Dear Friends in Christ, August 30th, 2015
Last Sunday we concluded the 5-part mini-series of Jesus’ “Bread of Life” Discourse as it is recorded in the Gospel of John. This Sunday we return to the narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry according to Mark’s Gospel from whence we departed six weeks ago. Before we shift gears from the Gospel teaching on the Eucharist, however, I would like to share a few more nuggets of teaching on the Sacrament. First I give you a few quotes come from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994 edition) under the section “The Eucharist – Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life.”
“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet, ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’” - #1323, quoting The Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy (1963), from the Second Vatican Council
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” - #1324, quoting the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (1965), from the Second Vatican Council.
“The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.” - #1325, quoting The Mystery of the Eucharist (1967), from the Congregation of Rites.
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. - #1326, referencing 1 Cor. 15:28
In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith. “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.” - #1327, quoting St. Irenaeus
In conclusion I now offer a few quotes on the Eucharist from our beloved Saints:
“This heavenly bread demands that the interior man hunger for it, and it satiates such only as render themselves worthy of it by the fervor of their desires.” – St. Augustine of Hippo
“Our Lord does not come down from Heaven every day to stay in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which he loves to dwell.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
“Many mothers there are who after the pains of childbirth give their children to strangers to nurse. But Christ could not endure that His children should be fed by others. He nourishes us Himself with his own blood and in all ways makes us one with Himself.” – St. John Chrysostom
“The proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
“Let us suppose that the last day has come and that our doctrine of the Eucharist turns out to be false and absurd. If our Lord now asks us reproachfully: ‘Why did you believe thus of my Sacrament? Why did you adore the Host?’ may we not safely answer him: ‘Yea, Lord, if we were wrong in this, it was you who deceived us. We heard your word, This is my Body, and was it a crime for us to believe you? We were confirmed in our mistake by a hundred signs and wonders which could have had you only for their author. Your Church with one voice cried out to us that we were right, and in believing as we did we but followed in the footsteps of all your saints and holy ones.” – St. Robert Bellarmine
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!