Category Archives: Eucharist

Eucharistic coherence today when there’s division of communio

Jesus Supper.jpg

There is an interesting concept introduced in ecclesial document that has caused me to pause to consider: eucharistic coherence. In reflecting upon its meaning and application, it is also connected with the theological concept of communio, said to have derived from Trinitarian theology. Communio is used in all areas of Catholic life: how we know and live in the Church, our sacramental life, our life with each other, and our hope in salvation.

Today, more than ever we need to have an intelligent understanding of eucharistic coherence. One such place for me is looking at the experience when members of the Church are in disagree, privately and publicly with what is revealed in sacred Scripture and taught by and lived in the Church. There are many examples that come to mind. I write this reflection knowing full well that my own conversion is ongoing, that I am not a perfect witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I need to live more coherently not because of a moralism but because I want to be in a better loving relationship with the Lord.

The reception of Holy Communion to Catholics is a contentious issue in the USA. The communio among Catholics is in weakened state by a lack of coherence in belief and practice when comes to who receives Holy Communion. My own assessment is that there is no uniform approach to the thinking and pastoral practice among the bishops in this country and that some bishops have fuzzy approach which has trickled down to the lower clergy and laity who distribute the Eucharistic Lord (i.e., Holy Communion) at Mass. Cardinal Dolan has his approach to the issue, so does Cardinal Wuerl, as Archbishop Nauman as I am sure that the newly appointed Bishop Barber has an idea what  practice will be followed in his diocese. We saw in the time when Cardinal Burke was the archbishop of St Louis that he tried to teach with a distinct voice on this subject, and we can look also Cardinal George, Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Finn in the way they connect with other bishops in the USA, or not. In some ways all bishops agree; but in others they differ in how deal with the matter. Cardinal Dolan recently gave Communion to Vice President Joe Biden at Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The debates have been unhelpful because the baptized faithful, never mind the distinguishing those who have clerical status, are unclear in personal terms as to what ought to be done. But this can’t be said for all: plenty of Catholics in the USA have voiced their opinion when it comes to those who don’t adhere to the teachings of the Gospel, and the clear and consistent teaching of the Church. There are 64 million Catholics in the USA and not all of them are aware of the need to be coherent in matters of faith and practice. Receiving the Lord in the Eucharist is not a political choice, it is not a policy, it is not merely a nice thing to do because my grandmother would be disappointed and nor is receiving Communion the right thing to do when you are in mortal sin. Recall what Saint Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27).

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The Eucharistic Theology of Pope Francis: Covenant and holiness for service and life

Breaking of the bread. Español: Fracción del p...

As the “new man” on the block I am trying to figure what the new Roman Pontiff’s taught prior to his move to Rome. In 2008, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio now Pope Francis, was invited to give a teaching on the Holy Eucharist to International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City, Canada. The title of his talk was “The Eucharist: Gift of God for the Life of the World.”

I would say that his controlling idea is based on the Aparecida document where it is written, “The Eucharist is the vital center of the universe, able to satisfy our hunger for life and happiness. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood in this happy banquet participates in eternal life, and thus our daily existence is transformed into an extension of the Mass.” He then develops the theme of the Eucharist as gift and mission in light of the Church’s enduring self-understanding as covenant. He appeals to tradition, some saints and the Mother of God to demonstrate that evangelization is about Eucharistic Presence, sacrifice, and communion. He argues in the key of communio theology.

Much of what we’ve heard in the last two weeks in his papal addresses and homilies given here.

The text: Bergoglio Eucharist Gift of God for the Life of the World.pdf

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Lauda Sion Salvatorem: Corpus Christi a Mysterical renunion

Corpus Christi procession.jpg

The feast of Corpus Christi has a rich fare to savor: prayers, Bible readings, music, and poetic texts. The point of the Church offering us this opportunity to honor the Eucharistic Presence is to extend in our lives a deeper grace given in Communion theology, to have a closer with the Lord in His promised hundredfold. It is, of course, a deepening in our lives what the Lord Himself did and gave to us on Holy Thursday with Eucharist and the priesthood.

The Sequence (the poetry which follows the second lesson at Mass and directly precedes the Alleluia verse), Lauda Sion Salvatorem, is ideally fitting for the sacred Liturgy. Google this masterpiece of poetry expressing theology in a way that stimulates prayer and deepens one’s faith.

The English priest Father Ronald Knox offers a perspective on what we’re doing in observing the great feast of the Lord’s Body and Blood. The following is taken from his meditation on Corpus Christi:

Like the Jewish Temple, the Christian altar is the rallying point of God’s people. The whole notion of Christian solidarity grows out of, and is centered in, the common participation of a common Table. The primitive Church in Jerusalem broke bread day be day from house to house; its stronghold of peace was not any local centre, but a common meal. Christian people, however separated by long distances of land or sea, still meet together in full force, by a mystical reunion, whenever and wherever the Bread is broken and the Cup blessed.

Corpus Christi 2012

Benedict before monstance June 7 2012.jpg

The observance of Corpus Christi, sometimes called Corpus Domini (The Body of the Lord). In places like Rome, the traditional day to observe this feast is Thursday, connecting with Holy Thursday. A portion of the Pope’s homily is noted below (the full text is here).

… the sacredness of the Eucharist. Also here we heard in the recent past of a certain misunderstanding of the authentic message of Sacred Scripture. The Christian novelty in regard to worship was influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 60s and 70s of the past century. It is true, and it remains always valid, that the center of worship is now no longer in the rites and ancient sacrifices, but in Christ himself, in his person, in his life, in his paschal mystery. And yet, from this fundamental novelty it must not be concluded that the sacred no longer exists, but that it has found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, incarnate divine Love. The Letter to the Hebrews, which we heard this evening in the Second Reading, speaks to us precisely of the novelty of the priesthood of Christ, “high priest of the good things that have come” (Hebrews 9:11), but it does not say that the priesthood is finished. Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15), established in his blood, which purifies our “conscience from dead works” (Hebrews 9:14). He did not abolish the sacred, but brought it to fulfillment, inaugurating a new worship, which is, yes, fully spiritual but which however, so long as we are journeying in time, makes use again of signs and rites, of which there will be no need only at the end, in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will no longer be a temple (cf. Revelation 21:22). Thanks to Christ, the sacred is more true, more intense and, as happens with the Commandments, also more exacting! Ritual observance is not enough, but what is required is the purification of the heart and the involvement of life.

Pope Benedict XVI

Corpus Christi at the Basilica of St. John Lateran

7 June 2012

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

BVM with St Peter Julian Eymard.jpgGracious God of our ancestors, You led Peter Julian Eymard, like Jacob in times past, on a journey of faith. Under the guidance of Your gentle Spirit, Peter Julian discovered the gift of love in the Eucharist which Your Son Jesus offered for the hungers of humanity. Grant that we may celebrate this mystery worthily, adore it profoundly, and proclaim it prophetically for Your greater glory. Amen.

Saint Peter Julian’s importance to us is identified when he was placed on the Roman liturgical calendar:
Font and fullness of all evangelization and striking expression of the infinite love of our divine Redeemer for mankind, the Holy Eucharist clearly marked the life and pastoral activity of Peter Julian Eymard. He truly deserves to be called an outstanding apostle of the Eucharist. In fact, his mission in the Church consisted in promoting the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery in the whole life of the Christian community.
Decree of the Insertion of the Celebration of Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Priest, in the General Roman Calendar, 1995.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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