Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Notes from a Conference I Missed

This past weekend, my daughter and I had girlie time, cooking, baking, playing the piano, and just hanging out while my husband and son went to a Marian Eucharistic Conference in Greeneville, SC. Max got to serve at both Masses and spend time with the Fathers and Deacon, all of whom were powerful speakers, on fire for the faith and in their love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

I wish I could've gone too, because these guys did not jot any notes at all, after all the preaching I've done over the benefits of note-taking. Grrr. That is my only annoyance. Thankfully, over supper and during walks, I've gathered some of what they learned, and I'm sure more stuff is yet to come.

Max told me he met another Dwight, that is, Fr. Dwight Lewis. We were neophyte Catholics when Fr. Dwight was training at St. Jude in Redmond. He was so passionate and on fire with the love for the Lord, he fanned the flames in our own hearts. The other Dwight is Deacon Harold Burke-Silvers, who spoke of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. God becoming Man. Word made Flesh. It's a Mystery! Joy. It is infectious and exuberant. And this is why I cannot shut up about Jesus.

Oh, I wish our churches were full to the rafters because how can we not fall on our faces to thank Him? Alas, it comes from parents not teaching the faith, or living it themselves. I don't have the stats, but Fr. Bill Casey said it was shameful how ignorant Catholics are about their faith, how they know nothing about the Real Presence of Christ, how even the ones who are catechized leave without a second thought. So the stuff they learned never went into their hearts. The laws of God are written upon our hearts, not our heads. I don't have answers to remedy this terrible apathy, but I do believe we can accomplish great things through prayer.

Michael and I were atheists. But people (and saints!) were praying for us, and God found a way into our hearts. So, pray, pray, pray for your loved ones, your spouses, your children, your parents, your friends, your neighbors.

Both Michael and Max enjoyed the history lessons from Fr. Mitch Pacwa. He is also a Maronite priest. This means he knows how to celebrate the liturgy in Aramaic! How cool is that? For him, Latin must be modern! He's a polyglot; he has to be one to be a Biblical scholar.

I learned that the first denial of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist happened a thousand years after the Last Supper! This resulted in a formal definition of trans-substantiation. This mean that bread and wine, after consecration, *is* the Body and Blood of Christ. It looks like bread, tastes like bread, feels like bread, but the "breadness" (for lack of a better word) has been changed into the Body of Christ. Another mystery!

I love that Christ is with us, not just as spirit (like when two or three are gathered), but really and truly, in a way so that we can consume Him. Literally. We are what we eat.

Michael said that Fr. Pawca ended with a reflection on how it must have been for Mary to receive her Son, she, who carried Him in her womb, who gave her Son to us.

I am so thankful Michael and Max got to spend the weekend in deep devotion learning more about our Faith and Beauty. It is something they will carry with them a long time. Next time, they'll take notes.

Have you ever gone to a religious conference?


Mirka Breen said...

Girlie Time=best time

I'm grateful to have read this post. No, I've never been to a religious conference. I barely go to any conference... But I get to read about yours.

Marcia said...

I love your last line. The one about notes. :)

I've gone to conferences, and they can be wonderfully refreshing and invigorating.

Becky Shillington said...

I have been to a few religious conferences, Vijaya, and always leave inspired and touched by the Spirit. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Someone very close to me is an atheist, and I pray all the time for God's Spirit to move in and "break the hearts of stone." Knowing how essential your faith is to you now REALLY gives me hope! You are such a blessing, my friend! = )

Vijaya said...

Mirka, our children are growing up so fast, I really appreciate the one-on-one time we get. I never thought I'd want to go to a religious conference, but I'm sold now ...

Marcia, yup, notes! Max said, Mom I take notes in school, so why would I do it for fun?

Becky, don't ever give up! Even conversion happens on God's time-table. There's a lovely Leonard Cohen song about the Light getting in through the crack. Here's the link:

Bish Denham said...

I'm not Catholic but I can certainly understand the passion with which you believe and have faith. It is a beautiful thing.