Father & Son

It’s kind of appropriate that Corpus Christi and Father’s Day have fallen on the same day this year.  In addition to thanking our earthly fathers for their love and care, we can also thank our Heavenly Father for giving us the gift of His Only Son.  Had He not been so immeasurably generous in sending His Son to die for our sins, not only would we not have been saved, but we would never had the joy of being joined to Christ in the intimacy of Holy Communion.  The Eucharist is deeply tied to Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection – indeed we find all three in the Holy Eucharist and at each Mass.

While our sins would have made it impossible for us to share in the life of God, Jesus Christ was sent to remove this obstacle. His death was a sacrifice for our sins. Christ is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). Through his death and resurrection, he conquered sin and death and reconciled us to God. The Eucharist is the memorial of this sacrifice. The Church gathers to remember and to re-present the sacrifice of Christ in which we share through the action of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, we are joined to Christ’s sacrifice and receive its inexhaustible benefits...The eternal high priest Jesus offers the perfect sacrifice which is his very self, not something else…Jesus’ act belongs to human history, for he is truly human and has entered into history. At the same time, however, Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; he is the eternal Son, who is not confined within time or history. His actions transcend time, which is part of creation. “Passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation” (Heb 9:11), Jesus the eternal Son of God made his act of sacrifice in the presence of his Father, who lives in eternity. Jesus’ one perfect sacrifice is thus eternally present before the Father, who eternally accepts it. This means that in the Eucharist, Jesus does not sacrifice himself again and again. Rather, by the power of the Holy Spirit his one eternal sacrifice is made present once again, re-presented, so that we may share in it.

-From the USCCB’s The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist: Basic Questions and Answers

So even if you have no father to send a card to today, or perhaps you do but your relationship is broken, don’t lose sight of the most important relationship you can have with a parent:  Your relationship with God the Father.  He longs for our hearts, that we might call upon Him with complete trust and confidence in every trial.  He wants to give us life in the Family that is the Holy Trinity, no matter what our family situation is here on earth.

God’s whole plan for our salvation is directed to our participation in the life of the Trinity, the communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our sharing in this life begins with our Baptism, when by the power of the Holy Spirit we are joined to Christ, thus becoming adopted sons and daughters of the Father. It is strengthened and increased in Confirmation. It is nourished and deepened through our participation in the Eucharist. By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity.  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56)…By being united to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are drawn up into the eternal relationship of love among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…The ultimate promise of the Gospel is that we will share in the life of the Holy Trinity. The Fathers of the Church called this participation in the divine life “divinization” (theosis). In this we see that God does not merely send us good things from on high; instead, we are brought up into the inner life of God, the communion among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the celebration of the Eucharist (which means “thanksgiving”) we give praise and glory to God for this sublime gift.                              -USCCB

Being adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, we sometimes describe Jesus as the Sun around which our whole universe revolves.  This is really what each soul is called to, no matter their state in life.  While no past age was perfect, and trials, struggles and sin have been present from Eden until now, past ages did have a greater love for the Holy Eucharist.  They made Him the center of their lives, as He is the center of the Church, and this Kingdom-building bore fruit that changed the course of history and set the west apart (read How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, by Thomas E. Woods, for a great explanation of just what I’m talking about).

If the God who pours Himself out like a libation for our salvation is not the center of our universe, the measuring rod by which we measure all we think, do, say, and desire, then we end up with man as the center, and the result is what we have today, a society of selfishness, which puts myself and my own needs before all else.  This way of thinking is at odds with what Jesus teaches us about Himself, His Father, and the Holy Spirit.

This “sublime gift” that is the Eucharist has spurred the saints to pour out their lives and the martyrs to lay down their lives; it has inspired the composition of the most beautiful sacred music; it has driven the construction of awe-inspiring churches and cathedrals, marvelous buildings that, despite their age, still speak to us of the majesty of God.  One of these masterpieces, St. Peter’s Basilica, so overwhelmed a friend of mine that he sent a postcard saying “the fact that man could build an edifice like this is proof to me of God’s existence.”

Love of the Holy Eucharist has been the catalyst for man to create so much beauty throughout the ages, and still there is nothing we can build, sculpt, paint, or compose which even touches the splendor of this mystery:  that God is hidden beneath the veil of bread and wine; that the Eternal Word Who became Incarnate in Mary’s womb is also present in every tabernacle, silent and humble and hidden, just as He was at the Incarnation, and He wants to feed us with Himself.  May God give us the eyes of faith to see and believe.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the Everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honour, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty.
Amen.

 

Joyful Mystery

Corpus Christi ProcessionHow appropriate that this year the Solemnity of Corpus Christi falls just two days before the Feast of the Visitation.  You could say that the Visitation was the first Corpus Christi procession, and surely the longest one, since Our Lady traveled somewhere between 80 and 100 miles from Nazareth to the Hill Country of Judea.  In fact, as I was praying the rosary yesterday, it struck me how this celebration of Our Lord’s Real Presence is a joyful mystery, which actually encompasses all the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. 

Annunciation –   In one sense, the Eucharist is a continuation of the mystery of the Incarnation. God, in an extraordinary and mysterious way,  comes to His beloved children, to be physically with them and among them.  This happened first at the Incarnation and it happens every time the Eucharist is confected at Mass.  God’s love compels Him to do something which is beyond our comprehension, and just as His Divinity was hidden from us during His earthly life, so too, It is veiled behind the forms of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation – Our Lady takes the love which God has lavished on her, His own Divine Love, the fruit of which is Jesus, and shares that with her cousin Elizabeth. Our Lady, from a young age according to tradition, has been consecrated to God.  Her complete self-giving to God bears this fruit: she is completely other-oriented; she takes Jesus to her cousin and serves her both spiritually and physically, by lending her care and support as she nears childbirth.  As I mentioned above, her long trek to Elizabeth’s home was the first Corpus Christi procession.  Just as today Jesus is hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, at the Visitation He was also hidden in Mary’s womb, although by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith Elizabeth and John both recognized the presence of their Savior.

Nativity – We are present at Calvary, stepping out of time and into that eternal moment, each time we attend Mass. But the Crucifixion began at the Incarnation and is visible to us first at the Nativity of Our Lord. Each Christmas we are reminded of the link between the birth of Our Lord and His passion and death. The wood of the manger presages the wood of the Cross. Not to mention, the word manger means “to eat” and, as Our Lord is first laid in the trough where animals are fed we see a prefigurement of the Eucharist, in which He gives Himself to us as food. He was born in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread.”  It was at the Birth of Our Lord that He was first looked upon and adored.  Each time we adore Him in the Eucharist we are joining with Mary and Joseph in that first “Holy Hour”.

Presentation – The infant Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph. On Corpus Christi He is presented to the world, though it is a hidden presence behind the appearance of bread, as we process with Him through the streets.

Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple – Just as Mary and Joseph were so relieved to find Him after a stressful search, we find Him always in the tabernacle.  Jesus waits for us there, just as He waited for his Mother and foster-father to come to Him in the temple.  We are blessed because for us He is never “lost”, He is always present and He waits patiently for us to “find” Him.

The overflowing love of the Church for her Eucharistic Lord gives us this Solemnity of Hans_Or_Jakob_StrubxxThe_VisitationCorpus Christi, as well as all of the Eucharistic devotions which have arisen over the lifetime of the Church. All of Her Eucharistic devotions are a response to the extraordinary love of God for us which compels Him to remain with us until the end of time. Our Lady was a beautiful mirror of God’s love, reflecting back to Him in a most perfect and pure way His own Divine Love.  May Our Lord find a reflection of His love, His abiding love which abides with us in the Blessed Sacrament, reflected back to Him by our loving devotion to His Eucharistic Presence. Let us ask Our Lady, the first monstrance, the first Corpus Christi procession, the first to adore the Word made flesh, to help us grow in our love for Jesus truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The Food that satisfies

On Thursday the world celebrated the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  Since in the US it’s transferred to Sunday, we want to share with you today Pope Francis’ homily from a few days ago on Corpus Christi.

“The Lord, your God … fed you with manna, which you did not know” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

These words of Deuteronomy refer to the history of Israel, that God made to go forth from Egypt, from the condition of slavery, and guided for forty years in the desert to the Promised Land. Once established in the land, the Chosen People attained a certain autonomy, a certain wellbeing, and ran the risk of forgetting the sad events of the past, surmounted thanks to the intervention of God and his infinite goodness. Then the Continue reading