Friday, June 12, 2020

The Real Presence Requires the Sacrament and the Church


We need the living Christ, whom we can know only through our encounter with him. But encounter presumes actual presence—the Real Presence, which, in turn, requires the Sacrament and the Church that alone is authorized to give us the Sacrament, the Church that Christ himself willed into existence and continues to support. The Eucharist, at each new celebration, must be recognized anew as the core of our Christian life. But we cannot celebrate the Eucharist adequately if we are content to reduce it to a ritual of—more or less—a half-hour’s duration. To receive Christ means to worship him. We welcome him properly and worthily at the solemn moment of receiving him only when we worship him and in worshiping him learn to know him, come to understand his nature, and follow him. We need to learn once more how to rest peacefully in his gentle presence in our churches, where the Eucharist is likewise always present because Christ intercedes for us before the Father, because he always awaits us and speaks to us. We must learn again how to draw inwardly close to him, for it is only thus that we become worthy of the Eucharist. We cannot prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist simply by thinking about how it should be done. We can prepare for it only when we try to comprehend the depths of its demands on us, of its greatness; when we do not reduce it to our level, but let ourselves be raised to its exalted level; when we become aware of the accumulated sound of the prayers offered during all the centuries in which generations of men have advanced and are still advancing toward Christ. It is petty and undiscerning to criticize such prayers because we do not understand them; it is an expression of a genuinely “critical” sentiment (of which, be it noted, self-criticism is also a form) when we begin to recognize their greatness and, opening ourselves to that greatness, let ourselves be deepened and purified by it.
From: Joseph Ratzinger, Roman homilies, October 12, 1982
Link is from Catholic Scripture Study (CSS) Program

Friday, May 15, 2020

True Life

True Life is experienced and reflected by living a life as a calling, breaking free from our hardness of hearts and 'old tapes' to remaining in His Love which is how our hearts were opened. The following meditation taken from The Magnificat by Father Maurice Zundel does a wonderful job of opening our eyes to this marvelous feature of being a member of this new creation in Christ.

Jesus wants to reintroduce us to the dialogue of love by breaking the seal of the stone of our hearts so that divine life may spring again and be communicated to us by his holy humanity as the fruit of his immolation. Thus Jesus redirects our life according to the Heart of God. By revealing love to us, by opening for us this unlimited credit, Jesus solicits our generosity to make us enter into the very movement of his being, to associate us with this wonderful detachment, to root our lives in divine poverty, to heal us of ourselves, finally to communicate to us all that he is.

To say that Jesus wants to communicate to us all that he is, is to say, since every grace is a mission, that the grace of the Incarnation given to his humanity does not concern it alone. It concerns all of humanity. All men are called to see, through Christ, their self in God by forming with him one sole body, one sole person. That means that the Incarnation, of the head that is Jesus, must be extended to us who are the members. Finally, Christian life, of which Christ is the center, according to the admirable words of Saint Paul to the Philippians: “For, to me, living is Christ,” this Christian life prolongs the Incarnation of Jesus, the head, in the members of Christ.

That entails admirable consequences made tangible to us by these great words of Saint Paul: You are the body of Christ, you are members of Jesus Christ, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. What a marvel! We are here in a church built of stone, before a tabernacle made of marble, and we approach this place with awe. We observe silence. We tiptoe our way ahead to the altar, we open ourselves to the radiance of this silence which is made different by the sacred presence of the Host…. He is there for us, to consecrate us, to transform us into a living host, so that we may truly be the sanctuary of the divinity.
Father Maurice Zundel
Father Zundel († 1975) was a Swiss theologian, poet, philosopher, liturgist, and author. [From Wonder and Poverty, Florestine Audette, r.j.m., Tr. © 1993, Éditions Médiaspaul, Sherbrooke, QC. Used with permission.]

Sunday, January 19, 2020

This quote from the book, "God and the World" provides us with a the image of our being and our relatedness to one another.

 Faith is not a magic formula. But it does give us the key to learning for ourselves. So that we can get answers and find out for ourselves who we are. It is always the case that a person first recognizes himself in others and through others. No one can arrive at knowledge of himself just by looking within himself and trying to build up his personality from what he finds there.

Man as a being is so constructed for relationships that he grows in relation to others. So that his own meaning, his tasks in life, his advancement in life, and his potential are unlocked in his meetings with others.

From the starting point of this basic structure of human existence we can understand faith and our meeting with Jesus. Faith is not just a system of knowledge, things we are told; at the heart of it is a meeting with Jesus

This meeting with Jesus, among all those other meetings we have need of, is the truly decisive one. All our other meetings leave the ultimate goal unclear, where we are coming from, where we are going. At our meeting with him the fundamental light dawns, by which I can understand God, man, the world, mission, and meaning - and by which all other meetings fall into place.

Pope Benedict XVI