I wrote this up actually around Christmas of 2014, but it is about a most colorful guy, still worth sharing…..
Nationally known Catholic Lay Evangelist spoke at Advent Mission in Hot Springs
Michael Crumbie firmly believes the mainline Christian view of the Eucharist as “only a symbol” is “cutting America off from the grace of God.”
Michael, who has appeared on EWTN’s “Journey Home,” is a dedicated husband of 33 years, father of three, and unabashedly, passionately Catholic. His “journey home” began as a 23 year southern Baptist pastor who held typical Bible belt, “Rome a Phobic” biases when he started becoming aware of a gnawing awareness that something was really amiss in protestant services, however sincere and heartfelt. He wanted something ‘more.’ That something more turned out to be a beautiful strand of liturgical pearls which he discovered in a long process of reflection and an honest, no holes barred look at Church history and tradition. At the second all-are-welcome session of a 4 night Advent Mission at St. Mary of the Springs and St. John’s churches in Hot Springs, Michael said that while his conversion was the answer to many interior struggles, it was not a ‘misery free’ process.
“I could preach, brother, you’d better believe it. I would go so long that I began to tell people that I would preach only as long as I had a breath mint. Then one day I went way overtime and I said proudly, ‘Oops, I had a button in my mouth instead.’ ” Eventually, however, Michael noted that his speaking gifts fell short of satisfying his longing for a deeper relationship with God. “For awhile, I thought I had arrived spiritually, but the void kept lingering. I finally decided to listen to God’s voice in scripture for more insight. I had read them a thousand times, but the verses about the road to Emmaus and the Gentile woman who Jesus healed really started the unveiling process. When I listened with an open heart, I discovered what both held in common- the focus on bread.”
“Since all Christians are not embracing the Eucharist,
there are no crumbs available for strangers either.
We are a spiritually starved nation,
unable to share hope and
God’s love, aborting our young,
vulnerable to vile evils.”
“Bread is central in these passages as the vehicle in which Jesus comes and reveals Himself to us. The disciples recognized Jesus when He broke the bread, and the Gentile woman’s Eucharistic vision told Jesus that she would even take the crumbs that fell from the table of the chosen people; she wanted Him so desperately. This is what I wanted!” That’s when the scales started falling away from Michael’s eyes in regard to the Catholic Church, but due to long held fears and prejudices about the Church, he had a long way to go.
“Everything in my Baptist head said ‘no, no,’
but my heart screamed yes, yes!”
Michael’s testimonies are genuine and honest. “I had defended Luther. But even Martin Luther did not set out to destroy the Church at first- Calvin and others did that- Luther just wanted some changes. I had to face that. Jesus started a Church, so I decided to visit cites in the Holy Land. I did not see a Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist church on any of those cites; only Catholic churches and chapels.” However, he still waffled; he started looking into worship in an “Apostolic Catholic” sect where he was eventually “ordained” a priest. “I thought I had the best of both worlds- the rich tradition, the symbols, the sacred environment, but I was still holding back from the truth of the Eucharist in my protestant heritage.”
Then one day, Michael says God prompted him to remember Abraham’s sacrifice of giving up something very valuable. “I sensed that I was to ‘give it all up- the fears, the tpride, the self-justifications, the facades I was presenting to others in that sect. I was pretending without committing.” As he let it all go, he began to realize more fully the “Anamnesis” of the Mass. (‘Anamnesis’ is from the Greek for remembering or memorial.) “Just as what God did for the Israelites before they left Egypt- commanding them to put lambs blood on their doorposts so the angel of death would pass them over; God does for us again and again in the Mass today: Jesus healing, Jesus forgiving, Jesus saving in the holy Eucharist. This is what our country and the world needs.”
Michael’s CDs and DVDs about his conversion, the truth about misconceptions of the Mass and the Eucharist, are all available on his website, http://www.mikecumbie.org/
Till next Advent, (coming up before we know it) cheers and blessings to you!