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In the Breaking of the Bread (conversion story of Tim Drake)
Catholic ^ | TiM DRAKE

Posted on 02/20/2010 3:25:16 PM PST by NYer

As an Evangelical Lutheran, I thought I knew Jesus Christ because I was familiar with his word. One of Martin Luther’s rallying cries had been sola scriptura, and Scripture had been the primary focus of the Lutheran churches I had attended as a child and teen. The Liturgy of the Word consisted of Scripture readings and a homily. Three Sundays out of four, that was the service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America—the church in which I had been baptized and raised.


But it’s what happened every fourth Sunday that eventually led me into the Catholic Church: a Communion service.


Approaching the Lord’s table for the first time as a Lutheran teen, I recall the strange mixture of excitement and nervousness in being able to receive what I felt was Christ’s body and blood.


I approached the communion rail and knelt, waiting for the pastor to approach. First, he broke a piece of wheat bread from a loaf he held in his hands.


"The body of Christ," he said as he handed me the bread.


"Amen," I responded as I took the bread in my hands and consumed it.


The young associate pastor followed with a tray of thimble-sized plastic cups filled with wine. With his words "The blood of Christ," I again said, "Amen," and I drank from one.


I found the taste of the wine strong. It lingered with me even as I found my place back in the pew. While I was unable to vocalize it, something was different. I felt more spiritually mature—and felt as if I were now a full member of the community that made up St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.


Communion, as it was termed in the Lutheran church, was a significant part of the Lutheran service for me. I longed to receive communion as often as I could. But because Communion services were held only once a month, if we skipped church on Sunday—something we did with some regularity—it could be months before we would again receive Christ in the form of bread and wine.


It would be fifteen years before I would have a complete understanding of Communion. That came about through my experiences living in a mixed marriage with my Catholic wife.


For the first five years of our marriage, we followed the mixed marriage arrangement, often attending both the Lutheran and Catholic church on Sunday. I was struck, at first, by how similar the two services were. Oftentimes the Scripture readings were exactly the same. As time went on, though, I was struck by the one very big difference.


Whereas the focus in the Lutheran church had been Christ’s word as preached through the Scripture readings and the pastor’s sermon, in the Catholic Church, the Liturgy of the Word was followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist at each and every Mass. What became clear to me is that there was a different emphasis.


In the early 1990s, when the Lutheran church softened its position on abortion, I knew that I could no longer remain Lutheran. The ELCA had released a draft document on sexuality that described abortion as an "unfortunate, but sometimes necessary circumstance for some women." I could see nothing necessary in the heinous procedure. Because of some troubling circumstances surrounding my own conception, my mother had faced and resisted considerable outside pressure to abort me.


I suddenly realized that being Lutheran meant far more than just sitting in the pews each Sunday. It meant believing everything that the Lutheran church taught and believed.


That realization began my own spiritual search. I toyed with the idea of becoming Episcopal—a nice halfway point between Lutheran and Catholic—but a thorough study of the issues wouldn’t allow it.


When it came to the Catholic Church, I had difficulties with the usual suspects: confession, papal authority, the role of Mary. Most of my difficulties stemmed from misunderstandings of the Catholic position, which were cleared up through Scripture reading and a course on the fundamentals of Catholicism.


For example, John 20:22–23 (when Christ tells his disciples to forgive others) and James 5:14–15 (when the disciples put that forgiveness into practice) helped clear the way for my understanding of the Church’s sacrament of reconciliation.


Christ’s founding of the Church upon Peter and Peter’s role of primacy throughout Acts helped me to understand the issue of a Church founded upon a fallible man who could teach infallibly.


Mary’s prefigurement in Genesis 3:15, and Scripture’s description of her as "woman" there—as well as at the miracle of Cana, at the foot of the Cross, and again in Revelation—helped me to recognize Mary as the New Eve. This realization made acceptance of the Church’s teachings regarding her Immaculate Conception and Assumption far easier to understand.


A fresh reading of John 6 opened my eyes to what Christ meant when he said, "This is my body. . . . This is my blood."


My epiphany came, in of all places, before the eucharistic Christ, exposed in a monstrance at perpetual eucharistic adoration.


Out of convenience, I had started attending the Catholic Church with my wife. In September 1994, Bishop Harry Flynn instituted perpetual eucharistic adoration at the parish. A lazy person, not fully realizing what eucharistic adoration is, I signed up for an hour each week. I figured that the practice would give me some discipline in my prayer life.


The first time I went to adoration, I don’t remember genuflecting or even kneeling, but Jesus was working on me slowly. It didn’t take long for me to ask, "Who is this that I’m praying before?" Once I realized the answer to that question, there was nothing that could hold me back from entering the Church.


I liken that experience to the risen Christ’s appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Like the two disciples, I thought I knew Christ because I was familiar with his word. Yet, in the story, when Jesus uses the Old Testament to reveal himself, the disciples still do not recognize him. It is not until they reach Emmaus and he breaks bread with them that he is revealed in his fullness. Once he is revealed, nothing can hold them back. They return to Jerusalem immediately, running to tell the others of their encounter with the risen Lord.


Once Christ was revealed to me—body, blood, soul and divinity—my conversion was imminent. I approached the priest at the Catholic church I had been attending.


"I cannot wait until Easter to come into the Church," I told him. "I believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches and believes. To wait feels as if I am somehow denying Christ."


"Then let’s pick a date," he told me.


On March 19, 1995, the feast of St. Joseph, I was received into the Catholic Church, and for the first time I accompanied my wife to the eucharistic table of our Lord. Even now, ten years later and in this year of the Eucharist, I continue to keep my weekly appointment with Christ through not only the Mass but also the means by which I first came to know him: his veiled presence in perpetual eucharistic adoration, the "breaking of the bread."



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Mainline Protestant; Theology
KEYWORDS: communion; elca; lutheran; moapb

Tim Drake is a staff writer for the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine. His new book, Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow’s Church, is reviewed on page 42. Visit his website at www.youngandcatholic.com.

1 posted on 02/20/2010 3:25:16 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

My epiphany came, in of all places, before the eucharistic Christ, exposed in a monstrance at perpetual eucharistic adoration.

2 posted on 02/20/2010 3:26:20 PM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: NYer

Evangelical Lutherans are a dying breed. Indeed, infected by the fatal flaws induced by Luther himself, it was bound to happen.


3 posted on 02/20/2010 3:28:54 PM PST by Steelfish
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To: lightman

Ping!


4 posted on 02/20/2010 3:40:03 PM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: NYer

The RCIA candidates made their first communion tonight at our Church.


5 posted on 02/20/2010 3:57:56 PM PST by cajuncow
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To: cajuncow

welcome home


6 posted on 02/20/2010 5:29:30 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: cajuncow
The RCIA candidates made their first communion tonight at our Church.

I thought they had to be baptised before they made first communion, and then they would not be candidates, but communicants?

Did I misunderstand you?

7 posted on 02/20/2010 6:19:30 PM PST by verga (I am not an apologist, I just play one on Television)
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To: verga

They were previously baptized and will make their Confirmation at Easter.


8 posted on 02/20/2010 6:22:37 PM PST by cajuncow
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...
Although this is the story of a (former) Lutheran's conversion to Catholicism, and although Lutheran Communion practices have largely--and fortunately--changed, this is still worthy of a:



Lutheran Ping!

Keep a Good Lent!

9 posted on 02/20/2010 6:35:20 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: NYer

Welcome home brother!


10 posted on 02/21/2010 3:28:39 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!=^..^==^..^==^..^==^..^==^..^=)
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To: lightman
he young associate pastor followed with a tray of thimble-sized plastic cups filled with wine.

Is this the common practice in the Lutheran Church?

11 posted on 02/21/2010 3:38:18 AM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: Biggirl

Amen! Welcome home. Reminds me of my own experience in 2005.


12 posted on 02/21/2010 4:49:19 AM PST by BenKenobi (Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind ;)
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To: NYer

Practices vary parish by parish, and many parishes change their practices with the seasons of the Church Year.

Nowdays the most common method of distribution of the precious Blood is by common cup (unfortunately, by “intinction”); some parishes fill the plastic cups one at a time from a pouring chalice and/or offer the common cup for drinking. Very few offer the common chalice exclusively for drinking.

Distribution takes place either by a continuously moving line or by standing/kneeling by “tables” at the Communion rail dividing Chancel from Nave.

During Lent the most common practice would be kneeling at the rail.


13 posted on 02/21/2010 4:51:18 AM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman
Nowdays the most common method of distribution of the precious Blood is by common cup

How are the ablutions handled?

14 posted on 02/21/2010 4:57:04 AM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: lightman

We offer both the chalice and plastic cups. And communion is always served kneeling at the rail.


15 posted on 02/21/2010 6:56:35 AM PST by bcsco (Obama is the navel of his own universe.)
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To: Steelfish

Just what were Martin’s fatal flaws?


16 posted on 02/21/2010 8:22:08 AM PST by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: NYer

What a beautiful telling of Tim’s encounter with Jesus in ‘the breaking of the bread’.


17 posted on 02/21/2010 10:21:02 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: NYer
How are the ablutions handled?

Again, practices vary greatly. In the majority of parishes the Pastor consumes the remaining wine, sometimes with the eucharistic ministers assisting in the consumption. In a relatively small minority of parishes the ablutions are made in the Catholic/Anglican manner of then adding water to the chalice(s), swirling, and consuming.

That small minority of parishes are also likely to have a reservation Tabernacle.

18 posted on 02/21/2010 12:21:58 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman; bcsco
In the majority of parishes the Pastor consumes the remaining wine, sometimes with the eucharistic ministers assisting in the consumption.

Freeper bcsco commented that in his church We offer both the chalice and plastic cups.

Plastic cups? For what is supposedly the Blood of Christ? Do the Lutheran churches maintain a sacrarium in the sacristy?

19 posted on 02/21/2010 1:41:11 PM PST by NYer ("Where Peter is, there is the Church." - St. Ambrose of Milan)
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To: NYer
Yes, plastic cups.

One of my major complaints at my current parish. Back home we used the common cup.

As for the communion on a rotating basis, in confirmation class my old pastor taught it was because many of the old “prairie” churches didn't have a regular pastor, but had a circuit pastor. He would take turns through the month (or longer) going to each parish in a rotation. So (back home) it was the second and last Sunday of the month, which was when the pastor was there in the 1800’s.

My church in college, which was built much later, has communion every Sunday. As does my sister's in Chicago which was built in the early 1800’s but had a regular pastor.

20 posted on 02/21/2010 6:47:48 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: NYer

**When it came to the Catholic Church, I had difficulties with the usual suspects: confession, papal authority, the role of Mary. Most of my difficulties stemmed from misunderstandings of the Catholic position, which were cleared up through Scripture reading and a course on the fundamentals of Catholicism.**

I pray for the wisdom of God to touch many of the Protestant FReeprs here.

Thanks, Tim Drake, for your testimony!


21 posted on 02/21/2010 6:51:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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