What I love about the Catholic Church is that we use physical stuff in worship. It makes sense doesn’t it, that Our Lord did not despise the physical realm when he became man, so why should we dismiss the idea that he comes to us still through the physical realm?

Ashes for the penitent, water to cleanse, oil to heal and sanctify, bread for our food and wine for our drink–all of these are the means of grace, all of these taken from the earth become filled with heaven. The oil, the grape, the wheat–all draw from the earth, are radiated with light from the sun and are filled with water to grow. So the physical is blessed and blesses and is charged with the glory of God.

More than that, even the most physical and intimate and ecstatic act–the sealing of marriage and the life of man and woman together becomes a channel for grace and a sacrament of love.

When we cross ourselves, kneel to pray, light a candle, smell the incense, gaze at the icons, listen to the music all these physical sensations of worship are not bad, but good. Through all of them the incarnate Lord touches we poor glorious souls who are half ape, half angel–an odd fusion of spiritual and physical who he transforms into an eternally glorious fusion of physical and spiritual.

Other forms of Christianity–which are composed in sincerity from a collection of abstract ideas, theoretical thoughts, pious prayers and dull dogmas–are certainly only a pale reflection of the full richness of the faith in the Catholic Church.