Category Archives: Eucharist

Eucharist, awesome reality

Shrewsbury, England, Feb 27, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a recent pastoral letter, a British bishop has encouraged Catholics to make the “awesome reality” of the Eucharist a central focus of their life and prayer during Lent.

“In this Eucharistic Year for the Diocese I am inviting us all to reflect more deeply on the mystery and reality of the Eucharist,” wrote Bishop Mark Davies of the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

“At the beginning of Lent, I want to draw your gaze especially towards the Altar where Christ’s Sacrifice, by which He loved us to the end, is made present anew,” Davies continued, drawing attention to the sacrifice of the Mass.

Davies cited Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, explaining that the sacrifice of the Mass was instituted by Christ on the night before he died to “perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until he should come again.”

Davies said that Christ makes himself “wholly and entirely present” in the Eucharist during the Mass, evoking “the very words of institution, ‘This is my Body given for you,’ and ‘this chalice which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my Blood.”

While during the Mass the “central event of salvation becomes really present,” Davies asked whether Catholics “have allowed the Mass to become reduced in our minds to merely a communal meal and celebration rather than the paschal banquet, the supper of the Lamb of God sacrificed for us?”

“Have we thereby allowed new generations to become bored and uninterested in the Mass, by not allowing them to glimpse the awesome reality of this Sacrifice and Sacrament?” Davies asked.

The UK bishop evoked the words of Pope St. John Paul II, who said that the Eucharist displays a love which “knows no measure.”

“How, then, could our hearts ever remain unmoved by this love beyond all others?” Davies questioned.

“At the Altar, we learn love and sacrifice not only by imitation, but we receive the grace and power to live sacrificial lives in the service of Christ and one another in all of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” he continued.

Davies encouraged the faithful in his diocese to spend time meditating on the mystery of the Eucharist, especially during the sacrificial season of Lent, so as to grow in wonder at its beauty.

“In Lent, we think of the many sacrifices we are called to make,” Davies said.

“In turning our gaze towards the Altar and the Cross, let us pray that we may recognize with faith and ever growing wonder the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

The Eucharist and the Crèche

Diminishing two signs of Faith: The Eucharist, the Crèche
By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio – articles – email) | Dec 15, 2016

A priest has decided not to continue the tradition of setting up a Nativity scene in the public cemetery in the Italian city of Cremona. Since the crèche would be visible from a section of the cemetery used by Muslims, Fr. Sante Braggie fears it “could be seen as a lack of respect”.
This is a very peculiar approach to evangelization, to strip away outward signs of our faith in Christ in order to avoid offending those who find Our Lord offensive. Kudos to the city officials who are trying to continue the tradition anyway.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Walter Kasper is urging the Church to open Communion to Lutheran spouses of Catholics—an issue made famous in a Q&A session hosted by Pope Francis just over a year ago. Kasper sees this as the next logical step, as he now regards Communion as permissible for invalidly married Catholics.

This issue is not as transparently bogus as the decision to hide the Nativity from Muslims, but it does weaken a more important sign of Faith. After all, the Eucharist is not just an artful representation; it is a sacrament, an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. To put the matter even more succinctly, the Eucharist is not a representation of Christ at all; it really IS Christ—body, blood, soul and divinity.

The reason the question of Eucharistic sharing arises when considering Lutherans is that, in contrast to all other Protestant groups, Lutheran theology actually holds Christ to be really present in the Eucharist. Lutherans do not have the same understanding of this as Catholics (compare the Lutheran concept of consubstantiation with the Catholic understanding of transubstantiation), but they do not typically regard Christ’s presence as merely figurative, or even as merely “spiritual”.

But here we have a more practical problem: Lutherans may believe that Christ is really present in their Eucharist, and we can commend them for understanding better than most what the Eucharist ought to entail. But, as a matter of plain fact, the Lutherans do not actually make Christ present in their Eucharist. The reason is simple: They do not have priests who can confect the Sacrament. The Lutheran Eucharist, like all Protestant celebrations of the Eucharist no matter how conceived, is at best a mere remembrance, and at worst mummery.

It follows that any Lutheran who really understood the Eucharist would recognize the need of “converting” (as we used to be allowed to say) to Catholicism. Without that inescapably logical desire, a Lutheran spouse would necessarily view Communion in the Catholic Church as more or less the same as “communion” in the Lutheran Church. But one is real, and the other is not.

In Cremona, Fr. Braggie wants to keep Christ from being seen. That is bad enough. But Cardinal Kasper is apparently content to have Christ seen without being unrecognized. It is true that the Lutheran spouse would receive the Real Christ. But if the spouse knew the difference, he or she would not remain a Lutheran. And that is a dilution of the most sacred sign of all.

Pope says Mass is a Theophany

Mass is a ‘theophany,’ Pope tells congregation  CWN – February 10, 2014

Pope Francis emphasized the need for a “sense of the sacred” at Mass, as he celebrated the Eucharistic sacrifice at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 10.

The Mass, the Pope said, is a “theophany,” a direct encounter with God. This encounter, he said, is “different from the Word: it is another presence: closer, without mediation, near.”

The Mass, the Pope stressed, is not a “representation” of the Last Supper. He explained: “Nativity scenes, the Way of the Cross: these are representations.” At the Mass, something quite different occurs, he said: “It is a theophany: God approaches and is with us, and we participate in the mystery of redemption.” The Pope added that it is wrong to say that one “hears” Mass; the Mass, he said, is “participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany.”

To participate fully in the Mass, the Pope added, one must “have this availability to enter into the mystery of God.” He cautioned that someone at Mass should not be checking his watch, and someone attending the morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae should not treat the ceremony as a “tourist stop” where he can see the Pope.

Participating properly in the Mass requires a sense of the sacred, and an awareness of God’s presence, the Pope said. “It is God’s time, it is God’s space.”