Tag Archives: Eucharist

Church of Canada priestess gives communion to a dog

communion distribution.jpgAND you wonder why fewer and fewer people take the Anglican Church (or the Episcopal Church if you are American) with a degree of seriousness. Recently a Church of Canada priestess gave communion to a German Shepherd as a “simple church act of reaching out.” What a gesture of welcome! This act is not only contravening “church policy” as much as it is an acknowledgement that the real Presence of Christ is not a Reality for these people. Policy is has nothing to do with it, does it? But if the Anglicans of the Church of Canada simply believe Communion is a symbol or that it represents something else…. Sounds like Joseph Campbell, Derida and many Protestant theologians (e.g. Borg, Tillich and Bultmann) are patron saints of mere symbol and not of Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity.

What comes to mind is Flannery O’Connor’s famous insight when she said to hell with a symbol. O’Connor said:
“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater…. She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual…. Toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, “Well if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Christ abides with us forever in the Eucharist

Just as Holy Thursday and then Corpus Christi focuses our attention on the beauty of Christ’s fulfillment of His promise to remain with us –in the Holy Eucharist– so every Thursday ought to be a day of special prayer (time spent in adoration, Mass, confession of sins, reflection using the works of “eucharistic saints”). And this is the point of this blog: sharing in Communio lived with Christ in the Church among all people. But to the point here, I think any time spent with the Blessed Sacrament “touches eternity, highlighting the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet (the Mass) and the eschatological banquet in the Father’s Kingdom (heaven)” (GIRM 281).

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In many places where adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was been done “traditionally” on Fridays, the devotion has now been moved to Thursdays to be in greater connection with the Holy Thursday event of the Paschal Mystery of the Lord.
My advice for today: try to spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, attend Mass, go to confession, pray for the Church.
Consider what Saint Thomas Aquinas has to say about the Body and Blood of Christ from one of his sermons:
Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, he left his body as food and blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.
O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value?

The Eucharist is the actualization of God’s Kingdom today

St Jerome's last Communin SBotticelli.jpgThe way of peace leads to the altar and into the
mystery of the Eucharist, the actualization of the Kingdom here and now. From
the altar, the light of the Resurrection penetrates into all that, in our
lives, remains shadowy and locked. With the Virgin of the Annunciation, we have
only to believe in Love and, believing, say faith’s simple “Yes.” Our “little
strength” is of no consequence. Let us go in to the Eucharist to be
overshadowed by the power of Love. Love will do the rest for “God is love” (1
Jn 4:16 ) and ” no word shall be impossible with God” (Lk 1:37). (MDMK)

Knowing & praying God’s name is blessed in us

In the opening collect for today’s Mass, the priest asked God the Father: “Increase Your Spirit within us and bring us to our promised inheritance.” Here the promised inheritance is none other than communion with the Trinity. It is heaven! Our promised inheritance is the pledge of future glory: Christ received in the Bread of Life. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!

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How much time in the past year have you given thought about your “promised inheritance”? When was the last time you considered your own worthiness to receive the divine gift of the promised inheritance? What criteria exists for someone to receive such a gift? With sin in the world and in our own lives, experience tells me that we want the gift but we don’t really know what it is, why we are receiving a promised inheritance from God and too often we don’t see how sin would prevent us from heaven. BUT do we have sin on our souls? If we didn’t we’d be dead or merely presumptuous.

At last I knew, my conscience, my self-awareness, my religious sense, my own experience of who I am as a person says, I am a sinner. Sin is the falling away from God; it is a radical break in my relationship with God. More precisely, “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. it has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law'” (CCC 1849). I fall from grace by word and action, by thought and disordered affections. Don’t you? The psalmist says that man and woman speak with a divided heart, a forked-tongue. Do you confess the truth of Jesus Christ all the time?

Does a divided heart make me a hypocrite? By definition, NO. But it doesn’t if I don’t pretend –at least I don’t think I do– to be anything more than what I am: a loved sinner. A man who sins, falls away from God and yet is loved unconditionally by God, redeemed by Christ. It is Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and his promise of salvation through Him as the Bread of Life that I am able to be justified. In a word, awareness of one’s sin indicates that you can’t fall off the floor. Were this the awareness of all Catholics who make the claim to know Jesus and receive Him in the Eucharist today!

So, why talk about sin on a Sunday in which we pray that God would bring us to our promised inheritance? For starters in our to accept this wonderful promise we have to be worthy of the gift. Stepping into heaven, being a part of God’s inner, transcendent life we have to be as pure, as holy as we can possibly be give our freedom to say “yes” to God and to cooperate with grace. Accepting the promised gift means that we have to deal truthfully with reality as it is presented to us. And we know from experience, reality has never failed us but we may have failed reality. The Bread of Life offered by Jesus in today’s gospel is not make believe, it is not what we want it to be, it is Himself: body and blood, soul and divinity. The Bread of Life is His real, authentic self. In order to have Christ present in our life and for our prayer to be as effective as possible, we have to consider the frequent prayer, may Your name be held holy.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage says so clearly:

We pray, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ not that we wish that
God may be made holy
by our prayers but that His name may be hallowed in us…It
is because He commands us, ‘Be holy, even as I am holy,’ that we ask and
entreat that we who were sanctified in baptism may continue in that which we
have begun to be
. And this we pray for daily, for we have need of daily
sanctification
, that we who daily fall away may wash our sins by continual
sanctification.”

We have work to do.

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

St Peter Julian Eymard.jpg

Lord God, You kept Saint Peter faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son.
A short biography of Saint Peter Julian, the founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament

A list of resources on The Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament

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]yahoo.com.
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