Lord, what’s my action item?

October 15, 2006 | Conversion, Struggles | 19 comments

[I’ve wanted to post this for a few months now but keep holding off since it belies how truly thick-headed I am with these concepts. But my purpose here is to be completely honest in my journey from atheism to faith, and this is a pretty key point of confusion for me, so here it is, my fourth grade level question about Jesus and salvation…]

A couple weeks ago my husband and I went to the cathedral downtown for a Red Mass. It was a beautiful, sensuous experience. I’d never been to a church service in a cathedral and had never heard a choir of that caliber. In fact, when the sound of Ode to Joy burst through the room I thought it must be a CD.

As the mass proceeded I stared at the crucifix hanging behind the bishop. Powerful feelings stirred within me but couldn’t quite bubble to the surface: I realized that there is a key thing I don’t understand that hamstrings my faith. As I sat there pondering the image of Christ on the cross I was overwhelmed with gratitude for his death, yet didn’t understand exactly what I’m supposed to do with that. Perhaps it was because I was in business attire, but I was reminded of a really annoying but apropos phrase that we used to use a lot at one of my companies when we got a lot of info at a meeting but didn’t know what to do with it: “What’s my action item?” I.e., What specifically do you want me to do with the data you just gave me?

To backtrack for a moment, I think I finally understand why Christ had to die for our sins (thanks in large part to this comment from January). Lemme see if I have this right: God’s kingdom is perfect goodness. If he were to just freely let flawed and sinful people be a part it it wouldn’t be good anymore. So there is this natural separation between us sinful humans and perfect God. In order to get close to him we would have to show true, sincere remorse for our sins and make some sort of sacrifice to make up for it. But because he is so purely good there’s nothing we could do that would make up for how bad we are compared to him. I could pour out my finest bottle of wine, sacrifice an unblemished animal, etc. and it wouldn’t even scratch the surface. The only sacrifice weighty enough is the Son of God himself.

Do I have this right so far?

Assuming that I do, or that I’m at least close, I’ll get to my big question…

Here’s what I don’t get (and here is where I astound you all with my ignorance): I don’t understand how Jesus’ death on the cross affects me. I understand how sacrificing some material possession could theoretically make up for sin — by giving this object to God I am making a choice that causes me some pain since I’ll no longer have it for myself. The pain I feel there is kind of “payment” for sins. But Jesus’ death wasn’t my choice, I wasn’t there, I didn’t know him. Sinful ‘ol Jennifer F. didn’t sacrifice anything that day Jesus died.

These were my thoughts as I stared at the cross in the cathedral. With great frustration at my inability to get this through my head, I thought, “Lord, what is my action item here? I understand that you were the perfect sacrifice, but it wasn’t mine to give. What is it that I’m supposed to be doing to make your sacrifice mine?”

19 Comments

  1. SteveG

    But Jesus’ death wasn’t my choice, I wasn’t there, I didn’t know him. Sinful ‘ol Jennifer F. didn’t sacrifice anything that day Jesus died.

    Exactly. But He knew you…knows you…and He paid and is paying your debt for you with his sacrifice (paying it for all mankind). That’s it. His perfect, unblemished sacrifice heals the breech between mankind and God and reconciles us to Him and makes up for what Adam (who made the break), and we have done.

    With great frustration at my inability to get this through my head, I thought, “Lord, what is my action item here? I understand that you were the perfect sacrifice, but it wasn’t mine to give.

    Right! You’ve got it! But now the rest…It’s not yours to give, BUT it is a gift of His that you can RECEIVE. This is about you receiving the love and grace God is offering and pouring out to you.

    What is it that I’m supposed to be doing to make your sacrifice mine?”

    Accept it as the gift it is; receive it in thanks, praise, humility, awe and wonder that Jesus loves humanity so much, loves each one of us so much, loves YOU personally so much that He was willing to pay the price for you. Receive it in the profoundest gratitude that the Father loves us with such fullness that ‘He gave His only begotten son for the life of the world’ (John 3:16). Receive it in wonder that the Holy Spirit continues to bring it to each of us through the community of believers; those who have been transformed by this reality and are now part of the body of Christ, trying with the help of His grace, and in spite of ourselves, to build the kingdom of God.

    Then, pick up your cross daily and follow after him doing likewise, by dying to self (selfishness), and becoming like Him. Not because you want to (or even can) replace his sacrifice with yours, but to join your sacrifice to his to make it worthwhile (through Him). To be like Him because you want to be a disciple, because He loved you first and you want to love him in return.

  2. Tim

    Hmm, this is a daunting post. I want to answer very precisely here.

    I think the key point here, Jen, is that your sin debt is so enormous that you could never pay it. You (and I) are totally morally bankrupt on our own. We are in utter poverty before God.

    Therefore, Jesus, truly God and truly man, had to pay it through his death and resurrection. What you have to do is go through your own death and resurrection in Christ- which is what baptism is. You go down in the water (you die) and you are raised up a new person (you resurrect).

    You are to identify with the Lord in all ways, like turn from sin and seek intimacy with God. You are to walk in the newness of life. You are to give up all of yourself to God.

    Basically, you are to be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit- which is being born again!

  3. Kiwi Nomad 2006

    I don’t think your question is silly or ignorant – it is honest. Honestly expressed questions might not lead easily to answers, but hopefully the answers will be worth having in the end.

  4. Kiwi Nomad 2006

    I just found this on the Creighton university site http://www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/101506.html
    about questions:
    “We can prepare for the wonderful celebration of the mysteries involved in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the liturgy, by making friends with our questions. “Because I said so” may resolve some requests or arguments. We pray with a God Who seems to attract us by answers which draw us toward life, toward our keeping on reaching. We pray these days with our questions and the patience which faith provides. Deep questions should not have easy or shallow answers. Our open hand to receive the Eucharist is a wonderful gesture of our minds surrendering to Christ’s ways of answering.”

  5. Anonymous

    As a cradle Catholic who has with great sadness and reluctance become an atheist, I’ll give you a Catholic answer and then an atheist question for you to ponder.

    The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were insufficient to atone for man’s sins. God the Father so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son to become the Sacrifice for our sins. This is generic Christian theology.

    What separates Catholics from Protestants is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is the heart of the Catholic Church. Transcending space and time, the Mass is the re-presentation of the Crucifixion. The traditional Latin Mass expresses this teaching more clearly than does the Novus Ordo Mass.

    Your “action item” is to attend Mass — which is like being at the Crucifixion — and receive the Perfect Lamb sacrificed to God the Father for our sins: “If you do not eat My flesh and drink My blood you will not have life in you.”

    When you think of the horrific suffering and death that Christ freely accepted to atone for our sins you cannot help but feel the eternal debt of gratitude that we owe Him. And you cannot help but follow His command to eat His flesh and drink His blood for eternal life.

    It’s a beautiful theology. It really is. But is it true?

    Consider this: If Jesus loved us enough to suffer and die for us then why didn’t He love us enough to stick around and tell us about it? Why would He zip up to heaven after only 40 days?

    Through His Crucifixion God gave us the gift of salvation. But it does us no good if we don’t accept that gift. Why didn’t God provide man with more widespread and permanent proof of what He had done for us? The Resurrection was that proof. But why wasn’t it more widely known and why was that proof taken away from us after only 40 days?

  6. Bekah

    I think, perhaps, the way to approach this question (which is excellent, btw) is to take a step backward and look at the whole picture. Paul gives us a clue when he reminds us that sin entered the world through one man, and one man redeemed the world (very loose paraphrase). There was more going on cosmically than Christ sacrificing himself for each of us individually.

    Adam and Eve’s sin impacted the whole of creation. By one choice, they sentenced all of us to live without the grace we were originally created to have. This is original sin. It is not something that was added to creation; it was a removal of a piece of the life of God that He intended for us to have.

    Fast forward thousands of years….

    Along comes Mary, and God gives her a great and wonderous gift. For the first time since Eve, God created a human person with the full gifts that He intended every person to have, a full allotment of Grace, which enables her to live a life without sin, because she has the power to say “no” to temptation when the rest of us succumb.

    She is later given the choice to bear the God-child. Because of the preparation of God’s first gift of Grace, she is able to accept her role, undoing the “no” with which Eve rejected God’s plan and chose her own way.

    But there was still the sin of Adam, by which the whole world fell, that needed undoing. And that’s where Christ’s sacrifice comes in. Adam, being Eve’s priest-husband, should have immediately corrected her ‘mistake’, but he didn’t. He chose to sin, too.

    The sacrifices God instituted during the old Testament were not fully efficacious. They needed to be repeated over and over, and we are told that they did not remove sin, they ‘covered it over’. What the world needed was an eternal sacrifice which would be effective for all time, backwards and forwards, and would remove the stain of sin completely, not just cover it over.

    Such a sacrifice is beyond the capabilities of anything natural. What is needed is a supernatural victim. And so, God sent His son. The only person who’s death could shatter the natural order, and be removed from time to become efficacious for all of the world.

    And so it came to pass, and upon His death, Christ descended into the place where those who had passed were held until they could make their own choice. Then returned to those present, to prepare those to teach us in the future.

    And He taught them the Mass. The eternal presentation of His sacrifice that brings forward our ability to partake in this cosmic event of the past and make it real in our lives to this day. God set the requirements for us, without which none of us would be worthy. And those are to present ourselves without mortal sin, and receive with faith, believing that we are receiving the full body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ himself, even though our senses tell us otherwise.

    It is a miracle.

    I believe the most profound prayer in the Gospels is, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

    As a candidate, I wholly recommend making good use of Spiritual Communion, until you are able to fully partake of the Holy Eucharist yourself. Here’s one:
    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/blsac4.htm

  7. Jennifer F.

    Anonymous –

    Thank you, that is exactly the sort of answer I was looking for. You certainly know your stuff. And no need to tell me the atheist answer, I’m very familiar with that. 🙂 In fact, it’s funny that you give that example because last night as I was falling asleep I was pondering this very question: God could have done a lot more to prove that Jesus was His son. Why didn’t he?

    I thought of some great examples: he could have healed everyone on earth simultaneously at once, that way we’d have written records from all societies from that time witnessing to this miraculous occurrence. Or perhaps he could make it so that every time you say a prayer to Jesus something supernatural happens, like you see a glowing light or something (yeah, I was really tired when I was thinking about this).

    Anyway, what I came up with is this: I have a two-year-old. I love him but he’s a strong-willed little guy with his own ideas about how he wants to do things, and he rarely wants to do things my way. So how do I make him? Let’s say, to use an example from last night, he refuses to eat dinner. I could do a little “dinner dance,” cut his food into fun shapes, put it on his favorite SpongeBob plate, let him eat it in his playhouse, etc. But a) it probably still wouldn’t work — if he’s in a defiant mood there’s nothing I could do that he wouldn’t scoff at; and b) I’m not going to go down that road and play that game. I am his mother and deserving of his respect and obedience, so I am going to do the minimum: I will make him healthy, tasty food that’s appropriate for a kid his age. And the games end there. It would be futile and unbecoming for me to try and try and try to get him to eat, it could last all night.

    Anyway, I post such a long-winded example since I was literally just thinking about that last night. As I’ve mentioned before, I realized from personal experience that if you’re not open to seeing signs from God, nothing he could do would make you believe (just like nothing I could do would make my toddler eat if he’s in a mood not to). So I think God just gives us the bare minimum that we need to believe, because anything more would be futile.

    Just my thoughts, I might be way off with this.

  8. Tracy

    Jen, loved your example!

    Anon, I have had the same question that you shared, the exact one. I know we are not alone and plenty of other humans have been plauged by similar or the same doubts and questions.

    Ultimately, faith cannot be purely intellectual. I have to accept that there will be constant mysteries and questions I will never know the answers to. So, to build up my faith on a day to day basis I rely not only on Tradition and Scripture but also on my personal experience with God’s grace. I recieve grace not only through the sacraments, but in some small, personal gifts and lights from God. I realized I need to be looking at my life with an almost supernatural vision. I am not some psychic mystic wacko, just trying to be more aware that there is more to life than meets the eye. And sometimes when that just isn’t working for me I read up on miracles, the Eucharistic ones really blow me away. Or simply talking to people who are sharing their personal experiences with God.

    I sense your sadness and pain from your comment and you need to know that you are not alone in feeling that despair, but I want to encourage you to push yourself past that and open your soul to the possibilities that Jen proposed and to the supernatural awareness that there is more to this earthly life than our senses can discern and explain.

  9. Adoro Te Devote

    Jen,

    You ask a great question, and admittedly, one, even as a believer, I have asked before. I think you’re a lot more intelligent than me, though, because the way you phrase your thoughts cuts right through all the BS and gets to the meat of the subject. I never did that…I’m not sure my puny intellect could have handled it.

    Anyway, theologically speaking, to answer your question you might also want to ask how Original Sin works and why we suffer from it? That’s the foundation. Look there, first. Anon…you may want to study this subject as well. You seem to be well versed, but there is more to Jesus’s death and resurrection than just his death and resurrection. Context and theological understanding is necessary.

    Adam and Eve sinned by seeking to become like God. Granted, this “seeking” was thrust upon them by Satan, but they took the bait, and defied God’s directive. We see that their sin drove a wedge between them and between God. This is the curse we live with.

    Now, God gave us all free will…as He gave Adam and Eve. He allowed them to defy him, because God is not a dictator.

    We must look to history.

    Man (the word to encompass Man and Woman) has always had the ability to defy God, or to cooperate with God. This is obvious throughout history.

    We first look at Abraham, who was askd to sacrifice Isaac, his prayed-for and son grantd in old age. Unblemished, and finally, as he was about to obey God, replaced by an unblemished Male ram.

    Man (the word to encompass Man and Woman) has always had the ability to defy God, or to cooperate with God. This is obvious throughout history.

    Moses warned the Hebrews about the coming of the Angel of Death, and the lost of the firstborn sons. When the Lord directed him to tell the people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb, He wasnt’ kidding. They sure didn’t cook tofu that night, and they did not use red paint or squished red bugs to create the marks on the doorframes. They used the blood of the lamb and they CONSUMED THE LAMB STANDING UP!

    Fast forward many moons and years and eras.

    Man (the word to encompass Man and Woman) has always had the ability to defy God, or to cooperate with God. This is obvious throughout history.

    We look at Abraham, who was askd to sacrifice Isaac.

    We look to the Blessed Mother, Mary, who had the option to refuse God via the message of Gabriel. She did not have to bear the Christ child…she could have said, as most women would say to day, “What?! Are you KIDDING me? What’s your problem? I’m a single woman! I’m not even married and you want me to carry the SON OF GOD? I’ll be STONED TO DEATH because I’m not MARRIED YET! Joseph hasn’t had relations with me yet!”

    Yet Mary’s response was to say, “Yes, let thy will be done”.

    She was prepared to do this, set aside, yet she had the ability to refuse. She did not.

    Her fiat was the reverse of the offering made by the serpent…disobey God…reversed by the New Eve, obedient to God in faith.

    Then we fast forward another 33 years. Jesus suffered for crimes He did not commit. He suffered persecution, and he was that unblemished lamb…a virgin, unblemished by even Original sin, as Mary was unblemished. She was prepared by God for an average sinner could not have broken the bonds of Original Sin. Jesus could not have been born through you and I…so He caused her conception to be without sin and because God is timeless, He could remove that stain we all suffer at the time her life was begun..at conception.

    Original sin is tied into free wll..we all have the abiliyt to defy God, and we do. I can’t even go 30 seconds without insulting the Lord.

    Thus Mary was the New Eve, she was the New Ark of the Covenant, and Jesus was the New Covenant. As baptism removed the STAIN of orignal sin and bonded us directly to God, the sacrifice of Jesus causes the remission of the sins we committ..it washes away, via his blood, the sin of the world that we committ every day..our chosen defiance of God. We are all born defiant, and thus we remain. Yet Jesus came to bear the sin not only of His time, but of eternity. He loved and still loves us so much that he stretched out his hands, bore horrible punishments and cruelty, and went, as a lamb to slaughter.

    For us.

    His death was timeless. We, as humans, cannot grasp eternity for we were given finite minds. We are tied to time and our lives are measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries. God does not know time.

    Jesus was eternal and existed before his birth as a human. Even in Genesis, God refers to “us” and “we”, not “I” in relation to the creation of the world.

    Jesus is timeless, and every time we go to Mass, we experience a miracle..not only is the bread changed into blood and flesh, but WE are made PRESENT IN TIME to the original sacrifice of the Lamb on Calvary.

    So, my dear, your ACTION ITEM is to be willing to believe, to realize that faith is an act of the WILL because even if you can’t find the belief in you…Jesus has offered his life on your behalf, anyway.

    I’m not sure I answered your question, but amazingly, in the process of writing this, I’ve reminded myself of a few other things. Thanks for posting this!

    God bless you!

  10. SteveG

    AdoreTeDevote:

    I think you give a wonderful answer and reflection, and I want to use just a piece of to build upon something I think is important for all of us to understand in order to make sense of things.

    Adam and Eve sinned by seeking to become like God. Granted, this “seeking” was thrust upon them by Satan, but they took the bait, and defied God’s directive. We see that their sin drove a wedge between them and between God. This is the curse we live with.

    I bold that last bit because I think its something we Christians ‘take for granted’ (Not necessarily yourself, just piggy backing off your comment). We see the obviousness of original sin in the fallen-ness of all humanity and we can hardly think this deserves an explanation, but it really does.

    The sincere questioner could rightly ask, ‘Why? Why must I, who had nothing to do with the original fall, live with this curse?’ I think if we are honest, it’s a good question. So maybe to lay a bit more foundation for this whole discussion, I’d like to take a stab at explaining by borrowing some ideas from the work of Frank Sheed in Theology in Sanity (in my own words though).

    The bottom line is that as created, man possessed two types of life, natural life and supernatural life. Since man is embodied soul, these two types of life are inextricably linked, and the actions of the body affect the soul, and vice versa.

    The Sin of Adam destroyed the supernatural life within him by breaking his relationship with God who was the source and sustainer of that life (This of course is what God meant by ‘death’ if they ate of the fruit). This change/destruction caused terrible damage to human nature itself (the consequence to humanity), in addition to the damage to Adam and Eve (their personal consequence).

    Adam and Eve could not pass on to their descendents what they no longer retained in their own human nature (supernatural life). They could only pass on the damaged nature they retained. That nature no longer included the supernatural life of the soul, or an unbroken nature in relation to God.

    While it is manifestly not the case that it is Catholic teaching that we are ‘guilty’ of their sin, there is no doubt that we suffer from the consequence of their sin. We are born by our nature (which is ‘inhereited) in a state of wrong relation to God because that is what part of human nature now IS because of Adam & Eve.

    Sheed provides a good quote from Odo of Cambri (circa twelfth century) that is a clear as can be hoped for…

    Personal vs. Original sin
    “The sin wherewith we sinned in Adam is natural in me, personal in Adam. In Adam it is graver, in me less grave; for in him I sinned not as who I am but as WHAT I am; I sinned in him as man, not as Odo; as substance, not as person. Because the substance does not exist save in the person, the sin of the substance is the sin of the person, yet not personal.

    That sin IS personal which I commit as WHO I am , not as what I am by which I sin as Odo, not as man; by which sin as a person, not as a nature.”

    This explanation requires a good grasp of the difference between nature and person (which is vital and something all Christians should be required to know, and which will help immensely when it comes to understanding both the Trinity, and the dual nature of Christ), but it’s a starting point.

    If anyone is interested in that further explanation of nature and person and how that relates here, I’d be happy to delve into that more deeply. Just let me know lest I start cluttering up the comments unnecessarily.

  11. paula

    Jen:

    Thank you for your comment. This is a great exercise for us all- to think-really think- why we were saved.

    I am teaching a sixth grade religious ed class for the first time and trying to put into words for these 12 yr. olds the basics of who is Jesus Christ? Unless we understand the concept of original sin and the fall from grace, we can’t possibly fully understand Christ’s sacrifice.
    Yesterday, I held up a piece of cloth for the class and violently tore it in half (that got their attention). This, I said, is what happened when sin entered the world:
    -God’s creation was damaged
    -Man, through his own free will, was
    seperated from God
    -The very nature of man was change,i.e., the loss of the gifts of grace
    -No matter how many sacrifices man offered to God, he could not repair that damage, mainly because it was God’s creation; we were not the authors of it.
    -God did not turn away or abandon man because of His great love for his highest creation. He wanted to reunite man to Himself and save us from ourselves.
    -Christ as True God and True Man was able to accomplish this through the sacrifice of His life on the cross. The only sacrifice capable of repairing the damage to creation;the most pleasing to God-His Son,the Lamb of God.
    -Our salvation is accomplished not only through Christ’s death, but through His ressurection and ascension into heaven. One cannot be seperated from the others: The sacrifice(Jesus as man)is offered (Jesus as God)on our behalf and is slain on the altar of the cross and is found pleasing to God and glorified through the Ressurection and is visibly accepted by God through the Ascension.

    As a cradle Catholic, it has taken me 40+ years to get that understanding under my belt-much of it in the past year or so. I thank God for the beauty of this understanding and continue to move forward in my faith. Please pray that my students may share in coming to understand God’s great Love for us.

  12. SteveG

    Paula,
    I am alos teaching a CCD class (7th grade) where he focus is on the life and person of Jesus.

    I really like the way you’ve condensed the message. Would it be OK by you if I borrowed some of what you’ve written below for use in the class?

  13. Ersza

    Fascinating question, Jen. For me, it was a big revelation when I was in RCIA and we talked about how the congregation cries, “Crucify him!” during the Palm Sunday service. I did not want to say “Crucify him!” I have always wanted to imagine that if I were alive in Jesus’ time, I would have dropped everything and followed him. I would have been on his side. But the truth is that I wouldn’t. Because is that what I have done in the here and now? I would have been in that crowd, shouting for Barrabas’ release, shouting “Crucify him!” Jesus died for us, and asking “What has it to do with me?” is just another way of saying, “Crucify him!” The answer to your question is so perfectly contained IN the question that it has a certain zen perfection to it. It has to do with you, exactly because you do not think it has anything to do with you. Ha!

    Anonymous offered a perfect Catholic answer to your question. He is right in every way. However, his question about why didn’t Jesus hang around betrays a subtle lack of understanding. God’s salvation is not *about* miracles. It’s not *about* proving that he exists. We have ample proof, all around us. The Catholic church records and catalogues miracles that cannot be explained by science. One of the things that bowled me over when I finally converted (reverted) to the Catholic church was that I had been unconsciously rationalizing these miracles ALL MY LIFE.

    So why doesn’t God make *more* of them. Why doesn’t Jesus go door to door? Because no matter how much proof we had, how many miracles, people will refuse to believe. The church teaches us that we encounter Christ every single day of our lives, through the actions of others and our own. You really begin to wonder how people manage not to believe in him. This also touches on another issue. I heard a wonderful homily recently, about signs and miracles. It’s good to have signs and miracles in your life, but in a the reading for that day, Jesus cautions his disciples not to tell of a healing he had performed. Why? Because signs and miracles are temporary. Even if he raises someone from the dead, that person will eventually die again. If he heals you, or gives you your heart’s desire, it is only a temporary thing. It will fade away. And in the meantime, you can start to feel like the world revolves around you and you somehow deserved all of it.

    That’s why the church sometimes seems to have a fetish with suffering. Because God speaks to us through it. He sends us miracles, because he cannot resist us. He can’t turn away from our pain and our crying out for him. But the miracles are only a temporary proof, and fade away. What happens if you have a miracle today. Will you believe today? How about tomorrow? Do you need another miracle tomorrow? And the day after? No, that’s not how it works. We need to believe that God loves us even in our misery and suffering, that he is with us when our lives are in darkness and chaos. If we base our faith on miracles and “proof” then we have to believe he only loves the ones who get the “proof” or we have to demand, like spoiled children, that each of us get the exact same amount of “proof.”

  14. SteveK

    I thought, “Lord, what is my action item here?

    I think our action items are expressed in the “first and great commandment” given to us by Jesus himself.

    Jesus’ death and forgiveness should cause your soul to overflow with joy, grace, love, compassion, etc. so that you are compelled “love the Lord your God…” and “love your neighbor…”.

    Action Items: Matthew 22:37-40

  15. SteveK

    Jen said:
    I realized from personal experience that if you’re not open to seeing signs from God, nothing he could do would make you believe.

    I agree. Here’s another way to say it:

    I think God has deliberately designed the universe to be like an ambiguous Rorschach inkblot test in which the pattern we see, is what we want to see, which in turn reflects what is really in our heart.

  16. Elaine

    About the thought by Anonymous about Jesus sticking around for longer than 40 days; I’ve often wondered that myself. My immediate response has been to remind myself that Jesus IS present, in the Eucharist, but, just as when He walked the earth, it requires faith to see who/what He is and respond to it.

    Then, this morning I was reading the daily gospel with my 13 year old who I have recently started homeschooling, and I found, to my surprise, that Jesus talks about this very thing. The passage is Luke 11:29-32. Here is a link to the daily reading, scroll to the bottom to read: http://www.usccb.org/nab/101606.shtml.

    Really, being a member of “an evil generation”, what signs, wonders, or real presence would be enough to convince us of the miracle of Christ?

    I just had to point you to that reading as the timing seems more than seredipitous.

    God bless!

  17. paula

    Steveg:
    Be my guest…

    Annonymous-

    Pick up a copy of Frank Sheed’s “To Know Christ Jesus” and read what he has to say about the Ascension of Christ in response to your question as to why He didn’t stick around longer.
    But then again, He is still with us until the end of time…

  18. Kathleen

    Anonymous said, “The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were insufficient to atone for man’s sins.” If this is so, then what is the point of the entire Old Testament?

  19. Marigold

    Hi Jennifer,
    I realise I'm a couple of years late to this post, but while I was reading, I was strongly reminded of an audio lecture I heard earlier this year. If you're interested, it provides a striking, quite different way to understand the cross, from the Orthodox perspective.

    The only place I could find a link was on a friend's old blog, sorry 🙂

    http://mollysabourin.blogspot.com/2009/04/understanding-cross-of-christ.html

    x M.

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