Into the Catholic Mystery …

Somewhere in Bavaria …

Today, I simply put up a little more from my upcoming book: Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From the New Age to the Catholic Mystery.

The book is not principally autobiography – but this is an autobiographical passage, which refers to my slow exit from the New Age world and entry into the Catholic Mystery, following my confirmation in Easter 2000:

It did not happen for me all at once, alas! For my entrance was as I have said, slow at first. I clung to many cherished liberal and New Age ideas, which are alien to the Church. But slowly, slowly I began to shed these and enter more profoundly the Catholic Mystery.

What is it to enter this Mystery more deeply? It seems I allude to a thousand matters at once. For all manner of things began to change for me. Perhaps a certain inventory is not out of place at this point.

During all those New Age years, I had scarcely met a single, sincerely practising Catholic. Although through my New Age activities, I had come into contact with an untold number of “spiritual seekers”.

At least unconsciously, I imagined that these were the souls who broadly represented the new spiritual era to come. But none of these were Catholics in a traditional sense – though occasionally I met the sort of cradle Catholic, who is enamoured of Matthew Fox.

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But now, for practically the first time in my life, I began to meet Catholics who took the Faith seriously.

I beheld an entire new world, scarcely even glimpsed before, wrapped as I was in my New Age cocoon. I also began to read intensively Catholic literature – another vast arena never to be found in any New Age bookshop. (That is to say, the kind of shop which I once naively believed was representing a holistic all-embracing spiritual culture.)

At first, I made it a point to read people on both the left and the right of the Church – everything from Andrew Greeley to Malachi Martin.

Then there was Kim. My Kim who now commenced with something very foreign to me: daily, she began to pray the Rosary. More than myself at first, Kim also began going to Mass increasingly frequently.

Site of Catholic Mystery
By Kurt Salzmann (Photographer Kurt Salzmann – [CC-BY-3.0 . Kim and I were confirmed into the Catholic Mystery here.

Furthermore, I started to meet another kind of soul – one who has been sacramentally altered. For the first time, I encountered priests, particularly as gingerly I began to have intimate dialogues – seated at first, but increasingly kneeling – in Confession.

Who were all these people I was now in dialogue with? Among many things, they were ambassadors of the Catholic Mystery. But of course, they were other things as well. For they were also folk steeped and nourished – often since birth – in the visible and invisible currents of the Church. These currents: Can we not see them as the Arteries from His Sacred Heart, bearing LIFE?

By such currents, I mean both the Sacraments and the Sacramentals, as well. Once again: I feel it fit to ask: what does it truly mean to be crossed countless times by Holy Water in the course of a single lifetime? But dear Reader, I do not mean to simply ask, but to invite you – if you will – to deepened contemplation of these things.

That is to say, I do not want simply to engage a moment of fleeting curiosity. But rather to encourage you to ask profoundly and ever more profoundly: What do such things really implicate?

A sincerely practising human being, who prays the Rosary, avails themselves of Holy Water, gazes in Eucharistic Adoration, receives more and more regularly the Sacrament of His Flesh and Blood and who is cleansed by Confession? All of this, we are told is to receive Sanctifying Grace. But I invite you not to let a rote answer suffice.

But instead, to keep asking. What does this mean for an individual? What does it mean for a community? What does the Reception of Sanctifying Grace mean for an entire population such as Ireland once was and to a certain extent still is – which population Providence would lead me to in time? Ireland bathed for century upon century in these Sacramental Arteries of Life from His Sacred Heart?

For myself, I was not only encountering individuals, communities and in time, Catholic Ireland – plunged in the arteries of His Sacred Heart – but I was also myself plunging as well …

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