Category Archives: Eucharist and Mass

Corpus Christi – O, How I Love the Eucharist

The Thursday after Trinity Sunday is the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ.)  For Catholics everywhere this should be a very big deal. Jesus, before His passion, when He knew that He would be separated from His humanity, gave Himself to us in a very intimate way.  He didn’t leave us orphaned.  When He told His apostles that He would be with us to the end of the world, He meant it. He gave us the Eucharist–His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

A long time ago, when I was in the 7th and 8th grade, we had a Corpus Christi procession on the Feast when we walked reverently through the streets of the small city where our church was located.  I dressed in my Sunday best and marched along with several hundred other people with the Blessed Sacrament.  I was allowed to attend with my school friends.  We didn’t need a nun to remind us of the solemnity of the occasion.  We were silent except when singing hymns or praying with the others around us.  What a great memory!  Unfortunately, these were the last of my Corpus Christi processions of my childhood.  Our parish never did them again.

I’ve always loved the Eucharist.  I love the Adoration Chapel.  When the parish instituted perpetual adoration a few years ago, I committed to two hours.  However, this was stopped by one of our pastors a few years ago.  I still go once a week.  Been doing it for years.  My days are busy and so full of distractions; yet, when I walk into the chapel, it’s as if Jesus is asking me to sit with Him and learn from Him that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”  In the Chapel, it is easy to gaze upon Him and feel myself in His presence much like the disciples were with Him in Galilee.  There is only the two of us.  Worries and distractions are far, far away.  I am at peace.

I fear for my Protestant brothers and sisters who don’t believe in the Real Presence.  I fear for those who call themselves Catholic and don’t believe in the Real Presence.  I especially fear for those who call themselves priests and bishops who don’t believe in the Real Presence or allow abuse of the sacrament.

There’s a prayer that the priest says before consuming the Eucharist at Mass.  It’s a good prayer for all of us to pray.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your Death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and blood, from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments and never let me be parted from you.”

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine.  All Praise and All Thanksgiving Be Every Moment Thine.

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Our Church is Effeminate!

Notice I didn’t say feminine. I wouldn’t insult those of us who try to be Proverb 31 women; truly feminine in every Godly sense. I’m not comparing our Catholic Church to us. In fact, if she started to act like a true Bride of Christ, things might be different.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately especially in light of certain headlines.

A parish pastor is excoriated for only having male altar servers in the sanctuary.

An archbishop is taken to task because he defends doctrine about homosexuality.

The nuns who believe abortion is okay; sodomite marriage is okay; contraception is okay; are told by the Vatican to carry on, because “we’re okay and you’re okay.”

The Cardinal who thinks that “All are welcome, children, into the light” but only if you are gay and proud and marching in a St. Patrick’s day parade.

Non-Catholics being given the Eucharist during a funeral Mass for an Archbishop.

Three Roman Catholic (sic) priestesses ordained? Yeah! Right!

I think you got my point. Now I want to bring it back to our liturgy.

The Novus Ordo Mass is rife with the female touch and not in a good way. The choir directors are usually women and most of the choir is also. The music is lame. I mean why have great male voices chanting some great Latin when we can have that good old Protestant standby, “Amazing Grace?”

I remember when the only people allowed on the Eastern side of the communion rail were men. I also remember how awestruck I was when I saw Sister Leticia changing the altar cloths one afternoon. She was a Franciscan nun and the sacristan at our parish. I realized then that if I wanted to get that close to the altar, I was going to have to be a nun and become a sacristan. Now, women swarm all over the altar as Eucharistic Ministers, altar girls, lectors and even ushers. Nothing is sacred.

Here’s what I pray. I pray that the masculine will come back to our liturgy. I pray for a priest that will speak about the four last things from the pulpit. I pray for bishops to man-up and stop giving Communion to known pro-aborts. I pray for the day when Catholic men will start being the leaders that God meant them to be in their families, in their Church, and in their communities. Then, maybe women will acting like women.

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Imagine this.

Jesus is sitting on the grass on the side of the mountain.  He has His eyes closed.  He is hungry and tired.  Then, He opens His eyes and looks out at the multitude of people who have followed Him here.  He smiles.  He already knows what is coming.  These thousands of people are also hungry and tired.

His apostles are very worried.  They know that these people need food, however they don’t have the resources to supply them with it.  They come to Jesus and urge Him to send the crowds away so that they can find food in the villages.  Jesus smiles again.  “No, Philip,” He says.  “These people would faint from hunger before they could get very far.  Let’s feed them ourselves.”

Philip wonders how that is going to happen.  He shakes his head in disbelief as he looks at His Lord who is still sitting calmly and smiling.  Then, Andrew sees a young boy with a basket that has five loaves and two fishes.  He shrugs and brings the young boy with his basket to Jesus. “Lord, we have this little bit of food.  But look out there.  How can we feed so many with so little?”

Jesus rises and still smiling says, “Tell everyone to sit down in groups of 50 or so.  Then, give me those loaves and fishes.”

He blesses the food.  The Apostles serve it.  The people eat and are satisfied.  The leftovers are collected in 12 baskets.  And, one of the greatest miracles of the New Testament has just occurred.

This miracle was preparation for the more startling miracle of the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus would become our Bread to nourish our souls.  Jesus is the Bread of Life, the cause of our joy on this Laetare Sunday, our delight, always at our disposal to appease our hunger.  Jesus feeds us spiritually, of course, but He also doesn’t neglect our physical needs.  If we are tormented by hunger, we aren’t going to be able to apply ourselves to the things of the spirit.

Just as Jesus provided for the 5 thousand, we must be solicitous of the needs of others and provide as we can for those needs.  If a brother or sister is in want of daily food and we say, “”Go in Peace’. . .yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?” (Jas 2: 15-16)

Finally, there is no challenge we face, no difficulty that we must overcome, no complicated circumstance in our life for which God doesn’t have the solution.  Wherever we are today, He has seen it for all eternity.  We give him our small basket of practically nothing and He performs a miracle for us.  We have to give Him everything in our power, holding nothing back, and He sets a rich and abundant table for us

He will “give us this day our daily bread.”.

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Do I Really Care About His Golf Handicap?

The short answer is “no.”

I’m going to rag and brag on our Archbishop today.  I’ll try to be fair and balanced. Ahem!

The Archbishop is celebrating 10 years as our bishop.  In our archdiocesan newspaper, there was much lauding his accomplishments and praising of his tenure here.

I wish that I could join wholeheartedly in the chorus that is singing his praises.  However, I have my own little list of his accomplishments that aren’t so good in my mind.  Over the years, there have been times when he has given awards to pro-abortion attorneys and health workers at annual “red” and “white” Masses.  He stopped a 20 plus year tradition of the the archbishop giving an invocation and short speech at an ecumenical “Together for Life” Memorial Service and Silent Walk on January 22 each year.  The move that he made seemed to make sense because the small church where Mass was held on that day couldn’t hold the 1000 Catholics that were there.  I know, though, because I am an insider to the event, that it was prompted by political differences with the organization that has sponsored the event since 1974.  I guess that is another problem that I have with him.  Politics seems to trump principle with our Archbishop; a lot!  He still allows Girl Scouts to use our schools for meetings.  He gives unabashed support for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development that pours money into organizations that should be anathema to good Catholics everywhere.

So, now, what about some good things.  In my opinion, he earns many points for continuing our Eucharistic Congress every June.  He is doing his best to build schools and churches while others are having to close and merge.  He is a very personable guy and I think I might like to have a beer with him.  I just wish that that he was a little more motivated toward tradition and a lot less political.

I was here first so I have watched him and prayed for him over these 10 years.  I can’t say that he is on my list of favorite prelates and there are times when I pray that God changes his mind or changes his location so we could have a less progressive shepherd.  Lord only knows though where such a bishop would come from in this country!

Finally, the newspaper was running a contest.  The winner would be drawn from all entries where all 10 questions were answered correctly.  Curiosity “made” me look at them.  There were the usual.  How long has the Archbishop been a priest?? A bishop? Where was he born? Go to school?  The one that made me laugh was “What is the Archbishop’s handicap in golf?”

I pray he says his Rosary and has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother.  I pray he believes in Judgment, and Heaven and Hell.  I pray he would be a martyr rather than deny the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  I pray he eventually gives us more opportunities for the Traditional Latin Mass.  I pray that he will defend the defenseless even when everyone around him is giving in to unprincipled, political expediency.  I pray he will abandon the “Church of Nice.”

But, his golf handicap?  Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.

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We’re Catholic–“Stuff” Happens

For the record, my granddaughter didn’t say “stuff.”

She and her mother were talking about some uptight Christians that they know.  During the discussion, my daughter asked her if she felt that we, meaning her family, were uptight.  Hence, my granddaughter’s reply.

At first glance, it might seem just a flippant, bumper-sticker answer.  But, it”s not when one knows my daughter and granddaughter, A.  They are fiercely pro-life.  I think A started standing in the Life Chain when she was in the early grades of elementary school.

She has very little tolerance for mega-churches especially those who have big screens and Starbucks in them.  After all, “don’t they know they’re supposed to fast before going to church?”  (We still talk about that one.)

She truly believes in justice for all and she wants it to be swift for murderers, rapists and child abusers.  She has no patience for people who aren’t loyal to their family and friends.

So, what do I think she meant?

I raised my daughters to understand that life is not fair.  Life can be hard.  Justice sometimes seems elusive even when we work diligently for it.  People can and do do evil things.  The devil does exist, but so does St. Michael the Archangel.

I think that’s the point.  Our Catholic faith is our defense in this world and against Satan.  We know that we are meant for heaven and in the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “to be faithful,” if not successful.  We have all the tools that we need to navigate this life: God, Jesus, the Scriptures, Church Tradition, the Sacraments, the Mass, the Eucharist, the Rosary.

So we don’t need to have a joyless, pitiful, uptight spirit when “stuff’ happens.

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happy st. patrick’s day–i guess!

had an accident today that necessitated 5 stitches in my hand.  (and a tetanus booster)

so today, i present to you an article that i read about distraction in prayer.  enjoy

http://catholicexchange.com/distracted-prayer

 

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The Liturgy

I wanted to be finished with this study of the Year of Faith by Pentecost.  We are about a week behind, so we should finish by Friday.  I will be praying over what to do next.  I was leaning toward the Epistle of St. James because there are about 50 parallels between St. James and the Sermon on the Mount.  Or, we could do Matthew 25?  If you have any ideas, let me know.

Before we begin, let’s read Jesus Institutes the Eucharist in Luke 22:  14-20.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gives His Body and Blood to the apostles in the Eucharist so that they can have eternal life.  Then, He commands the apostles to “do this” so that they can bring eternal life to us.  He simply requires us to believe in Him and His words, and to believe that He truly gives His flesh and blood for us to have eternal life.

Early Christian Worship

“The Acts of the Apostles shows that the early Christians continued worshiping in the Temple, much as Jesus had done.  Yet, Jesus’ new ritual was also practiced by these Christians from the beginning of the Church. ‘ All who believed were together. . .attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising god and having favor with all the people’ “ (Acts 2: 44, 46-47)

The structure of the Eucharist was influenced by Jewish ceremonies.  Some of our Mass prayers come from the synagogue service.  i.e. the dialogue before the Preface.  In the synagogue, this was followed immediately by the Sanctus—a quote from Isaiah 6: 3.

Later Christians continued to develop the prayers of the liturgy in different parts of the world and in different languages.  The amazing things was the similarity of structure throughout the various rites.  (Pentecost truly reversed the Tower of Babel.)

Eventually the structure became set in each rite.  This had a couple of advantages.  First, the community knew what to expect and how to participate.  Secondly, the liturgy could refine the various expressions of faith in each prayer.  These prayers could then teach doctrine while the community was worshiping.  For instance, the Creed reminds everyone of the teaching of our faith.

The Liturgical Calendar

“Another element of Christian liturgy derived from Judaism is the notion of the liturgical calendar.  Jews celebrate four main feasts – Passover, Pentecost, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles.  Other holy days are also celebrated—New Year, Hanukkah, and Purim.  Furthermore, the rabbis had developed a lectionary cycle for the synagogue.  Its core consisted of readings from the Torah, plus readings from the Psalms and the prophets.

Christians have imitated both elements.  A liturgical year begins with Advent, flowing to Christmas, Epiphany, Lent Eastertide, Pentecost and Ordinary Time, plus a variety of feasts celebrating the events of salvation and the lives of the saints.

Also, a liturgical cycle existed early, with the core being the four Gospels as requisite, plus readings from the epistles and other New Testament books, the Psalms, and other books of the Old Testament.  Just as the covenant sacrifice was preceded by reading the Ten Commandments and the laws, so is the liturgy of the Eucharist preceded by the liturgy of the word of God.  This is meant to stir up faith to further believe the words of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

MC900436065Next time:  Why some lose the faith.

Meditation:  Spend a few minutes after Mass thanking God for the gift of faith.

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The Bread from Heaven John 6: 22-71

If you haven’t done so yet, I would suggest that you stop and read these verses in your own Bible.

6: 27  Food which perishes:  While earthly food is necessary to sustain our life on earth; we need something more to give us supernatural life or to guard us against death. (6: 49)  Only Christ can give us food that satisfies our spiritual hunger and leads us to everlasting life.  Eventually in 6: 50-58, this food will be identified as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

6: 31  He gave them bread:  This is a reference to Exodus 14: 4.  The manna that was provided by Moses was a food that was perishable.  Even though it had a heavenly origin, it melted away every morning and turned rotten if stored over night.

6: 32  the true bread:  The manna was merely a sign of the imperishable bread that the Father sends down from heaven in His Son, Jesus.

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to Faith (6: 35-47)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  This is followed by a string of invitations to come to Jesus and believe in Him for salvation.  The import of this metaphorical teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews, because they don’t ask Him why He calls Himself bread, but how can He claim to have come down from Heaven.  (6: 41  “Jews then murmured.”–just like they did in the desert about the manna.)

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to the Eucharist (6: 48-58)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  We are invited to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood.  The impact of this literal teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews either, because they ask how is it possible for them to eat His flesh.  (6: 32)  The crowd is thinking of cannibalism, which would be repugnant to them.  They misunderstand because Jesus give us His glorified humanity that was His after the resurrection.  This is why He calls Himself “the living bread.”  (6: 51)

We conclude then that without faith we cannot be united to Christ or recognize Him in the Eucharist.  If eating is believing in 6: 35-47; then believing leads to eating in 6: 48-58.

The Words of Eternal Life

6: 66  His disciples drew back.  This is the only time in the Gospels when Jesus is abandoned by His disciples in such large numbers.  Yet, Jesus does not soften His words or make any effort to clear up any possible misunderstanding.  Instead He asks “Will you also go away?” (6: 67)

6: 68-70  Peter’s profession of faith:  He speaks from his heart because he doesn’t yet understand the mysteries that Jesus has just revealed.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

Next time:  Early Christian Worship and the Liturgical Calendar.

Meditation:  Reread John 6: 68-70.  What new insight about my faith have I received from this scripture?

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We Celebrate; We Believe

“He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by the angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory.” (1 Tm 3: 16)

Happy Ascension Day!   Some of you have already celebrated; some of us will be celebrating on Sunday.  I’m not going to go into a rant here, but I wish our province still celebrated on Thursday.  After all, 40 days is 40 days!

Faith that is not expressed and celebrated cannot grow.

In the Year of Faith, we are asked, not just to renew our own personal commitment to Jesus but to join together as the Body of Christ in worship.  Throughout salvation history as passed down in the Scriptures, faith and worship have been linked.  Abram heard God speak and then offered sacrifice.  Jacob heard a renewal of the promised Land and set up a stone at Bethel with an anointing.  Later, Moses met God and learned that Israel should worship on Mt. Sinai.  After Israel passed out of Egypt, traveled to Mt. Sinai, and professed faith in God’s word and commandments, they worshiped and offered sacrifices, according to His word.

The Mass

As Catholics, our worship centers on the Mass.  Today, we are going to summarize and high-light some parts of the Mass and how they are a call to deepen our faith.  (More can be found in Father Mitch Pacwa’s bible study guide for Catholics, “The Year of the Faith” on pages 70-73.)

Introductory Rites:  The sign of the Cross is both a blessing and a commitment to participate in the whole Eucharist.

Penitential Act:  We acknowledge that we have sinned and express faith that the Lord forgives us.

Gloria:  This is a song of praise and also of faith in each Person of the Trinity.  The words of faith are interspersed with praise and petition.

Readings:  We believe that the readings are the Word of God.  So at the end we make a response of faith.  “Thanks be to God.”  “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”   The homily is an exhortation to believe and apply the faith to life.

The Creed:  By reciting these key dogmas of our faith we are making a personal profession of faith in public.

Offertory:  Our response “Blessed be God forever” is an act of faithful thanksgiving that we have the gifts to offer.  When we pray that these gifts will be acceptable, we are expressing our faith in the power of the priest to offer our sacrifice.

Holy, Holy, Holy:  This is both a promise of God’s presence and an act of faith in the coming of Lord who will be present on the altar in just a few moments!

Eucharistic Prayer:  The conclusion is the GREAT AMEN, an act of faith by the whole congregation to set its acceptance of all that has gone before.

Our Father:  Saying the prayer that Jesus taught us is faith in the intimate relationship we have with God as our Father who we trust will answer our prayers as Jesus promised.

Lamb of God:  An act of faith in Jesus who is about to enter our hearts as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin and brings us peace.

Communion:  The priest professes an act of faith to each communicant, “The Body of Christ”/”The Blood of Christ.”  We respond in faith.  “Amen.”

Post Communion Prayer:  This prayer pretty much sums up the faith we have experienced at Mass, especially in receiving the Eucharist.

Blessing and Dismissal:  We are blessed to receive the grace to go out into the world and continue living the Mass and professing our faith.

This week at Sunday Mass, let’s pay particular attention to the structure of the liturgy.  Let’s be especially aware of how the Liturgy of the Word helps carry us into our assent of faith through the reception of Holy Communion.  I don’t know about you, but I think a will spend a few minutes after Mass thanking God for the gift of faith.

MP900289346Next:  Worship in the Old Testament.

Meditation:  Do you consider attending Mass on Sunday a duty or an act of love?

 

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No Matter What the Consequences!

“Hear as Jesus heard; speak as Jesus spoke; suffer as Jesus suffered; die as Jesus died; rise as Jesus rose.”–One Bread One Body for Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

I have been sitting here with pen poised trying to visualize what this day would have looked like for Jesus and His disciples.  Was there an aura of intrigue about the temple and were they aware of it?  Had the disciples relaxed a bit because of the Hosannas ringing out when Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days before?  Were they watchful and anxious or just “hanging out” with Jesus?  Beginning Thursday evening, they will fall asleep, betray, flee, deny, despair, and hide.

I think I’m “hanging out” with Jesus after this post until Saturday afternoon.  I’m praying that I won’t fall asleep, betray, flee, deny, despair, and hide.  What about you?

Well, today, we study the final 9 verses of the Sermon on the Mount:  Matthew 7: 21-29.  I have learned much during this study.  Hope you have, too.

Concerning Self-Deception

Matthew 7:  21-23

7: 22 on that day:  This is the Day of Judgment on which Jesus will be the Divine Judge.  God’s sanctifying grace makes our soul fit for heaven.  We manifest it when we conform ourselves to the Father’s will, by knowing and obeying Jesus.  Sanctifying grace is conclusive evidence of our personal sanctity and membership in the family of God.  Charismatic graces, while heaven sent, are not.  (CCC 2003)

Hearers and Doers

Matthew 7: 24-29

7:24 like a wise man:  true wisdom puts Jesus’ teaching into practice and prepares for the future.  his house:  Physically, this parable alludes to building in New Testament Palestine.  Mud-brick houses were generally built in dry season.  Only a house with a solid foundation would resist erosion and destruction when torrential rains came.  Jesus’ reference to a wise man and his house is a reference to King Solomon who built the temple upon a great stone foundation.  Morally, the enduring house is the soul that is maintained only through labor and the materials of prayer and virtue grounded on Christ.

7:29 One who has authority:  Jesus delivered “new teaching “(Mk. 1: 27).  This teaching excelled over Mosaic Law in perfection.  (Matthew 5: 21-48)  Later, Jesus would denounce traditions that are incompatible with God’s word.  (15: 3-6; CCC 581)

The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25:  these are all part of Jesus’ blueprint for Holy living.  I know that I will continue to read and ponder them often during this pilgrimage to heaven.

“Save us, save us, Savior of the world, for by your cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.”

Bloch-SermonOnTheMountNext time:  Easter Monday

Have a blessed and holy Triduum and a Joyous Easter!

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