Finding a Home

April 8th, 2017 will certainly go down in the story of my life as one of the many times when God’s activity was more clearly seen. It was the day when God provided us with a house.

The Search

My wife and I had been hoping to buy a house for a long time, and we had been praying regularly for God to lead us in that whole endeavor. It wasn’t a prayer like “God, give me that house,” or “a house.” It was more like “God, we know you have a plan for our family’s housing. Please lead us to what you want for us. Help us to know when to act and how.” Coming into the beginning of 2017, we had been scouring Zillow.com and Realtor.com, trying to find a place of our own, but the more we crunched the numbers, the more we realized that we just wouldn’t be able to come up with enough money for a down payment until at least mid-2018–and that was with the help of a generous benefactor who was going to match our savings. By the end of March, we had settled on pinching our pennies for another year, trying to save as much as possible toward that down payment.

The Rental

At this point, we were nearing the end of our second year renting a quaint little cape cod in a small town in Central Michigan. For the most part, we had been happy with the place: good landlords, close to work, good neighborhood, etc. Around this time, however, we had begun to suspect there was a significant mold problem in the house. The basement leaked, and there were some plumbing and construction issues that trapped moisture in the house, so we had known for a while that there was probably some mold, but I hadn’t really considered how much there might be. Meanwhile, however, my wife had been dealing with various health issues which weren’t going away and our oldest daughter had developed some similar issues, especially as the weather started getting wetter. Amanda started to connect the dots and began conjecturing that, considering what we knew about the house and how much mold there could be, our whole family’s health was probably being affected.

The Advice

Amanda discussed this with her practitioner, who told us that the mold in our home could at least be delaying my wife’s healing (if not causing some of the issues to begin with) so it would be wise of us to try to move as soon as possible.

The Scramble

Heeding that advice, Amanda and I began intensely searching our area for a new rental. We live in a college town, so many rentals would already be booked for the next school year, but the rest would turn over very soon. The more we looked, however, the dourer seemed our circumstances. All the rentals in town seemed 25%+ more than what we were currently paying–and for less space. This just made the idea of saving up for that downpayment all the more elusive. Things were not looking good. Either we would be stuck in the same rental (with mold and possibly deteriorating health) for another year or we would find a tiny apartment that we could afford somewhere in town.

The Prayers

As in times past, when our backs were against the wall, we turned to God and to our friends. We had been praying through this whole situation and asking a few people to pray for us, but sometimes God wills a thing to happen on the condition that people pray for it, so I sent out a large group email request for friends to storm heaven . . . and that they did!

The Hunt

Looking further and further into the different rental opportunities in the area, Amanda was able to line up a few apartments to tour. They didn’t seem spectacular, but we hoped we could settle with one for a year or so.

Initially, we were supposed to go out of town to visit my family for the weekend, but it turned out my dad was going to be out of town, so we delayed our trip for a future weekend. I left work on Friday, April 7th and met Amanda at our first place to tour. It was a little split-level apartment in a run-down area of town. Neither of us walked away feeling that it was a good fit. The landlords, however, seemed nice, and they gave us a list of their other rentals that were soon to open up, so we decided to drive around and window shop for those. They also were able to arrange a tour of one of their son’s rentals in town the next morning.

We woke up on the morning of April 8th, planning to spend the whole day in search of a new place to call “home.” The morning rental tour we had set up with the landlords the night before was a bust, and as we left, Amanda and I decided to crisscross the streets of town, looking for “For Rent” signs. Up and down we went, jotting down addresses, phone numbers, and websites– hopeful that God would provide us a decent place.

Divide and Conquer

Amanda wanted to get a jump on contacting the various rental owners, so I dropped her off at home. It was nice weather, so the girls and I decided to go on a bike ride through more of the city, looking for other rentals. I pulled one in the trailer and the other was elated to use her new big-girl bike.

Popping in to See Jesus

We had found probably a dozen more rentals on our trip by the time we zig-zagged across town and ended up at Sacred Heart Church. I brought the girls in for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. On our way in, I noticed someone practicing singing, and noticed that the music was a considerably higher quality than I had ever heard on various visits to this parish. The girls and I made our way to the side niche with the Tabernacle, making acts of love to Jesus and also begging His help in our search for a home.

The Concert

After our brief visit, we turned and headed out of the church. On our way, however, I noticed that the musicians were actually friends whose concert I was invited to attend at Sacred Heart. I thought to myself: wow, they’re awfully dressed up for a rehearsal! It turns out, however, the concert was to start later that day and I had misread the invitation, thinking it was the next day. Had I read properly, we would have all been getting ready to head out for this concert.

We exited the Church, continued our bike ride search, and eventually stopped again to visit some friends nearby. The girls and I chatted with our friends for a while and decided we should get back home to grab some lunch, see how Amanda was doing, and bring her our list of findings. Our route took us again past Sacred Heart Church, where I noticed a full parking lot and I thought to myself: I wonder what’s going on at Sacred Heart on a Saturday afternoon. Little did I know our family was supposed to be inside, attending the concert that I thought was the next day.

The Accident

As I mentioned, Amanda was at home, rifling through web pages and calling landlords. She had even set up a few rental tours for the following Monday. In the middle of doing this, Amanda accidentally tapped the icon to call someone on her favorites list, but she quickly hung up and thought nothing further of it, until later…

The Find

As Amanda was continuing to look for rentals, she happened to look on Zillow and see a house for sale that was just posted to the market. Out of curiosity, she clicked to find more details. As she looked it over, something about the house stood out to her beyond that of all the other houses we had previously seen. It had all of our “must have” options and some of our “want” options–and it was within our price range . . . if we had a downpayment. The extraordinary combination of all these features stirred Amanda up enough to call me and share what she had found. I and the girls were on the way home already and the thought of a house instead of a rental was music to my ears.

The Intuition

I returned home and Amanda showed me the house. I agreed that it stood out above all the others at which we had looked. Because of this, we knew this house would not last long on the market. It would probably be sold by Monday. I had to put the kids down for a nap, but as I returned downstairs, Amanda and I discussed what we should do. If there was any chance that we could possibly even consider this house, we would have to act quickly.

I resolved to call our real estate agent who had just returned the day before from a spring break trip. I told him we didn’t know if we could actually do anything, but we wanted to see this house. I also asked if there was any chance we could see it immediately. He said he would make a call and see.

Around this time, the person whom my wife had accidentally called returned the accidental phone call, so Amanda shared the news of looking for an apartment and coming across this house and how we were trying to go see it. Amanda passed along the URL to view the details. The person was very excited and agreed that this was a great house for us.

During that phone call, the realtor called back and said: “how about 20 minutes from now?” I agreed, unsure of how we’d figure out what to do with the kids. Quickly, I called the friend whom we had just (knowing from our visit that she was likely available) and she gladly came over. God gave us intuition to know things needed to happen quickly, and He provided us with the means to begin acting.

The Drive

As we began driving over, Amanda and I offered a spontaneous prayer, offering our thanks to God for this opportunity, our trust in Him if He wanted us to move forward with this house, and, in general, resigning ourselves to His will for our housing. The drive there was only a few minutes, but at about the halfway mark, Amanda’s phone rang. It was the accidentally called person calling again-actually husband and wife on speaker phone.

This couple knew of our mold/health situation and they know the benefactors who were willing to match us to help our downpayment, and they knew we still needed another year to save up that money. They were calling to let us know they would work with the benefactors to help us with whatever was needed for the downpayment and that if we thought this house was worth it, to feel free to go ahead and make an offer.

Wow, Amanda and I wondered, God is so amazing and these people are so generous! We both were in awe as we approached the house.

The Tour

Riding on Cloud 9, Amanda and I came into the house and searched it over. We did our best to inspect everything we could (particularly mold) and everything checked out. We both could see ourselves in this house.

We let the realtor know of the news of financial backers, and we started to discuss a price. We already knew that even though the house just came on the market that day, we would probably have to offer a little above list price, just to make sure no one else made a higher offer.

The Other Couple

As we were finishing our conversation, we were walking back to the entry when we noticed another couple with another agent outside. Not surprising, we thought. This is a good house and a decent price–a combination we hadn’t found too common in our area.

At first, we thought nothing of it, until Amanda recognized who they were. They were really good friends of ours–our goddaughter’s parents! They were actually among the people who had received the prayer request email and were praying for us. We knew they, too, had been on the house hunt and that their desires were very similar to our own.

We stepped outside and chatted with them for a while. They asked what we thought of the house, and we said that we were going to make an offer. After continued friendly conversation, we parted ways–us to our realtor’s office and them to tour the house.

The Friend’s Calls

We finished most of the paperwork at the realtor’s office when I received a phone call from my friend whom we had seen at the house. He wanted to know if it would affect our friendship at all if they also made an offer. What class! I thought. It was so heartening to know that they valued our friendship higher than a potential home in a tough market–God has certainly blessed us with some solid friends! I reassured him that the feeling was mutual and that them making an offer would not affect our friendship.

Our offer ended up being higher than theirs, but when they heard from their realtor, all they knew was that their offer was not the top one, so my friend again gave me a call to see if my offer was higher than his. He wanted to make a counter offer if someone else was in the mix, but if we had the high offer, he didn’t want to go any higher. He tactfully broached the offer amount and I let him know that ours was higher, so he congratulated me. Wow, again! I thought: What class! God has surely given us amazing friends!

[Please take a minute to offer a prayer for God to provide a home for them, too. See how well prayer works!]

God’s Continued Provision

After that, minor hiccups came up, but God continued to provide.

  • Our lease was supposed to end in July, but after some conversation (and some prayer) our landlords responded that we could break the lease early.
  • The house has .6 acres but didn’t come with a mower and since we’ve been renting for years, we don’t own one, but my mom happened to have an extra mower and trimmer.
  • My aunt offered her extra snow blower.
  • I already happened to have a 5-day weekend planned just before the time of the closing (and they couldn’t be moved to later), so we asked the bank and the sellers if it could be moved up, and it all worked out.
  • The inspection went smoothly.
  • We had many friends and family members help us move and happen to have extra home supplies that they offered to give us: a lawn mower, a snow blower… We’ve even been offered a new furnace! (The existing furnace works fine but is getting older, so it’s nice to know one is available.)

The 7 Years

The day after finding the house, we brought the girls over to see it. We also decided to introduce ourselves to the neighbors. We learned that the lady who was previously in the house had passed two years prior and before that, she had been in hospice for five years. The house, then, had been empty for about seven years. We, at the time, were two-thirds of the way through our seventh year of marriage. Our whole marriage this house had sat empty, waiting for us to come along and bring life into it again. God sure works in wonderful and mysterious ways!

The Power of Prayer

It’s so amazing to see how God orchestrated all of this. There were so many moving parts over which we had no control. Now, I’m not preaching a Health & Wealth Gospel here. It’s not as though everyone who prays to God will automatically have everything he/she ever wanted. God is a good Father who knows what is best for His children (and when will be best to give those gifts). It’s important, on our end, to do what we can with the means we have available to us, to leave the rest up to God, and to recognize His gifts as such and not just chalk it up to “chance” or entirely the work of people–yes, people definitely had a great part in this, but God provided the means, the generosity, the timing, etc.

We also need to make good use of the gifts God gives us. I hope this post is a small start to our work of putting God’s blessing to good use.

Videos on the Eucharist

I was looking up resources for a different post when I came across this great video on the eucharist:

 

That got me wondering what other great videos on the Eucharist there were. So I started digging more and found these:

 

 

What about you, what are the best videos on the Eucharist you have found?

Why Christians Don’t Need to Eat Kosher

crispy bacon
Photo Credit: WedMd.com

Over the years, I’ve met a few fellow Christians who claim that we are still called by God to eat the same diet (kosher) as the Hebrew people in the Old Testament. Last summer, I met a man who made such a claim and shared with me his reasons, which basically boil down to the following:

Why Some Christians Think We Must Eat Kosher:

  • They claim the reason God declared certain animals “unclean” was because they are the scavengers (eating other dead animals and such) and they are not meant to be eaten–neither morally nor nutritionally. They claim that this is a universal moral imperative because it comes from God Himself (Leviticus 11).
  • They claim that the comment in Mark 7:19 that Jesus made all foods clean was a parenthetical note, invented by a later author. It’s not in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.
    • In that pericope, Jesus had just mentioned that the Pharisees ignore the law of God for man-made traditions. Therefore, these Christians say, it would be silly of Jesus to change God’s law right then.
    • They claim, if Jesus had changed the law right then, the Pharisees would have stoned him, but they didn’t, so He must not have changed it.
    • They claim that if Jesus had changed God’s law, He would have sinned.
  • They claim that because Peter was surprised by the command to eat unclean food (in Acts 10:14), it must be assumed that Jesus never taught that all food was clean. They claim the vision was strictly teaching him not to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles.
  • They claim the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) declared nothing about allowing previously unclean meat.
  • They claim Jews only referred to clean food as “food” (broma). Unclean food wouldn’t have even been considered food. Thus any mention from early Christians (like Paul) of all “food” being edible (e.g. Romans 14:20) only implied that all “clean food” was edible.
  • They claim the Apostles knew that the diet would be a hard selling point for Gentile converts, so they didn’t impose the dietary practice on new converts but waited for them to come to it willingly. That’s why we don’t see it in the New Testament.

Responses to Those Claims:

The Law

Yes, at Sinai God regulated what His people could and could not eat, but that begs the question: why? Was this because it is intrinsically evil to eat certain animals? Is this merely a ritual purity law? Did God have some other reason?

Many scripture scholars point to Israel’s disobedience–particularly the Golden Calf incident–as the reason for much of the Law. Prior to the Golden Calf, the 10 Commandments are all the law that God had given Moses. The Hebrew people had proven they couldn’t be trusted to worship the true God, only the true God, and in a manner that is fitting to worship the true God. 400 years in Egypt were enough to get them addicted to pagan Egyptian idolatry (and their manners of worship). They needed a spiritual detox. A detox, however, implies a time of freedom from the malady/addiction–a time when the detox is no longer needed. That post-detox freedom has come in the New Covenant.

Some scholars suggest God’s method of detox was to establish a law that made them sacrifice (and eat) only the animals the Egyptians worshipped as a way of drilling into their heads the idea that these animals are not God (it’s hard to worship something you’re forced to eat and sacrifice to the one true God). Hebrew people who did not follow these diet prescriptions had disobeyed God’s orders and were not ritually pure (in a proper state for worshiping God), so they had to make a sin offering in order to return to the community. So, yes, it was a moral imperative to the extent that God required it of them at that time. By the time Jesus came, however, God’s people were sufficiently separated from Egyptian idol worship. Jesus’ New Covenant does not require the Old Covenant diet in order to be ritually pure. God’s people have been sufficiently detoxed from addiction to pagan worship.
Here is a study by a contemporary scholar who explains this in regard to which animals were to be sacrificed. The relevant section is III.D – IV.A. The whole study, however, is really interesting.
One challenge that comes along with living this diet (and the rest of the total distinction from Gentiles) is the reintegration of Jews with Gentile people and food after thousands of year of separating themselves. They’re so accustomed to the distinctions, that it has become signs of who they are–Gentiles knew Jews are the ones who lived apart, circumcised, ate differently, etc. Jews prided themselves on those differences. When Jesus broke down those walls of separation with His New Covenant, it was hard for Jews to accept. Even the Apostles struggled to adjust to this new way (see comments on Peter and Acts 10 below). Paul’s letter to the Romans is an extended treatise on how following the Jewish law isn’t what saves someone, but rather it is faith in Christ that initially saves us and living it out in love that preserves that salvation. In chapter 14, Paul specifically describes diet, saying that if someone wishes to continue to follow the Jewish diet as a way of honoring the Lord through abstaining, that’s fine, but if another person wishes to eat all foods in honor of God freeing us from His temporary restriction, that’s fine too–as long as they don’t condemn the other.
Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. (Romans 14:3)
He who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. (v. 6)
…nothing is unclean in itself… (v. 14)
Do not let what is good to you be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God… (v. 16-18)
Everything is indeed clean… (v. 20)
220px-saint_augustine_by_philippe_de_champaigneAugustine, in his letter Contra Faustum, explains the distinction between OT moral
precepts (those that truly distinguish good/evil acts and are retained in the NT) and OT symbolic precepts (those that were meant to teach the Hebrew people, prepare them for Jesus’ coming, and/or make some other temporary point, but were not, in and of themselves, moral). He clearly taught that the dietary laws were symbolic precepts that are no longer necessary to follow physically, but that we must look at that to which the law pointed. See below:
6 (emphasis mine):  …And you persist in making out an opposition in us to the Old Testament, because we consider no flesh unclean: according to the opinion of the apostle, “To the pure all things are pure;” (Titus 1:15) and according to the saying of our Lord Himself, “Not that which goes into your mouth defiles you, but that which comes out.” (Matthew 16:11) …
7 (emphasis mine): …The apostle speaks of the natures of the things, while the Old Testament calls some animals unclean, not in their nature, but symbolically, on account of the prefigurative character of that dispensation. For instance, a pig and a lamb are both clean in their nature, for every creature of God is good; but symbolically, a lamb is clean, and a pig unclean. So the words wise and fool are both clean in their nature, as words composed of letters but fool may be called symbolically unclean, because it means an unclean thing. Perhaps a pig is the same among symbols as a fool is among real things. The animal, and the four letters which compose the word, may mean the same thing. No doubt the animal is pronounced unclean by the law, because it does not chew the cud; which is not a fault but its nature. But the men of whom this animal is a symbol are unclean, not by nature, but from their own fault; because, though they gladly hear the words of wisdom, they never reflect on them afterwards. For to recall, in quiet repose, some useful instruction from the stomach of memory to the mouth of reflection, is a kind of spiritual rumination. The animals above mentioned are a symbol of those people who do not do this. And the prohibition of the flesh of these animals is a warning against this fault. Another passage of Scripture speaks of the precious treasure of wisdom, and describes ruminating as clean, and not ruminating as unclean: “A precious treasure rests in the mouth of a wise man; but a foolish man swallows it up.” (Proverbs 21:20) Symbols of this kind, either in words or in things, give useful and pleasant exercise to intelligent minds in the way of inquiry and comparison. But formerly people were required not only to hear, but to practise many such things. For at that time it was necessary that, by deeds as well as by words, those things should be foreshadowed which were in after times to be revealed. After the revelation by Christ and in Christ, the community of believers is not burdened with the practice of the observances, but is admonished to give heed to the prophecy. This is our reason for accounting no animals unclean, in accordance with the saying of the Lord and of the apostle, while we are not opposed to the Old Testament, where some animals are pronounced unclean.

Jimmy Akin provides a more nuanced explanation than Augustine in his article Paul and the Law (see part III).

Mark 7:19 & Parentheses

Grammar symbols in our modern translations (even the KJV) are not always the best keys to knowing what was originally written. They are included as the translator’s best approximation of how the original text might have been intended. To judge a specific phrase as non-biblical strictly based on grammatical marks in modern translations (or even in the KJV) is to disregard the original document and treat the translator as the original author.

Both the Greek and Latin New Testaments contain (without parentheses) what is commonly a parenthetical comment in many modern translations (Thus He declared all foods clean–Mark 7:19).

Greek: καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα

Latin: purgans omnes escas

Yes, parentheses often indicate an explanation, but that explanation may have been penned by the original writer. Mark may very well have written those words himself. On the other hand, if something is a footnote, you can pretty much bet it is a modern addition (aside, of course, from the footnotes that say that some other early manuscripts have varying phrases).

Peter’s Vision in Acts 10

We have to be careful not to limit the meaning of scripture to a single interpretation. Many times, God wants to teach more than just one thing with a statement. The vision was actually teaching Peter BOTH 1) not to make a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, AND 2) that all foods were now clean. This is not an either/or situation.

Why was Peter surprised about the command to eat? Simple: Peter was human–a man who both grew in understanding and lived habitually. There were many times when the disciples didn’t immediately understand what Jesus taught. It had to be explained to them later. Just consider the number of times Jesus predicted His Death and Resurrection and how, when it came to pass, they still didn’t get it.

Even after Pentecost, the Apostles didn’t instantly comprehend everything Jesus taught. They had to be led into all truth (Jn 16:13).

Mark didn’t write his Gospel for at least a couple of decades after Jesus’ Ascension. Even though he wrote about food not defiling us (Mark 7:19), this teaching might not have been apparent to him until much after Jesus actually said it. Mark had lots of time between Jesus teaching and him writing to grasp this concept. (“Aha! Back when Jesus said that, He was letting us know that all foods are clean. I should write that down so other people understand Jesus’ implication.”) The same could be said for other Church leaders like Peter. The scene in Acts 10 is happening historically earlier than when Mark was writing. It’s quite understandable that Peter might not have yet grasped the full significance of Jesus’ original words by the time he was told to eat.

Peter had lived as a faithful Jew his whole life. He was habituated to the laws. Even if he intellectually grasped that there is no distinction between Jew/Gentile and clean/unclean food, it would likely still take a while for that head knowledge to make it to his heart. We can see this in how he reverted back to not eating with Gentiles (Gal. 2:11-21) even though he knew there was no continued distinction (Acts 10, 15).

The Council of Jerusalem

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) is all about whether Gentiles need to become Jewish (by being circumcised and following the other Jewish laws) before becoming Christian. The Apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, resolved only to hold the Gentiles to the following regulations:

Acts 15: 28-29: It is the Holy Spirit’s pleasure and ours that no burden should be laid upon you beyond these, which cannot be avoided; you are to abstain from what is sacrificed to idols, from blood-meat and meat which has been strangled, and from fornication.

There is no reference in Acts 15 (nor the rest of the New Testament) to refraining from non-Kosher foods.

Broma

It might be possible that Jews only meant “clean food” when they said “food,” but I have yet to see any proof. Even if this were the case, Jews would have probably still made distinctions when talking with non-Jews. Remember that Paul’s letters were written to Gentile audiences. Even if Paul might have strictly meant “edible food” whenever he said “food” to his Jewish brethren, he knew his audience in his letters and would have likely made appropriate clarifications to Gentiles, lest people get confused about what foods are actually clean. Yet, Paul didn’t make any distinction, which only leads us to assume there is no distinction and that, for food, “everything is indeed clean.”

 

Other Considerations

History

One issue that fails to get addressed by non-Catholic Christians regarding almost every position on which we don’t agree is history. How has the Christian Church always understood this position? There is no historical backup for Christians being held by the Jewish dietary laws. On the other hand, many early Christian writers are documented rejecting the application of the Mosaic law (including diet) to Christians:

Against this historical evidence for the contemporary mainstream interpretation that Christians are not bound by the Jewish dietary law, I have yet to see any historical statement by a Christian arguing that Christians should follow the Jewish dietary laws.

It appears as if this whole notion that Christians must still abide the Jewish dietary law was created in a vacuum by people reading their own personal interpretations back into scripture instead of listening to what has been consistently handed down for 2,000 years.

Authority

For a Christian who claims that we are still held by the Jewish dietary law, I think it might be helpful to ask yourself: “By whose authority do I say Mark 7:19 is not scriptural? By whose authority do I interpret the Bible to bind me to eat kosher?” Is it by my own authority? Is it my pastor or a teacher? Am I relying on the KJV as my authority (and if so, how do I know my interpretation is accurate)? Is there anyone today who has the authority of Jesus and the Apostles to interpret scripture authoritatively for us? Here are a few articles to consider that point:

The Glare off the Monstrance

If you’re like me, when you go to an adoration chapel or some other exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, you tend to have places you like to sit. For some, you might like to sit close to Jesus. For others, you might just have a spot that you sat the first time you came, and you formed a habit of always taking that seat. For others, you might just sit in a certain seat because you can view the Blessed Sacrament without getting a glare off the monstrance from the overhead lighting.

Exposition Glare

 

How often have you found yourself leaning just a bit to the side, so that you have a clearer view of the host?

We Catholics reserve the Blessed Sacrament so that we may continue to adore our Lord outside of Mass. Sometimes we expose the Eucharist for visual adoration. Occasionally, however, even though exposed, the host remains hard to see because the glass protecting it is reflecting some sort of light.

Many time I have let this get to me. I could go to any Catholic tabernacle at any other time, but I’ve gone to the trouble of coming to worship God during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and I can’t even see Jesus! Well, this was the case yesterday. I was in my low-glare spot, sitting and reflecting. Then, I knelt to pray the Rosary and all I saw was a glass full of light.

This time, however, I must have been open to a few extra graces, because a few ideas came to me:

  1. While it is true that I can better focus on whom I am worshipping if there is no glare, I am really only able to see more clearly the accidents of bread. So while this clarity of view might help me to distinguish whether a white or whole wheat host was used, it won’t necessarily afford me a sight of Jesus Himself.
  2. One one hand, the fact that I am bothered by the glare is normal–clarity of sight is a good. On the other, it really pushes me to question if I am coming to God out of faith or if I’m just hoping He will bless me with some sort of miraculous apparition.
  3. Even if a miracle is my desire (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t like to see an apparition of Jesus?), why do I let reflections upset me? If God really wanted to manifest Himself to me, He wouldn’t let a glare impede my view.
  4. Not being able to clearly see the Eucharist is a reminder of the mystery of God and His transcendence. We are waiting for the next life to be able to see God as He is. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face . . .” (1 Cor 13:12).
  5. The light shining in my eyes reminded me of the Gospel reading from that day: “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46). While I wanted to look at Jesus, I saw light, and I could “look” at that light as an annoyance or a reminder of the light that Jesus is.

What about you? Do you ever have the issue of monstrance glare? What do you do about it? Have you had any insights when “reflecting” on it?

Divine Mercy

Today is the feast of Divine Mercy. There is a special grace available today: removal of all temporal punishment due to sin (like a plenary indulgence, but easier to

IVIL
Learn more about devotion to the Divine Mercy Image by clicking this picture.

obtain–we have a generous God who wants to make it easy for us). All you need to do is simply:

  1. Go to Confession today or before (sometime during Lent is enough–as long as you’re in a state of grace today, so you can do step 2)
  2. Receive Holy Communion today with the intention of receiving the special graces.

That’s it! It’s that simple. Please take advantage of this offer from Jesus Himself.

For more information on indulgences, see my post: Indulgences Explained or watch my video on The Last Things.