Posts Tagged 'Eucharist'

Corpus Christi

For some, Corpus Christi is a town in Texas. Catholics would recognize, however, that this town is named after the real thing. Corpus Christi is Latin for the Body of Christ. Just last week, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christ, we celebrated the gift of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ given us in the Eucharist. Many parishes may have had a Corpus Christi procession for the feast this past weekend, but whether or not you had an opportunity to worship with the Blessed Sacrament, the feast of Corpus Christi is something that can endure well past the processions and incense.

The Eucharist is a gift for us each and every day—a gift of Christ taken, blessed, broken, and shared. And this Christ who gives himself to us at each Eucharistic liturgy, well, he asks us to offer ourselves as gifts as well—not just to him in worship, but to one another as we make up the Body of Christ. How might you offer your time, your energy, your very self to others this week, that the love of Christ’s Heart might pulse through you?

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Thou Rushing Winds That Are So Strong

How many different names we have for the Holy Spirit: the Advocate, the Holy Ghost, the Breath of God, the Paraclete. These name but a few, and as we celebrated Pentecost this past weekend, I sat with the image of the Holy Spirit and tried to pinpoint just exactly how it is that I understand this Third Person of the Trinity. I sat praying yesterday morning in our small chapel during a Eucharistic Holy Hour, and since the windows happened to be open, the wind chimes outside occasionally offered their gentle reminders of a light summer breeze gracing the morning. It occurred to me that those wind chimes and the song they sing are the perfect illustration of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.

When I pray to God, speaking my heart and listening for the beating of his, it is sometimes easy to wonder if I’m just talking to myself or if my imagination isn’t creating the “insights” I would like to attribute to the Divine Being. Those temptations of doubt and skepticism can easily lead to discouragement, distrust, even depression. But then, the gentle sound of those chimes wafts through the air, reminding me that “the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going,” and just so it is with the movements of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:8) There may be no explanation, no predictability, no scientific rendering of the pulses of that wind, but those chimes wait in readiness to “catch it” when it comes through and ring out their conviction that “Yes, he is here! Yes, he is real!” And although he may be gone by the time I notice his presence, I can never doubt that his presence is real…for music of that presence continues to echo through my ears, even long after the last note has sounded.

Eucharistic Adoration for Vocations

Dear Friends,

I was just looking through the USCCB site for quotes or information on the saint we celebrate today, St. Justin Martyr, and came across this wonderful page, A Holy Hour for Vocations. In this Holy Hour format a reflection on the Eucharist by St. Justin Martyr is offered for our reflection, “[This Eucharist] has been blessed by the word of prayer instituted by Him, and from it our flesh and blood by assimilation are nourished. This, we are taught, is both the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate.”

Jesus incarnate is the giver of every vocation. May he bless all those called to the priesthood or consecrated life!

Frailty and Temptation

During this frist week of Lent we are invited to meditate on two points: our human frailty weakened by original sin (Genesis 3), as well as to reflect on Jesus’ temptations in the desert (Matthew 4). Reflecting on these two points, Pope Benedict’s Lenten Message for 2011 states the following: “The First Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the Grace that frees from sin and infuses new strength in Christ – the way, the truth and the life (cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, n. 25).”

Recognizing our need for God’s grace implies a real struggle with the power of sin that has taken hold of our heart in manifold ways. One response that the Devil often wants to produce in us is an initial resistance to convert or change our lives. He uses fear to make us think we will loose something precious if we abandon our familiar ways of sin. However, in Christ’s temptations in the desert we are encouraged to recognize that the devil only promises distortions of what only belongs to God. In following Christ through these fourty days of penance and prayer we are strengthened in grace to turn away from sin and trust in the Lord’s plan for our lives. Our frailty as human beings is not something bad in itself, since dependance on God is the way we were created to exist. However, the frailty we suffer because of the effects of original sin in our souls is a great reminder that we cannot save ourselves from sin. The latter frailty mentioned, which is caused by sin, is the clearest sign that we need to walk closely with the one who is our strength.

During this first week of the Lenten season, let’s renew our resolution to pray and fast with Christ, so that we too may overcome temptation and sinful frailty. St. Paul reminds us that “If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Romans 6:8)

St. Teresa of Avila: Transverberation

In chapter 29, inThe Life of St. Teresa of Avila, we read the following description of St. Teresa’s mystical ecstasy, also known as “transverberation”. In this description we hear St. Teresa narrate her mystical experience, in which she was spiritually consumed by God’s love:

“In his hands I saw a long golden spear
and at the end of the iron tip
I seemed to see a point of fire.
With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times
so that it penetrated to my entrails.
When he drew it out,
I thought he was drawing them out with it
and he left me completely afire with a great love for God.
The pain was so sharp
that it made me utter several moans;
and so excessive was the sweetness
caused me by this intense pain
that one can never wish to lose it,
nor will one’s soul be content
with anything less than God.
It is not bodily pain, but spiritual,
though the body has a share in it–indeed, a great share.
So sweet are the colloquies of love
which pass between the soul and God
that if anyone thinks I am lying I beseech God,
in His goodness, to give him the same experience.”

Discernment- Like a pair of old boots

There was a romantic comedy film I watched a while back in which the male protagonist said to the female protagonist “you and I belong together like a pair of old boots.” In a sense, a vocation can be seen as the right paring off of the one who is called and the vocation they are called to live out to follow.

We don’t always know how the Lord is calling us to server Him, but what we are always discerning is how a vocation “fits” our particular life. Discernment is not about an ideal situation we want to live in, rather it concerns our life, seen with honesty and humility.

If we are called to the priesthood or the consecrated life, God usually provides some type of moment in which we find these lifestyles desirable, even if we had never found them attractive up until that moment. Some people feel very gravitated to the call to serve the Lord and follow Him immediately, like St. Matthew did (Mt. 9,9). For others, it is a slow process of recognition and prayerful reflection, along with insightful conversations with a priest, sister, brother, deacon or other consecrated person.

The Lord’s plan for us is perfect, so let’s prayerfully and actively search for the right “fit” for our lives so that one day we can say that “our vocations and us belong together like an old pair of boots.”

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

In the past three to four hundred years, many Spiritual Directors have entrusted those discerning a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion, which is composed of eucharistic adoration, reparation and consecration, has led many closer to the Lord (regardless of where their discernment has led them).

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has always been a foundational part of Catholic spirituality and devotion, as far as this particular devotion is understood to be based on Divine Revelation’s message that God is love and in the mystery of the incarnation God has loved us with a human heart (Gaudium et Spes #22). As Pope Benedict XVI stated, concerning the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “Moreover, not only does this mystery of God’s love for us constitute the content of the worship of and devotion to the Heart of Jesus, but in the same way it is likewise the content of all true spirituality and Christian devotion. It is consequently important to stress that the basis of the devotion is as old as Christianity itself.” (Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI on occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas)

To adore the Lord through this venerable image of his wounded and fiery heart calling us to communion with Him is a gateway to discern how exactly the Lord wants us to serve Him. Discernment requires a true “trust” in the one we are discerning with, namely the Lord. He must have free reign in our hearts and lives in order to lead us, without bypassing our freedom. Discernment is an act of freedom to transcend one’s circumstances, limitations and inadequacies to follow the Lord wherever He may lead us. Let us commend ourselves to the Heart of Jesus, whose wounded heart calls us to trust in the abundance of His sacrificial love. “It was only the experience that God first gave us his love that has enabled us to respond to his commandment of love” (cf. Deus Caritas Est, # 17).

We’ll close with the words of Pope Pius XII:

“Consequently, it is clear that the revelations made to St. Margaret Mary brought nothing new into Catholic doctrine. Their importance lay in this that Christ Our Lord, exposing His Sacred Heart, wished in a quite extraordinary way to invite the minds of men to a contemplation of, and a devotion to, the mystery of God’s merciful love for the human race. In this special manifestation Christ pointed to His Heart, with definite and repeated words, as the symbol by which men should be attracted to a knowledge and recognition of His love; and at the same time He established it as a sign or pledge of mercy and grace for the needs of the Church of our times.”
(Encyclical Haurietis Aquas by Pope Pius XII, #97)



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