I went to confession and Holy Communion last week, and theoretically – in my head and based on what my faith teaches me – I was made new. Theoretically, I was a Saint walking out of that confessional, in the state of grace, a being born again. I say this was mere theory because – while I believe it to be totally true – there was no feeling of ‘being new’ that accompanied Reconciliation, no sensation of water washing over me as I received absolution. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as I have mentioned many times before. But our God does not like to be contained to the theoretical. It is a good and faithful thing for us to say, “God is God no matter what I feel right now.” and “the Eucharist is God even if I have not a single emotion towards it.” But the moment we begin to think that that is the fate we are consigned to, that we are destined to live our lives towards a distant, theoretical God, then I believe our Lord is stirred to jealousy, to indignation that He, HE! is being made so small.
And so it was that I woke up the next morning actually new. I don’t know how to explain this, and to some degree I’m worried that I shouldn’t, so vague is the description, and so absolutely inadequate our language to describe, but here I am. I woke up, feeling like a stranger in my own body. The breeze coming through my window was a foreign wind, and the very feelings on my skin – the blankets, the mattress, my own body! – seemed to me the first I’d ever felt. I was new. Or rather – as I think back – God was giving me the grace to recognize my spiritual newness by showing my a physical newness. How like our God, and how like his Church! When we don’t understand forgiveness he gives us the confessional, when we cannot comprehend heaven we are allowed statues, stained glass and golden tabernacles. When the spiritual is so complex that we are tempted to shove it onto the shelf of theory, He is there physically, and all is well.
That, I believe, is the heart of all those things we call ‘spiritual experience’ – God being so merciful as to relay to us physically what’s going on spiritually. Tongues makes physical the praise in our hearts, prophecy makes physical the word of God in our lives and those around us, miracles and mighty works make physical the very will of God. That’s why we who doubt should flee to the sacraments, those physical manifestations of God’s love.
I apologize for again breaking my Lenten promise to post every day of Lent, but again, it was for good reason. A ministry I play drums for, Ignite242, drove out to Virginia Beach to pray and worship in Adoration with an awesome group of kids from parishes around the area, and I didn’t get back until three in the morning. I notice that, as I try to post more often, the posts become more personal, more ‘stories from my life’ rather than ideas from my head. I suppose both are necessary. Pray for me! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Make sure you drink enough to make up for all the Protestants out there!