Lady Gaga and the online Eucharist police

I used to be a third-grade teacher and a few times I was actually privileged to watch the instant when a child learned how to read. Choppy, foreign sounds would clatter out of the child’s mouth until suddenly something would click in his mind and heart and an actual word would effortlessly issue from his lips.

It was miraculous. Every time it happened, I would be startled and the child would be delighted and amazed. It was as if, after all that hard work, we both were bewildered that it had actually happened.

Most of you probably don’t know that early on in my blogging efforts, there was a bit of controversy.

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote about how I began my journey back into the Catholic Church by attending Mass as an atheist, and I admitted that I received Communion in an unworthy state for almost a year.

Finally, it dawned on me in one wonderful moment that I should go to Confession.

I wrote about this to help illustrate the value of graduality in the spiritual life. Not graduality of the law, but graduality in the comprehension of the law. This is a reality in all of our lives.

We do not come to an understanding of God’s law simply by reading the sounds of the black and white text. It takes a whole lifetime for us to comprehend spiritual things in a way that goes beyond intellectual comprehension and really sinks deep into our hearts.

A perfect example of this is Jesus’ command: “Love your enemies” (Mt 5:44). How many of us find that one difficult? How many of us can really say we understand that? But there are moments in time that help us to move further along in understanding how the Divine behaves and how we can behave in union with Him.

You’ve likely heard that Lady Gaga posted something recently about going to Mass, and how she appreciated a line from the priest’s homily: “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.”

Little did she probably know, but that priest was riffing off a passage from the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and this line of thought is originally from the early Church Fathers who often likened the Eucharist to a medicine for sinners. Continue reading

  • Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. She recently pronounced her first vows with the Daughters of Saint Paul.
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