud because this last bout of struggles I’ve gone through I very much did not keep my faith or trust in God. But, as I’ve learned over this past year or so, I do have this uncanny ability to bounce back from these incredibly difficult hardships and trials that I’ve gone through in my life. And at the end of the day, it happens because I have placed my trust and faith in God. 
Confidence has always been a struggle for me, and it something that I have to keep gaining in order to overcome the depression I suffer from. I hide myself behind all of these things, because I don’t think I’m worthy to be seen. But when people cannot see me, they cannot learn what I have to offer from my heart. And I, like everyone else, have beautiful gifts to offer the world. Every single person has gifts to offer the world. 

This Lent was not fruitful for me. I gave up close parking spaces, at at times it was a sacrifice, but at other times it was actually pretty great because no one likes to park out far and I didn’t have to deal with people getting in my way. But that was not why this Lent was not fruitful for me. It was because I lacked the understanding that just as I have gifts to offer this world, a gift was given for me to be able to do this, and I did not think myself worthy of it. It was because of my lack of confidence that this Lent was not fruitful for me. 

Now I’m sure that everything I’ve really said up to this point has been very desolate, and desert-like. Not the oasis of which I speak of in the title. This is where it comes in:
Lent was not fruitful for me, but in that lack of fulfillment, it is my understanding that it was not fruitful for me and WHY that I have found this oasis in the desert. I am sure that for years to come I will have self-doubts, reservations about my worth and what gifts I have to offer the world. But I just have to keep in mind that through all of those doubts, those reservations. There is a truth that I have understood before, and will understand again. I AM WOMAN. (hear me ROAR). I have worth. I have meaning. I have gifts to offer the world. 
The thing is, we all have gifts, even when we don’t recognize them. There are several which a dear friend pointed out to me that I had no idea I had to offer until she did. Gifts of love, of strength, of peace. And I am a very weak and troubled person. But it is because I suffer through those trials that these are my greatest gifts. 
That I believe myself unworthy of love is where my gift to love unconditionally and without prejudice comes from. 
That I believe myself weak is where my gift of strength through unbearable hardships and sufferings comes from.
That I believe myself a troubled person is where my gift of peace in the face of troubles comes from. 
It is from my greatest weaknesses that I have such strong gifts to offer. It is in my spiritual desert that I offer a spiritual oasis for all others to come to when they are weak, weary and thirsty from their own deserts, and it is there that I meet them, and it is there that I show them how to continue on. To complete their trials in the desert so they may move forward and be greeted with love and triumph. 

I believed myself to have forsaken God and Mary throughout these last trials that I have gone through, but just as through my weaknesses sprouting great gifts, they have been with me, changing me, carrying me, and working in me and through me this whole time. 
It is in our weaknesses that we find true strength, because eventually we will realize they are not truly weaknesses at all, but ways to offer ourselves for the good of others, and in doing so become closer to God. 

I did not have a very fruitful Lent, but in not having one, it changed me in ways I could never have imagined, and led me to the oasis of my spiritual desert. 

The Spiritual Desert

It’s been a while since my last post, I think that sort of reflects my life. I’m finding that more and more I’m saying that to people and it’s almost becoming a mantra “It’s been a while…” since I last saw or talked to you, since I went to daily Mass, since I went to adoration, since I really poured my heart into prayer.
I suppose that’s as good a preface as any to reveal what’s been on my heart and in my life these past two years. See, I’ve slowly been falling into this pit of despair, every day of the past two years up until this past summer (2013), I was getting deeper and deeper into this depression every single day. I’m not going to lie, I did a lot of things I really regret doing, and even more things that didn’t feel like the real me.

(Side-note: We actually talked about that in my social psychology class at the beginning of the semester, how people say “I’m not really feeling like me today” or “I don’t usually act like that” —like, if you aren’t you, who are you? and what do you usually act like? —It was funny, but definitely something to think about, also that when we think about our past selves–even when we remember what we did yesterday, we’re actually using the part of our brain that thinks about other people not the part that thinks about ourselves. So we really are different people every day. Another reason to learn from the past but to not live in it. End Side-note)

Okay, sorry about that, back on track….I really did change though, I like to think of myself as enthusiastic, loving, kind, and personable. What I was acting like before this summer was not those things. I was irritable, angry, and clinging on to things in my past that I believed would make me happy.

I was also very much NOT living a very Catholic life, and I know that Jesus and Mary were hurting so much from seeing how I acted and lived (and I use that term incredibly loosely) every day.
In my despair, there were so many times where I longed for the peace that my faith and my devotion to Jesus through Mary brought me, I turned to so many many people and saints and it still just never stuck, and I had no idea why for a very long time.
A very obvious Saint that I turned to was Our Lady of Sorrows (to whom this blog is really dedicated, and my favorite name/representation of Mary, because I can unite my suffering with hers.)
She was a huge consolation for me, because on the days when I needed to just be consoled, Our Lady of Sorrows was there, and she held me like her life AND mine depended on it. I can’t even begin to say how incredible that was. I didn’t even really realize how incredible it was at the time. It was just one night of comfort where I finally felt some peace, among so many others where I was in despair, hurting, and angry.

Another Saint that I turned to is actually another Mary, and someone who is special to me because her feast day is my birthday: St. Mary Magdalene. The reason why I turned to her, and why she was special to me during this time of desolation in my life, is because she was close to Mother Mary and Jesus, especially during the crucifixion. She was at the cross, and was the first person Christ revealed himself to after the resurrection.
That is another reason why she is special to me, Christ revealed himself to her, before everyone else, in all of His gloriously resurrected self. And that’s what I longed for Christ to do in my life, to show me His glory and guide me out of the desert that I had been living in for the better part of two years.

I was in a spiritual desert, experiencing a “dark night of the soul” as so many Saint’s have experienced in their lifetimes.
I did not understand why I had been abandoned, because I had not been, Christ was with me every step of the way. Mary was walking by my side, holding me up when I couldn’t bear to go on, stretching out her arms for me to walk into her embrace.

…..But so often, I turned from them. In my anger, I let satan guide me away from Christ and Mary,  I listened to his lies that I had been abandoned by the people who loved me the most. I let him fuel my anger, cause ceaseless pain and heartbreak to rip my heart to shreds.
And as I felt I had been abandoned, he led me to abandon the ones I held most dear, or endlessly try and push them away in an attempt to punish myself, because I was not good enough. Never good enough. There was no reason I should burden anyone with what I was going through, because I wasn’t worth that. No one would want to help me, and no one would have helped me. I was alone. I was Nemo again. No one. I did not matter.
But even in my darkest nights, and all of the pain that I went through, I did not give up, I did not throw my life away like I was so tempted to all of the time. I did not, because I was not worth the pain that people would go through when I was gone. But also, because I could not bear to hurt the people I loved the most. It is my one consolation, that I had the strength to go on, to never give up.

This desert I was in, I imagine it to be very much like the three days after the crucifixion and before the resurrection that the disciples were in despair. Their best friend and mentor was dead, had been killed, and if they were found, discovered, they would be killed as well. So they gathered, in prayer, and in mourning, in Emmaus, and two disciples, while traveling, came across another traveler, and they talked, the disciples poured out their sorrows and laments to this stranger, they discussed many things about life, and then, when they came to Emmaus, and the stranger made as though he was going on, the two disciples invited him to dine with them in the upper room. Then, something amazing happened, suddenly, this man was no longer a stranger, for they recognized him during his prayers of thanksgiving for their meal, and in the breaking of the bread. Their friend was back. Jesus was resurrected. The joy they must have felt! He was alive, He was with them! They would mourn no longer! They were safe, and He was home. This is very much what happened to me. I was in despair, I had no one, and then all of a sudden, everything was okay. I was happy again, I wasn’t alone.

The thing with spiritual desolation, is that everyone experiences it at one point or another. Coming down from a retreat high, and feeling like nothing you do gets it back. Pouring your heart out to God through prayer, the mass, praise and worship, during Adoration of the blessed sacrament–and everyone around you looks so into it, and there are people crying sometimes and you’re wondering what the heck is wrong with you that you can’t feel ANYTHING.
Nothing. Nothing is wrong with you. You just have to persevere. God grants us these gifts of spiritual dryness, so that when we come out on the other side, we are so much better for it. We change, we learn to trust Him. He calms our fears, and reminds us that He loves us. I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do, to trust God with and in everything. It’s a battle, and I know it, first-hand.
I was the intern for my youth group this summer, and it was the best thing I have ever experienced in my entire life, it affirmed my very SOUL and what I know I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life, but the journey of how I got to that point was incredibly rocky, as I have admitted. Two years ago, I started college, and it didn’t go well, I wasn’t a kid anymore, and I had responsibilities, I was living in a dorm, and I didn’t have my parents around to make sure I was doing what needed to get done. I was doing okay, right up until I found out that I wasn’t hired by a camp that I had been going to since I was seven years old. It was a shocking blow, I hadn’t expected it at all. And it hurt. I was so angry at God that He was taking this opportunity away from me, after placing the desire to work there in my heart. I knew that it was wrong to think He was cruel, because I knew He wasn’t, that He loved me and wanted the world for me, but I was too angry. That’s when the desolation began. I couldn’t understand why, I was going to mass, and daily mass, I prayed frequently, begging God to take away the pain and the anger, and to let me rest. I was desperate, and slowing spiraling down into a deeper and deeper despair. It wasn’t until that summer that I felt a reprieve when I chaperoned a group from my youth group that went to the Steubenville South Youth Conference. I was literally about a foot away from Jesus the Saturday of that conference. He was RIGHT THERE, and I knew that He loved me.
I started the school year, my second year of college, vowing that things would change. They didn’t. I had no idea why, I didn’t have any motivation, and I was more irritable and much less joyful. I was lost. The spiritual desolation was back and I had no idea what to do. I ended up applying to that camp again, I felt like I had a good shot, I had matured, and a fair amount of my older friends thought that I was ready. It was another shock when I wasn’t hired again. I hurt so badly in my heart, and I started questioning everything in my life. Especially the career choices I wanted to make–and what I was majoring in. I felt so lost, and I was definitely angry again. I blamed God for the pain I was going through, because He had given me these desires to serve Him, and He wasn’t letting me do it! I was angry, afraid, and confused.
I was still spiraling down, deeper, into this depression. No motivation, nothing. I decided, I wasn’t going to apply to that camp again. I said I needed to let go, but truthfully, it was because I didn’t think I could handle another rejection if I did.
It wasn’t until the start of this summer that the darkness went away. And I was definitely grateful, thankful, and joyful when it did. I came out the better for it. My faith was stronger, my confidence greater, and my love for God had grown exponentially.
I’m not going to deny that it was hard, it was. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, keeping the strength to persevere up. There were many times that I just wanted to lay down and stop fighting, just give up. There were times that I did, and it was tough getting back up to keep going. I put a smile on through all of it though. My pride didn’t let me show anyone that I was suffering through so much pain. No one noticed that my smile wasn’t as big, that my laughter was a bit too forced, or that the light just wasn’t the same in my eyes. As I felt all of these things had changed, but no one noticed. And that hurt, even though I didn’t want them to know. It hurt that they couldn’t see. That I had no offers of support. That the only thing keeping that away was that I was too proud to ask for help. But, eventually, that dryness, the darkness ended. I was able to be myself again, I let myself ask for help. And the joy, the happiness, the laughter, the smiles, and the life came back to my eyes. And I felt God’s love for me.

My journey through this desert may be over, I may have found my way out, but that does not mean that I still do not face trials and tribulations still. There are good days, and bad days, but at least now, I have remembered how precious I am to God, and how loved and cherished I am, that I am no longer Nemo, I am Beloved again. Mary is by my side again, walking with me towards her Son once more. We walk together, her loving arms embracing me, wrapping me in her loving and protective mantle, whispering words of adoration and love, singing sweet lullabies into my ear. Stroking my hair and telling me that EVERYTHING is going to be fine. My journey is ongoing, but at least I know one thing that will always remind me that everything is going to be okay. I know that Jesus and Mary will never abandon me, and no matter how long and difficult of a desert I experience in the future, I will always hold onto one piece of truth that will always remain in my heart.

Jesus is resurrected, Jesus is here, Jesus is home.

Loving Mother

A friend of mine was comforting me tonight. I had confided in her that I had done something incredibly idiotic and stupid a few nights ago, and that I had a hard road ahead of me in overcoming some of the wounds that I carry in my heart.
As C.S. Lewis said “Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when it gets cut.”
And cut my heart had been, whether it was intentional or otherwise. I was angry. Incredibly angry, like there was this darkness inside of me, and it wanted to take over me so completely. (obviously, satan was doing some work in me) and I let him.
But the comfort that my friend gave me tonight was that she loved me. And I know she does. She will be a fantastic mother, this friend. Physically or Spiritually.
More comfort she offered me later, is that I should sleep in the arms of Mother Mary tonight, to have her hold me, hug me, stroke my hair and sing sweet songs and prayers to me while I sleep.
And I cried. I almost bawled. Because it would feel so safe to do that, and I haven’t felt safe like that in a while, loved like that in a while.
But I am.
There is another friend, someone who I love dearly, but who has caused several of those cuts in me that anger has bled out of. And I realized, I picture Mary looking like her in my mind. I don’t know why, but that’s the picture that comes to mind when I think of Mary, especially when i think of her holding me, loving me, stroking my hair and singing to me. And I think that is why I cry.
But Mary loves me. God loves me. And that is enough.

My Mother loves me, and will make me feel safe.

Remembrance

In his book, “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” St. Louis De Montfort writes:

“Because Mary remained hidden during her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and the Church, Alma Mater, Mother hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and to others, and to be known only to God. In answer to her prayers to remain hidden, poor and lowly, God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other human creature in her conception, her birth, her life, her mysteries, her resurrection, and assumption. Her own parents did not really know her; and the angels would often ask one another, “Who can she possibly be?,” for God had hidden her from them, or if he did reveal anything to them, it was nothing compared with what He withheld.”

 

 

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Before I came to know Mary, and before I gained a huge dose of humility I was extremely prideful (heck, I still am, but God knows how much I used to be….) I have always been more or less involved in my home youth group of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish in College Station, and during my junior and senior year, I was privileged to be part of our peer leadership team called P.U.L.S.E. There were only a few from my Confirmation class that were still involved in STAY (the acronym for our youth group) and I was one of those students (there were roughly about three or four of us that stayed until our senior year) and being the oldest of that leadership group, my classmates and I were looked upon for many tasks and supplied support to the inner-workings of the youth group and retreats. (Basically, we made things go smoothly for CORE team and made retreats awesome–in Pines-speak we were the “SWAT/Program staff” of the youth group (minus SWAT duties of serving food, garbage duty, and deep cleaning).
During our senior year, we were looked on as so much more, and I especially took on a huge leadership role as Director of our Annual Passion Play Project we do at the end of every Lent.
Now, going back a few years…There was a special group of people to me who exemplified leadership and who I idolized in the way that I wanted to be like them and leave my mark on STAY history (and on the hearts of the teens involved with STAY) as they did on mine. Among this group of girls (Whom I came to call the Senior Church/Choir Girls (yeah…you know who you are)…there stood out two of them who I wanted to be just like. Repeatedly I told myself that I wanted to leave my mark, to be remembered just as they had. For a couple years after they graduated, the names of these two women were uttered in a sort of awe and respect that I longed for deeply.
So, during my senior year, when through extenuating circumstances I became the sole Director of Passion Play 2011, it went to my head, big time. I saw my opportunity, my chance to become like those two women. To be remembered, to leave my mark on STAY History and have MY name uttered with that same awe and respect. Little did I know that God had some other plans for me.
It was that same year that I consecrated myself to Mary. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, Mary’s humility, and the passage above certainly didn’t stick out to me when I read and analyzed De Montfort’s book. It was more of a gradual thing..and definitely became realized AFTER I graduated and had finished Passion Play and all of that.

I shall begin with that story in a moment, first a little bit about humility that I discovered through the years:
Humility is not about putting yourself down or making yourself out to be this horrible person and not being able to take a compliment. Humility is about making yourself smaller and smaller in order to make Christ greater and greater.
We humble (small), and lowly creatures, take pride in ourselves, in being known. We long for fame and glory, we desire to be remembered.
That was how it was for me during those years I was a leader in my youth group. I longed for that glory, to be remembered, I wanted to leave a legacy that had people saying years down the line “Remember Caroline? Remember how she loved her faith, what an amazing Woman of God!”
I thought I had realized this when I became director of passion play. I thought to myself, “here’s my chance! With this I’ll leave my mark, my legacy, i’ll be remembered!”
I pushed myself to make it absolutely perfect and whatever God wanted it to be. At the end when the final performance was over, I had gotten my five minutes of fame, but I had forsaken myself to what I was supposed to take away from the Passion of Our Lord.
God made it clear to me that He wanted me to be humble, that I was only to be known to Him and be satisfied with that. At first, I wasn’t…Oh man, I wasn’t…but then, as usual with God, one day, I read that passage from True Devotion…and I realized.
I wanted to be like Mary.
Which meant so many things..giving up that wanting to be remembered complex and letting myself grow smaller in order for God to grow bigger. In essence, bearing Christ in my womb, giving of my very body so that He would grow in me.

But I knew that through humility, not pride, not greatness, I would have my remembrance. Mary was unknown, and the most humble woman ever to walk the Earth. Yet we are STILL speaking about her and loving her. It is in being more like Mary, that I wanted to be remembered.
I had gone from “Remember Caroline?” to “Remember what that woman said about Mary?”
I had finally realized that it was in Mary that I was to find my legacy. In Christ, through Mary would I be remembered by God, and God alone, and I was so incredibly satisfied to know that, because GOD was the only one that mattered.

Especially when I realized that people’s memories fade, those two women, whose names were uttered with respect and awe, if mentioned today…would be remembered with an “oh yeah, they were cool”. During my five minutes of fame, I realized that earthly glory faded, it faded fast, and was never remembered. But the Glory of God was to be PRAISED. To be REMEMBERED forever.

And so, in order to be like Mary, to be humble, I had to accept that I didn’t matter. That being remembered was nothing. I had to live by a different concept–that God should be remembered through me.

 

My Legacy of Mary

I remember the day quite clearly. I had just told my mother that I was going to enroll in the Scapular, and consecrate myself to Jesus, through Mary. After first asking what it meant, she proceeded to tell me about my Beppe –dutch for grandmother– (my grandmother on my Dad’s side, who passed away from cancer when I was 8 years old). She told me that my Beppe had a great love and respect for Mary, and was greatly interested in Our Lady of Medjugorje. Proven by the many books I inherited from my grandparents house after my Granddad passed away my senior year of high school. That night, my mother told me that my Beppe would have loved that I had a devotion to Mary. It is something that I have held dear in my heart for quite some time, and it brings me to the legacy I have through Mary. My Beppe, whom I really barely knew, only as the best grandmother ever, and a strong, independent, amazing woman. I later learned that she had a devotion to Mary, which was passed along to my own mother when she converted to Catholicism around the time she married my dad, and I believe is very much the strongest part of her Catholic faith. To me, consecrated to Mary, and willing to give everything for her.
My legacy became even greater when my mother told me that my Beppe was the one to tell her that she was pregnant with me. It was amazing to hear that story. To know that my Beppe knew.
She was always telling me to be strong, to hold out, to not give up in the face of adversity. (Back then, she meant my siblings who like all older siblings, definitely had it out for me back then) Before she died, I remember climbing into her lap after a particularly bad teasing episode, and she whispered into my ear to be strong and that one day when we were older, things would be better. Another time, my last memory of her alive, and the last time I would see her was shortly before she passed. The cancer had taken it’s toll, she was tired, and in pain, but from the moment my family walked in the door, you wouldn’t have known had you looked at her. It is a very distinct memory that I have of her. She was sitting in a chair by the window, and she had a bruise on her forehead, but she looked SO strong. Just like the woman I had always known.
When she passed away not long after, I could hardly believe it. She had looked so healthy and vibrant. (But that’s pancreatic cancer for you).

Anyway, even now, there are amazing things that my Beppe keeps on showing me from Heaven. Through the books she had on Mary, opening one of those was quite an amazing experience for me, I had gotten a big stack of them and was going through them on my bed, I picked one up, and noticed that it’s jacket was being used as a bookmark to one of the pages. I opened it up, and it was to a page that had a year on it, the year was 1993, the year of my birth. It was like my Beppe had meant for me to have these books one day, that’s what I thought in that moment. She was passing on her love and devotion to Mary to me in that exact moment.

I imagine her as she was, strong, loving, fierce, devoted, independent, capable, compassionate, wise, kind, and understanding, and that is the woman I want to be. I don’t remember much other than those two memories, but I know that she’s watching me from heaven, and I just hope that I’m making her proud.

So My Legacy begins, my life belonging to Mary–the family I have through the consecration. The Motherhood of Mary. These are things I hope to pass on to my children, and my grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren. Just like my Beppe, my grandmother passed it on to me.

The Eucharist (and Mary)–but mostly the Eucharist

This post is one that has been a long time coming, but is also a bit different than all the others. In this one, Mary is going to act just like she does in the bible when the people want to praise her and lift her up just as high as her Son. (FYI, that’s hugely paraphrased). Mary is going to take the back burner—because this post is about her Son, and Mary always steps away from the spot-light where her Son is considered.

So here’s this awesome picture:

What makes it even more incredibly awesome is that all four of those pictures, are the same thing.
Christ’s sacrifice, His crucifixion by us broken human sinners, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, are present in the Eucharist, which has been transformed (proper term transubstantiation) from bread and wine, into our saving Grace.

Let’s go to the bible for a minute, specifically John 6: 48-58
“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; 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.” 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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Let’s break this down a bit, because Jesus repeats Himself several times. Here’s the gist of what He’s saying.
Jesus is the bread of life.
Our ancestors ate manna, and died.
Jesus is the bread of life that comes from heaven, so that we may eat it and have eternal life.
His body (the bread of life)—is a sacrifice which He gives so that we can have eternal life.
The Jews quarreled.
Jesus said Amen, Amen (so be it, so be it), I say to you, unless you eat my flesh (the bread of life) and drink my blood, you will not achieve eternal life.
Jesus says my flesh is TRUE FOOD and my blood is TRUE DRINK.
Jesus says the living Father sent Him, and He has life because of the Father, so if we feed on Christ, we will have eternal life because of Christ, because the Father gave Him that life.

Let’s focus on one sentence of the above real quick:

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

But Leviticus 17:10-14 says “As for anyone, whether of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing among them, who consumes any blood, I will set myself against that individual and will cut that person off from among the people, since the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement on the altar for yourselves, because it is the blood as life that makes atonement. That is why I have told the Israelites: No one among you, not even a resident alien, may consume blood. Anyone hunting,whether of the Israelites or of the aliens residing among them, who catches an animal or a bird that may be eaten, shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth, since the life of all flesh is its blood. I have told the Israelites: You shall not consume the blood of any flesh. Since the life of all flesh is its blood, anyone who consumes it shall be cut off.”

Oh, but what is this? “ since the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement on the altar for yourselves, because it is the blood as life that makes atonement.”

God has given us the life of the flesh in blood in atonement on an altar for ourselves? And it is through this blood as life that makes that atonement?

So Christ, having life within Him BECAUSE OF THE FATHER, tells us that His flesh is true food , and His blood is true drink, and that we must eat and drink of it in order to have eternal life, and some of us don’t believe Him?

Mighty interesting I must say.

Okay, so another beef I have with the Leviticus argument is that yes, Christ is telling us to eat His flesh and drink His blood, BUT He has said that it is true food and true drink. If He didn’t want us to do this, or to look at it symbolically, why would He call it true? Wouldn’t it be false or fake? (synonymous as it is, it proves a point).

Someone who I have argued this point before said to me that in order to eat someone we would have to kill them first, right? –I wanted so much to just point this out to her, but I had already said that I wouldn’t comment on the blog post that I was commenting on anymore because we had reached a moot point, and no one was getting anywhere anymore. BUT, my answer would have been that WE DID KILL CHRIST ALREADY. (hello, man’s greatest sin, but also our salvation) the crucifixion.

Okay, so now that’s over and done with, let’s travel to the incarnation.

Incarnation= The WORD becoming FLESH.

Here’s another scriptural argument against the Eucharist (and Catholicism’s general “disregard for the bible” that I will address and use to further my cause for the Eucharist being awesome (rather cleverly I might add.)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Okay, so that’s pretty simple. Man doesn’t live on bread alone, but from the word that comes from God’s mouth.

Here’s the clever part:

When Mary said yes to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, the Incarnation happened, which means that the Word became Flesh. Jesus calls Himself the bread of life, who was given life because of the Father. In order to have ANY life whatsoever, God has to breathe life into us at the beginning: so literally, Jesus is the Word and the Bread that gives us life, that CAME from God’s mouth.

BAM. I just blew your mind.

So folks, that’s why the Eucharist, Mary, and that picture up above are awesome, because those four mini-pictures, are all the same perfect thing, all wrapped into one amazing, life-giving package.

Veritas. (Truth)

Salve et Vale. (Hail and Farewell)