In the wee hours when the mind is awake and pondering I kept thinking of all the artificiality, lying, deception, fakery and illusion in our world.
The modern world seems increasingly to be a flimsy stage set, a simulacrum of reality, a plastic Disneyworld of fairy tale fakery and lies. We are alienated from reality not by suffering so much as by the sweetness of our artificial affluence. The news media lie. The educators force feed our children lies. The sexual warriors lie about sexuality and its consequences, the supporters of fetal genocide (abortion) lie about what they are doing. The politicians lie, manipulate and maneuver.
We are cut off from real food with our factory farms, fast food outlets and supermarket processed food. We are cut off from nature living in our plastic houses plugged into the artificial reality of our screen life. We are cut off from real love with our quickie divorces, porn, prostitution and promiscuity. We are cut off from real religion with the anodyne moralistic, therapeutic deism that masquerades as Christianity.
When you analyze it, we are cut off from nearly every form of complete reality.
This is why, increasingly, I rely on the Holy Eucharist. Now here is the irony: the worldling will say that religion–especially Catholic religion–is the greatest illusion of them all. The internet atheist will accuse the Catholic Christian of being the ultimate professional in magical thinking…”So you really believe the big sky pixie decided to have sex with a human girl and then he died and went back to the sky and now he re-appears when your priest says magic words at the big table in church???!!”
That is a crude and blasphemous way of saying it, but yes, that is sort of what we believe.
Nevertheless, it is at that altar that I connect with true reality. The real presence is the presence of reality. There is an objectivity that transcends my emotions, my personal opinions and all the lies and fakery in my everyday modern life. There is a reality that transcends the sin, the darkness and violence of this pale world. There is a reality that sometimes feels so real that the chalice and paten seem heavy in my hands. There is an objective reality that transcends my own perceptions and my own unworthiness, for there is the Source of Reality–a connection with the great I AM.