Believe and you have already eaten

I found this line, which I read a few years ago, interesting: “Protestants are amazed that Catholics have someone telling them what to believe and Catholics are amazed that Protestants have NO ONE telling them what to believe.” Whatever one cares to say about the RC Church (and I am not RC) one must admit that there are 1 billion of them on the planet and they have the more doctrinal and liturgical unity than any other denomination. I am not saying that everyone should go be Catholic. I cannot say whether unity of doctrinal belief is most important or is important at all. The U.U. Unitarians have a church with no doctrine.

In the early centuries of Christianity a majority of people were illiterate and there were no printing presses which is why iconographic paintings were so important (since children like pictures and dolls.)

Nowadays all you need is the ability to read and an internet connection and some curiosity and you can “roll your own” religion (like the cowboys who rolled their own cigarettes.) You don’t REALLY need organized religion. And if fellowship IS essential then you can find a few people on line that you get along with more or less.

If you want to take a slice of Wonderbread and a jigger of grape juice or Manichevitz and do the Eucharist thing, well, you can do it alone or with some others. If you need counseling or guidance you can find self-help books of all sorts, or find someone who has read lots of self-help books and has a knack for being Ann Landers or Dr. Ruth or Dr. Joyce Brothers, or you can find a message board or blog of such a person. Now Augustine said “Believe and you have already eaten the Eucharist.”

Now if you DON’T believe then it doesn’t matter if it is Billy Graham or Pope Benedict or the Dalai Lama who gave you that slice of bread and that sip of juice. And if you SAY that you believe but you keep on over-eating, and getting drunk, and smoking, and running up debts and gambling then perhaps you do NOT really believe because the fruits of FAITH are WORKS (actions, deeds, abstention, moderation..etc) and FAITH without WORKS is DEAD, and works without LOVE are like the tinkling of bells and the sounding of brass cymbals.

— Amen


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