Why Suffer?

It was almost a week ago when I began experiencing a gnawing pain in my mid back.  It was uncomfortable but I didn’t think too much of it.  However, it became increasingly worse, and by the next day, it was intolerable.  I took some Aleve® like I always do when in pain, plus I had some left-over muscle relaxer, which I began taking as well.  I’ve had chronic osteoarthritis for 20 plus years, so my usual routine when I have pain is to take those medications and get on with my busy life!  I was certain I’d be better in about three days.  That’s the usual process when I have back pain.

I have a dear friend who has endured excruciating pain and suffering for over three years.  Very little can be done for her as this disease is rare and has no cure yet.  I’ve prayed frequently for her during these years and often wonder if there is anything else I could do for her.

“Offer it Up”

Since becoming Catholic, I’ve heard people talk about “offering up” their pain or anxiety for the salvation or healing of someone they know and love.  This was a brand-new concept for me, but it made sense, so I have been trying to do that for my friends and family ever since.

What does the phrase, “offer it up” mean?  I had never heard of it before, but when I learned of ts context, it made perfect sense to me.  The Catholic church calls it Redemptive Suffering.  For example, when my pain flares up, I’m beginning to realize that I can give that pain (offer it up) to Jesus on behalf of someone else.  My suffering, therefore, is not wasted or meaningless when it’s united with Christ’s suffering on the Cross. In prayer, I unite myself to Him in His suffering as I pray for others.  I’m beginning to understand that I can embrace my pain as an act of love by joining Jesus in His suffering for me!  This is definitely an act of the will, because it’s not something I would choose to do!  But if I “offer up my pain” to Him on behalf of someone else’s suffering, and consciously suffer with Jesus, then my pain has not been wasted!  I am just a beginner, but I’m learning to accept whatever causes me pain, and ask God to use it for a specific reason close to my heart. This isn’t at all easy to do but it does make the suffering more meaningful and bearable!  It’s hard to explain but it’s another awesome mystery of the Catholic church!

As I offer my pain up to Jesus for the person I’m praying for, He helps me love them the way He loves me!  I’ve seen God work through this for the people I pray for.  It is so precious to sense Christ’s love in this way!  This is a bittersweet experience, because pain is bothersome and difficult.  However, I find I am able to experience more of Christ’s divine love for me as a result!  This discovery has drawn me closer to Jesus even though I don’t always remember to “offer up” my grief, anxiety, annoyance, or whatever pains me in the moment.

Day six of this back pain arrived and I still had no relief.  By now I was more alert to Christ’s presence in me as I suffered.  The pain was keeping me up at night and I realized that I’d been spending more time groaning than praying. It finally occurred to me that I needed to “offer up” this pain for my friend. What joy that brought me to remember that my pain wasn’t being wasted! So I willingly began praying for her through my suffering.

God can use our pain to benefit others, like my friend, as we pray for them.  I benefit as well for I am better able to deal with pain, including the emotional and mental aspects.  As I experience the emotional aspect of pain, I’ve been able to offer that up to Jesus as well, and I truly sense His healing touch. What a blessing that is for me in those moments.

God’s Word says…

Does this sound ridiculous?  Scripture is pretty clear about suffering, but I had never seen it in that way.  The redemptive connection in joining my will to Christ’s suffering had never occurred to me.  Imagine my surprise to discover that we are called to share in His suffering!

Romans 8:16-18 says: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”

Philippians 1:9 says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.”

This new perspective on suffering is changing me as a result.  While I’m still learning what Jesus means when He asks us to “join Him in His suffering”, I’m beginning to really appreciate its value, as difficult as it is in the moment.

Colossians 1:24 says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the church.”

It seems that Paul is saying that we are privileged to share with Christ in the redemption of His creation!  I had never thought of that, but if He asks us to share in His suffering, then we are also sharing in His redemptive work, which brings Him glory.

Scripture affirms that we will suffer.  It’s up to me as to how I will handle it.  It doesn’t make the pain less intense, but I’m certain it isn’t wasted.  As I worked that sixth day of pain, I asked Jesus for a deeper understanding of what He wants to accomplish through my pain, and I sensed a tender hug around my heart.  I’m open to hear His Voice, and by His grace I’m taking a few steps toward that end.

 

It’s a Mystery!

The Mystery!

When I was a little girl I used to worry that I was going to hurt Jesus after receiving Him in Holy Communion, because the wafer (His Body) would stick to the roof of my mouth and I didn’t want to scrape Him off with my tongue!  So, what does it mean that Jesus is truly present in that wafer Catholics partake of at Holy Communion?

I had no concept of what that really meant as a child.  After many years being an Evangelical, and returning to Catholicism, I now see the goodness, beauty and truth in it.

Scriptural Evidence

In Mass, after the Scripture is read from the Old and New Testament, we kneel before the Lord for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I never tire of listening to the priest as he asks God to change the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood.  The priest speaks with authority from his anointing and says: “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all Holiness.  Make Holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down Your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And then he proceeds to quote Christ at the last supper saying: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is My Body, which will be given up for you.” And “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in memory of Me.”  (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The priest continues: “Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of His Death and Resurrection, we offer You, Lord, the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation, giving thanks that You have held us worthy to be in Your Presence and minister to You.  Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.”

What if this really is the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?  What if it really is?  It seems so bazaar but at the same time… could it really be Him?

Jesus said it… I believe it!

Here’s a question for us to ponder: if we can believe that Jesus was born of a virgin (which in itself is such a miracle), performed miraculous signs and wonders, literally rose from the dead, and even, when the doors were locked, appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room, why can’t we believe His very own words from Scripture?  He stated that He is real food and real drink as presented in the Bible (John 6:55), which began in the early church at the time of Christ.  He may have ascended into heaven and apparently left us alone, but He really didn’t leave us alone after all! He granted us the privilege of providing for us a way of abiding in Him through the gift of His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist!

I marvel at the fact that 2,000 years later, the Mass is still being celebrated as it was instituted by Jesus Christ in the Upper Room.  There have been so many personal testimonies of people experiencing Christ’s presence deep within them as a result.  What a privilege it is for me to join that long line of people who have experienced the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  That’s why I am writing this blog. I can’t keep quiet!

Allow me, as a beginner of course, to do my best at explaining this in both a Scriptural and historical context.  From the time Jesus established His church upon the Apostles, there is a continuous thread that runs through the church Fathers to this present time.  Jesus Himself said: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My Flesh is real food and My Blood is real drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me, and I in them.  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” – John 6:54-56, 63. 

Christ’s Real Presence is verified through the writings of the Church Fathers, who lived soon after Christ’s death and resurrection, many of whom were discipled by Christ’s own apostles.  St. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 AD), a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote that “the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins and which the Father in His goodness raised.”  St. Ignatius’ argument would not have been persuasive to his opponents unless belief in the Eucharist as truly the Body and Blood of Christ was pervasive, even among heretical groups, by the year A.D. 106.  http://chnetwork.org/2010/03/16/the-real-presence)/

Abiding in Him

There is something different that happens in me as I partake of Christ’s Body and Blood.   He gives me a fresh filling of Himself every time.  He nurtures me and provides me with all that I need to face life as it is.  He speaks to me as I kneel before him.  The acrostic I focus on as I, in sweet humility, kneel before Him after receiving Him is the word ALTAR.  It is before the altar of God that I experience Christ, and my focus is the following:

  • A – I ADORE Him
  • L – I LOVE Him
  • T – I THANK Him
  • A – I ASK something of Him
  • R – I resolve to act on something He reveals to me

As I process this acrostic, I know Jesus, in me, speaks to my heart and soul and ministers to me in ways I’ve never experienced before.

I look at the Holy Eucharist as a two-sided coin.  On one side I see this doctrine so difficult to understand for so many, as it was for me.  I believe the difficulty is due to its profound mystery, that even Jesus spoke of, by saying that some won’t believe it. (John 6:63-64a).  However, what I see on the other side of this coin is the integral dynamic of Christ’s Holy Presence in each of us after we receive Him in Holy Communion!  This is where the rubber meets the road for me personally! Words fail me to describe what Jesus Christ does in me as I partake of Him, just as his disciples did at the Last Supper.  And this is the reality of what takes place in the Mass.

Understanding Christ’s Presence in The Holy Eucharist compels me to share what I know and experience in Him.  It is something I cannot contain, nor can I define, but I know is real: Christ in me; living, abiding, nurturing and sustaining me day after day by His Holy Presence and Peace.

 

My Psalm of Praise

 Praise be to the God of Heaven!

Praise be to His Glorious Son!

And Praise be to the Holy Spirit;

Three in One.

I hungered for deeper things of God.

He knew the depth of my heart,

And filled it with His Love.

I thirsted for a deeper song.

My Lord knew the thirst of my soul

And filled it with His Peace.

I sought God to satisfy my longings

He came to me with open arms

And touched my soul with His Love.

I seek Him.  I find in Him sweet sweet Peace.

He grants serenity amidst the chaos,

And  fills me with His Grace.

May Jesus be forever praised!

He showers me with abundant joy,

And nourishes me with His Presence!

Blessing and honor be to the God of my life

He has filled me with everlasting joy,

A joy that words cannot express.

Praise be to the God of Heaven!

Praise be to His Glorious Son,

And Praise be to the Holy Spirit

Three in One.

My heart leaps for joy today!  I cannot thank Him enough for the mighty work He is doing around me!  May He be honored, blessed  and glorified… my heart is thankful beyond words!

 

From Tears of Fear to Tears of Joy

 

From Tears of Fear to Tears of Joy

I used to tear up every time Gary would talk to me about becoming Catholic.  Could they have been tears of fear?  I remember early on in Gary’s journey I made this comment, after another such tearful moment: “This is so confusing.  I’ve always teared up when something good affected me spiritually, but these tears?  What is this?”  Gary didn’t answer me.  Those tears confused me because I was certain they weren’t directed by God!  Goodness no!  I was sure God wasn’t calling me to become Catholic like Gary!  Those moments took me by surprise because they weren’t the usual joyful tears I’d experienced in the past when I sensed God touching my heart. 

Was this perhaps fear?  Yes, fear it was.  Little by little I realized I had a fear of following Gary into the Catholic church, but couldn’t put my finger on why.   Why was I so affected emotionally and so devastated that he was committed to becoming Catholic?  I realized later that my fear was grounded.  I was his wife and that meant that I would most likely join him, if not for any  other reason than my love for him, and that bothered me.  I later asked him what he thought about those tearful moments.  He said he knew God was knocking on my heart’s door and doing something deep within me but he couldn’t tell me that at the time.  He knew it was hard enough to see my tears of angst and he didn’t want to make matters worse for me.  I married a spiritually sensitive man indeed!

As I look back, those tears were definitely tears of fear but I was unable to acknowledge them as stepping stones toward my journey into Catholicism.  Had I let myself ponder the “why” of those tears, and searched my heart, I probably would have considered following Gary a lot sooner than I did!  

Tears of joy…

After surrendering my will to God’s Will over two years ago, I welcomed the tears of deep joy, peace and freedom once again!  I was free of that earlier fear and I began walking victoriously once again toward a new and exciting journey with Jesus!  I may never have gotten past those tearful moments of angst and fear because I wasn’t allowing myself to understand what was happening to me.  Thankfully I finally asked God for a sign to prove it to me!  Perhaps He was simply waiting for me to ask Him all along, because He knew I’d never come around otherwise! Ha!

Now as a committed Catholic, I am frequently overcome with a sense of peace and joy as I encounter Christ’s Presence the moment I walk into a Catholic church!  Jesus Christ is truly there!  He resides in the Tabernacle where the consecrated Host, called the Blessed Sacrament, is located.  I now know that “the Glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is truly Present in the bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.” (USCCB).  Jesus is present in the Host located in the Tabernacle and that is why one can truly sense His Presence upon entering the church!

The manner of which I worship the Lord Jesus Christ has been completely transformed since becoming Catholic.  He is literally Present in every Catholic church across the world.  What a joy to know that no matter where I may travel, I will always find Him, literally, in the Tabernacle of any given Catholic church, and can adore Him in whatever culture I find myself!  Such peace.  Such joy!

The Celebration of the Mass

I love attending Mass every single day!  I go because I get to sit, kneel and stand before Our Lord in worship, song and active listening to His Word without distractions!  I can’t get enough of Him in this way!  It’s so beautiful to experience Christ in the Mass… and most difficult to explain, but I will attempt to do so here.

The essence of Christ’s Presence in the Mass truly is a mystery, but a most beautiful one at that!  The Mass, believe it or not, is saturated with scripture!  Scripture is read from the very beginning with the sign of the cross in words that come straight from the lips of Jesus (Matthew 28:19), then throughout the Mass, to the last words spoken at the end of the Mass (Corinthians 1:20).

“The Bible’s meaning and purpose is fulfilled in the Mass – the words of Scripture become ‘spirit and life…the words of eternal life’ (John 6:63,68).  We address God in words that He Himself has given us through the inspired writers of Sacred Scripture.  He in turn comes to us – instructing, exhorting and sanctifying us – through the Living Word of the inspired Scriptures in the Mass.”  (Dr. Scott Hahn, former Presbyterian pastor, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology)

The focus of the Mass is solely on Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord.  I am so blessed to receive Him in Holy Communion every day… His cleansing, His filling and His nourishment in a way I’ve never experienced before.  Early on in my indecisiveness about the Catholic church, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that Christ was actually present in that little white wafer that Catholics ingested at Mass.  I later heard something that really affected me: “Think about this … what if, just what if Christ were truly present in the Host!  Wouldn’t you want to experience Him and His Love for you in that way?”  It’s a mystery, a beautiful mystery.  Why wouldn’t Christ want to “abide” in us equally now as in the days when He walked this earth?  After all, He spoke of that in John 6:53-56.  That made sense to me.  God loves his creation now as much as He did over 2,000 years ago.  We have that provision in the Holy Eucharist, because through receiving Him in that form, He abides (remains) within us.

As I kneel before the Holy Presence of Our Lord, I find myself worshipping Him in adoration and humble submission – often with tears.  Thankfully, these tears are no longer tears of fear, but of deep joy and a peace that truly surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus, my Lord!  Amen and amen! 

I Wish I Had Known…

 I Wish I Had Known…

After finally obeying God’s call to become Catholic, I was so excited to get started that I could hardly contain myself! We were then introduced to RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  It’s the official class taken by adults for entrance into the Catholic Church.  RCIA is not simply a class in theology, it’s also formation. “An apprenticeship through which people come to know Christ.  It involves the entire Christian community, not just the priests. The goal is not just intellectual change, but also ‘a conversion of heart’.”  (catholic.org).  We attended the weekly classes from September to March of 2015.

I wish I had known and recognized the beauty and truth of the Catholic church before my parents passed away.  What awesome fellowship we could have had together! Attending RCIA opened my eyes to truths I had never allowed myself to imagine could be possible in Catholicism.

There was so much I learned in those classes, some of is the following:

  • The Catholic church’s teachings are found in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.  It’s a text which contains the church’s fundamental Christian truths.
  • Scripture is read at daily Mass from three different parts of the Bible: The Old Testament, the Gospels and the Psalms, and on Sunday there’s an additional reading from the Epistles.
  • The very same daily Mass (daily!) is celebrated all over the world! It’s universal!  No matter where you are in the world, you can experience the same Mass and scripture readings for that very day! Amazing!
  • Everything in the Mass has significance and is based in Scripture.  From the moment one enters the church and senses a holy reverence, Christ’s Presence and silent prayer throughout the church, to the last hymn sung after the priest declares, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”, everything in between has deep scriptural meaning!
  • The Mass is celebrated in two parts: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). The Scripture readings and the homily (sermon) prepare us and lead us to a divine encounter with Christ as we receive Him in the Eucharist.

There was so much more we learned while attending RCIA.  The most significant was that of the Sacraments.  There are seven and I will explain what they have meant to me in future blogs.

The focus of this blog is that of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).  How often did I refute confession in the Catholic church by declaring, “There’s no way I’m ever going to confess my sins to a priest!”  How wrong I was!  Oh how my heart has changed!  I now cherish the sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s a treasure I can’t let go of!

The peace of mind and soul I receive from this sacrament is one for which there is no substitute! There is a peace that flows from a certainty that my sins have been forgiven and that I am clean and free before my God! Period. This is a Grace I have not known to this extent before!

Having experienced the depth of this sacrament, I wonder if can I clearly explain the gift it truly is!  Its very title speaks of healing: reconciliation = to reconcile, to align.  This is where I align my heart to God’s.  It is true freedom and true peace.

Confess to a priest?  No way!

I lack words to describe the sweet peace I had upon sharing, for the first time in over 40 years, face to face, my life’s sins to our parish priest!  It was a healing, sanctifying moment for me, and one that continues to refresh my heart and soul on a regular basis.  One bonus of this sacrament is that it motivates me to stay as clear away from sin as possible!  Why?  Because this sacrament is so sacred.  The priest has been anointed by the Holy Spirit to absolve sins, because he represents Jesus Christ, “in persona Christi” as he, in Christ, absolves sin.

Things have changed since I was a kid.  Back then I confessed my sins, received my penance, then went home without really understanding what God had actually done in me.  I have now discovered that part of the beauty of confession is that we can ask the priest for counsel specific for what is shared.   I see Jesus in the priest and I feel embraced by His Love every time I confess the “stuff” in my heart and life that I need to let go of. That’s where the freedom comes, because the priest shares exactly what Jesus would have him say to me for healing to begin.

Before saying “yes” to Catholicism, I had attended Catholic Underground a couple of times (mentioned in a previous blog), and there was always a long line of people waiting for confession.  I thought to myself, “That’s so embarrassing!  I could never stand in line to confess my sins like that!”  Little did I know that one day I would want to be the first one in line for confession! I always look forward to it and I go frequently!  And yes, to tell a priest my sins, fears, angst and concerns, face to face, is quite humbling, but the freedom and peace it brings surpasses any fear of embarrassment! It’s like opening the blinds on a dreary, rainy day to find that the sun has come out, and a rainbow has appeared in the sky just for me!

Face to face confession to a priest is not required.  It is offered, and in my case, definitely preferred.  I so appreciate that the priest gives godly counsel regarding each particular confession.  He is speaking on behalf of Christ, with a wisdom from God to a depth that I don’t remember experiencing before.

I wish that I had known.

 I wish I had known, understood and experienced the beauty and truth of the Catholic church years ago, or at least sooner during that year and a half I spent refusing to open my heart to it.  My purpose for this blog is simply to share what God has done and continues to do in my life as I experience what it means to walk with Him in the Catholic church.  It is a joy to serve Him during Lent this year: it’s different and deeper than ever before and I’m so grateful to experience His embrace as I prepare myself to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God’s Love Never Gives Up!

DRAGGING MY FEET!

It amazed me how very patient my husband, Gary, was and how well he handled my stubborn unwillingness to be willing to consider joining him on this journey.  I just couldn’t see it for me.  I knew, however, deep in my heart, that there would be a day when I would surrender to it. He told me he would wait for me as long as was necessary, and, well, I’m his wife and we’ve always been on the same page spiritually!  I knew it would happen someday, but… please, just let me drag my feet a bit longer, Lord…!

Little by little he dared to share a book or article with me (which I usually didn’t read!), and have me join him in watching a few episodes of The Journey Home, which I usually pretended to be interested in.  The Journey Home is a TV program, hosted by a former Presbyterian minister, Marcus Grodi, who interviews new converts to the Catholic church.  Typically his guests are former evangelical ministers, teachers, and missionaries from a variety of denominations, both conservative and liberal, as well as atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah Witnesses, and a variety of other religions. They are men and women who have embraced the direction God was leading them in as they pursued a journey into the beauty and truth of the Catholic church.  I mention The Journey Home because God used it to  provide answers for both Gary and me on this journey.  For Gary, it was to confirm and better understand what was happening in his own life.  For me, God used one of the programs to impact me in a way that took me to my knees (figuratively) in awe whereby I surrendered to His call to become Catholic.

As I said earlier, Gary waited patiently and prayed continuously for me.  I finally, after just over a year of digging my feet into the ground (or carpet in my case!), realized that I was in a state of rebellion.  I was refusing to give in and follow Gary  in becoming a Catholic, and I knew it! My stubbornness became rebellion because I knew God was asking me to obey Him and follow my husband.  I found myself becoming more and more negative around him, more irritable and cranky… why?  Because in my disobedience to give in to God’s nudging to do this, I was sinning.  I felt ugly inside and knew that had to change! 

THE MINI-MIRACLE

Upon recognizing my need to give in, I became “willing to be willing” to watch more testimonies on The Journey Home of how God worked in the lives of those who have entered the Catholic church, especially from an evangelical background.  I was determined to “get it” even though I knew I wasn’t as willing as I should’ve been.  I hated that my heart was so disobedient and this caused me great distress.  This meant I certainly had to figure it out!

Soon after that heart change, in February of 2015, a former Nazarene pastor was on The Journey Home program and was recounting an experience he had that brought him into the Catholic church.  It was a mini-miracle; a sign that God used to prove to him that he was to become Catholic.  At the end of the program, I turned to Gary and said, “Now that’s the sort of thing I need!  I need a sign that this is what God really wants me to do!”  Duh!  I knew I needed to obey, but thought, why not?  Why not a sign… that’ll really prove it!

I meant it, but didn’t really want it! Ha! How stubborn can one get?

That Sunday night, March 1, 2015, God presented me with the same mini-miracle that the former Nazarene pastor experienced, and that was all I needed! I was IN!  I couldn’t believe it(!), but on the other hand, I could, because that’s exactly what I had asked for!

I wanted to be certain, so I asked God to confirm it for me just to be sure (talk about stubborn!), which He did at a Worship Night called Catholic Underground, the following Saturday.  It was crystal clear now.  Every bit of my being surrendered to God that evening and I was overwhelmed with a resplendent sense of peace and freedom beyond words.

So now what?  Talk about doing a 360!  I couldn’t wait!  My heart was free of its disgusting “dragging feet” syndrome.  My life was pure and victorious once again, and I was beyond excited to get going! 

THE NEXT STEPS

What was next?  A few months previously we had attended a Christmas Midnight Mass in a church uptown.  After the mini-miracle we decided to make an appointment to speak with the pastor there.  We hit it off right away.  He is bilingual which was very appealing to me, because it was something I’ve really missed since my missionary days in Peru.  He explained about the classes one takes to become a member of the Catholic church were to begin the following September.  We spent the summer months observing, reading and participating as much as we could in the Mass, meeting new people and getting acclimated to the way things are done in the Catholic church.  What joy we shared as we discovered the beauty in the history of Christianity through the Church Fathers!

I must stop right here to say that we serve a God who doesn’t give up!  I thank Him beyond words for patiently nudging me, wooing me, and knocking time and again on my heart’s door.  God’s love never gives up!  He knew I needed this church with its richness and depth that is beyond my imagination.  He knows my heart, my future, and why He chose to do this.  I’ll never really understand, but I don’t need to!  What I do know is that it has been the most glorious and breathtaking transformation I’ve ever had in my life as a Christian!  I can’t get enough of Jesus Christ and who He is as I spend time with Him each morning with the Divine Office readings online, at daily Mass and as I receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.  He is my Daily Bread I can’t live without!