Thursday, May 08, 2014

Reverence for the Holy Eucharist



We were blessed this week to have a priest celebrate Holy Mass since all the other priests are on retreat.  Not only were we blessed to have a priest but we blessed to have Father R. enrich us with his homilies on love for the Holy Eucharist.  How wonderful it is to listen to a priest speak of his love for the Body and Blood of Christ.  Today, he said that after receiving Holy Communion, we are to think of ourselves as the sacred vessels.  We are a Ciborium...we are a Chalice.  How true!

Father also told us that it is not by our own actions that we find ourselves at daily Mass.  It is actually God who guides us there.  How beautiful!

He also enjoined us to prepare ourselves and to receive Jesus in a worthy manner.  We do need to prepare ourselves before Holy Communion and it would be a good idea if we arrived at Mass early so that we can properly spend some quality time with Jesus.

We should receive Holy Communion reverently.  We should be quiet and focused only on Him who will become part of us and we of Him.

After Holy Communion as we return to our seats, we should be in quiet meditation, pondering the awesome event that has just taken place.  My own God, humbled Himself and allowed  me, a sinner to receive His precious Body and Blood!

If we make it a practice to be more reverent, it will become second nature to us to be reverent.  We will love and understand the monumental act and sacrifice by our God and we may shed tears reflecting on His love for us.

In this way too, let us make reparation for those who blaspheme Him.  It is not only students at now infamous universities that have no reverence for God and who mock and scorn Him.  Sadly, there are those who feel that unless Holy Communion is offered at a Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass is illicit and therefore will not receive Holy Communion.  How this arrogance must hurt our dear Lord!

The following is an excerpt from Francis Cardinal Arinze's the Reverence Due to the Holy Eucharist source: Adoremus Bulletin:

Reverence in the Reception of the Holy Eucharist

The individual Catholic who receives Jesus in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist shows reverence in many ways.

The most important reverent attitude is that the communicant be in a state of grace. Any Catholic who is unfortunately in the state of mortal sin is bound to go to confession and receive absolution before approaching the Eucharistic table. The Council of Trent declared that it is necessary "by divine decree to confess each and every mortal sin" (Council of Trent, DS 1680). And the 1983 Code of Canon Law says clearly: "Individual and integral confession and absolution are the sole ordinary means by which the faithful, conscious of grave sin, are reconciled with God and the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses from such confession, in which case reconciliation can be obtained in other ways" (Can. 960). Pope John Paul II in his April 7, 2002 Apostolic Letter, Misericordia Dei, requests bishops and priests to do everything possible to make individual access to the Sacrament of Penance readily available to the faithful.

It is therefore to be deplored that in more than one parish, many people regularly go to receive Holy Communion but rarely or ever go to confession. And some of them may be walking around with the weight of mortal sins on their consciences. Some such people are misled by erroneous views that very few people are able to commit a mortal sin, or that one lone act cannot be a mortal sin, or that they need not bother following what the Church's teaching authority declares a mortal sin (such as abortion, contraception, premarital relations or euthanasia) but that it is all right to just follow their own conscience. The Catholic who wants to show genuine reverence to the Holy Eucharist will make sure to be in a state of grace before approaching the Eucharistic table.

We also show reverence by the way we receive Holy Communion, kneeling, standing, on the tongue or in the hand. Even how we dress, how we walk, and how we share in the congregation's acts of singing, standing, sitting, listening and kneeling can show our faith.

Personal prayer prepares us for proper participation in the Liturgy and helps us to savor its fruits. This applies particularly to the reception of the Holy Communion. Bearing in mind that "the sacred Liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 9), we appreciate the need for personal reflection and meditation, internal prayer, continuing conversion of heart to God and ever greater desire of union with Christ. These are promoters of reverence for so great a mystery.

According to personal devotion, a communicant may wish to kneel or to sit in quiet thanksgiving after Communion. Both the priest celebrant and the choir should make room for this. And the Diocesan Office for the Sacred Liturgy should not try to regiment movements at all such moments.

Thanksgiving after Mass has traditionally been greatly esteemed in the Church for both the priest and the lay faithful. The missal and the breviary even suggest prayers for the priest before and after the Eucharistic celebration. There is no reason to believe that this is no longer needed. Indeed in our noisy world of today, such moments of reflective and loving prayers would seem indicated more than even before. It is a beautiful testimony to hear parishioners say of their pastor: "Father is doing his thanksgiving after Mass and will be available to us about ten minutes later". And why should this not be applicable to the congregation too? Reverence is not automatic. It has to be nurtured, to be built up, to be kept up...

2 comments:

Carl Sobrado said...

Take hope, dear sister Esther! For every one person who blasphemes the Lord Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, there are millions more who adore reverently the Bread of Angels.

The power of sin, corruption and death will never, EVER, prevail against the Church!

Esther Gefroh said...

Amen, Carl. You have stated that beautifully. God bless.