Apologize and Don't Be Sorry!

A site dedicated to thinking through the common objections to the Catholic Faith as well as questions of a general religious nature.

Location: Prague, Oklahoma, United States

Just your basic 21st century priest trying to bring the Gospel to everyone who will give it a fair hearing.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Year of the Holy Eucharist

Familiarity breeds something more insidious than contempt. Familiarity breeds indifference. Like a well-worn pair of shoes, we don’t think much of them, until the day comes along that they have to be replaced. Then we start all over trying to get those shoes into shape.

Unfortunately, our life of Faith falls into a similar rut. We become accustomed to the elements of the Faith that we take them for granted. We treat the great Mystery of our Faith with indifference. Like those disciples on the Road to Emmaus, we must come to our senses, re-embracing, saying a fresh "yes" to the truths we have learned (II Timothy 3:14-15). Our Holy Father has provided us with just such an opportunity this year.

From this October to October 2005, the Holy Father has declared a Holy Year in honor of the Holy Eucharist. In his Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine (MND), the Holy Father calls each of the faithful, laity and clergy alike, to rediscover a more profound wonder in the light of the Eucharist (MND 2). "In [the Holy Eucharist, Christ] is received in person as the "living bread come down from heaven" (John 6:51), and with him we receive the pledge of eternal life and foretaste of the eternal banquet of the Heavenly Jerusalem" (MND 3).

Some readers may wonder why I am covering this event in my column. On a practical front, the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist is one of the first topics the novice apologist must master. On the spiritual level, the Holy Eucharist should serve as our apologetics motivator. The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian faith (CCC 1324). The unity and completeness of Christian Faith that the Eucharist both brings and effects motivates our desire to clear the obstacles for others to come to fullness of Faith in the Catholic Church. Until all Christians share the common faith and the common life of worship, the prayer of our Savior, that all who believe in him may be one, remains unfulfilled (John 17:20-23).

At the heart of this Holy Year stands a personal commitment. Certainly the Holy Father expects local pastors and bishops to find ways, appropriate to particular situations, to observe this special time in the Church. With that said, this doesn’t exclude the personal response of every Catholic. As the Holy Father notes, "…I am confident that the People of God, at every level, will welcome my proposal with enthusiasm and fervent love" (MND 5). Everyone should ask themselves and set a goal for what they are going to do to respond to this opportunity, not expecting parish programming to do everything for them. Here are a few basic suggestions.
If you want more information, you could spend time reading the appropriate sections of the Catechism or studying the Pope’s most recent encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, speaking with him in the intimacy of your soul, is quite effective. It doesn’t matter if the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance. He is there and longs for your presence. Perhaps, your participation in the Holy Mass leaves something to be desired. Now would be a time to become more aware of the Sacrificial nature of the Holy Mass. Prepare yourself through reflection upon the Scripture readings used at Mass and more frequent confession. If we are seeking freedom from the slavery of sin, we are more free to give ourselves to God through the worship of the Holy Mass.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, each day, spent one hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He called it his "Hour of Power." He found the strength to serve the Church through this time, growing in love for the Lord. What’s most important is don’t let this chance past you by. Find a way to renew yourself in the Love that flows undiluted from the Heart of Christ, hidden under the appearances of bread and wine, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Dietrich Von Hildebrand that said that we
have lost our sense of the Supernatural.

10:01 PM  

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