Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

I say this as a prayer when the priest is receiving the Eucharist, right before we go up to receive. 

I have often thought that if we really believed that we were in the presence of Christ's actual body,  (*note--we are.) we would fall on our faces and be unable to move. We would be frozen with awe, overcome by the power and passion of His presence, terribly aware of our shortcomings, but simultaneously overcome and filled with His all encompassing love and mercy. This is not strict church teaching or theology, just my thoughts about how little we grasp of what is actually going on at mass. 

I have heard Father Corapi speak about how much we could change just by receiving the Eucharist once. If we were able to fully cooperate with, and submit ourselves to God in that moment, there is no telling how much we would grow. ( a very loose paraphrase)

 It is not that we have to understand the mysteries of the Eucharist with our minds in order to receive grace, but rather that we believe the realities of what is contained in the host, and through faith, are open to the effects the Lord would lay upon us. After all, what Christian would not agree that if Jesus were to stroll in to a Sunday mass or service, we would all either 1. flee under the weight of or own sin and condemnation, or 2. be changed on the spot.

When I am at adoration, I have to continually reign in my mind. Interestingly, I often experience clearer thinking and have ideas about different things-both weighty and trivial, while in the presence of Jesus. My strategy is to have a pen and paper handy to jot things down so I then can not strain to remember them and let my mind quiet again. Many times, I must do this over and over. A very helpful thing to do, and this told to me by a beloved priest and friend, is to contemplate the crucifix. Another help, for me, is to picture Jesus standing or sitting in front of the exposed host. He is there, truly, so by doing this I can visualize what my place is before Him. I must do this because of my unbelief. Don't get me wrong, I believe. But my human limitations are such that I can't appreciate the Lord's presence completely . 

So, what the above phrase means to me, when I breathe it in prayer is; Lord, I believe in you as much as I am able at this moment; please increase my faith and allow me to absorb and appropriate as much of you as I possibly can.

Here is a larger section from which the passage I spoke about is taken-

Mark 9:20-29 NASB
They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

It is interesting that the man, upon being told that "all things are possible to him who believes", knows his own limitations, and wants to be full of that kind of belief, so he asks Jesus for it. That is my aim during mass and in many other situations, that I ask Jesus for what I don't have, and can't get without Him. Another nugget from Father Corapi, is to recognize what we need and ask for it. I am not talking about a shopping list here! But if you need faith, ask for it! If you need to have more disciplined prayer time, ask! If you need to want to pray, then ask for the desire for God! I have to laugh, but really it makes sense. Just keep backing up until you get to the thing you need first.
 I definitely need to exercise but I desperately need to pray regularly. I have thought of this before, but today I started a "rosary-walk". On days I can't make it to mass, but still want to pray, I want to grab my Rosary and walk while I pray. This accomplishes two things: 1. I move around and count it  as exercise while I pray, and 2. I don't have the distractions of the house (phone, laundry, kids, etc...). It was nice today, I hope to see some spiritual and physical results!

God's Blessings, 

~and now, for something completely different~

You know you live with a Lot of People when... 

1. a regular dinner uses all the dishes in the cupboard.
2. the refrigerator is emptied daily.
3. you need lane markers and a blinking light to regulate traffic in the hallway.
4. you have made two trips to go places when everyone would not fit in the car.
5. everyone's schedule is so different that there are only one or two hours in which there is no one awake in the house at any given time.
6. the bathroom never really dries out.
7. whenever you approach the house, you can always hear the hum of the dryer--it is known as the House of Perpetual Laundry.
8 .there are so many shoes piled up inside the door, people think they have stumbled onto a thrift store.
9. on the rare occasions you all go to church together, you take up a whole pew.
10. you have to jockey for a seat on one of the couches. Usually a few end up on the floor.
11. You have to jump over bodies when they are playing video games (certain ones lay on their stomachs stretched out horizontally across the traffic lane in the living room.
12. you refer to any place in your house as the traffic lane.



  1. House of Perpetual Laundry....I like it! Where did you find this? sounds like we could have written it ourselves. I love it!

  2. LOL--that's because I did write it! but thanks :)

  3. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! I also say this prayer to myself as the priest raises the Host, but it really has become something I say without thinking about it, much like you stated in your last post “Those Two Days….” Thank you for this reflection, I will keep this in mind next time I am at Mass.

  4. Beautiful post. It is one of the marvels of our faith that Jesus chose to remain with us in the simplicity of the form of bread. He doesn't want us to be afraid to come to Him, so while we can never be too reverent, I don't think He expects us to fall down in awe. I think of the Holy Spirit Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and how their entire day revolves around the consecrated Host. To those without faith, this must seem like folly, but to those of us who do believe, we know that it's just one of the many ways Our Lord displays His loving consideration for us, that we might not feel inferior to Him while near to Him.

  5. Nice Monty Python reference :) that list sounds so...normal to me...guess I'm just used to it...or was used to it...I don't think I would be anymore...i get frustrated when the cat invades my space on the couch...when I'm the only one sitting on it :)