Archive for the ‘Eucharist’ Category

Homily for Corpus Christi

June 27, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  The focus of today’s feast is the center of the practice of our Catholic Faith: God unites Himself to us in a most intimate way each and every time we receive Him in Holy Communion.  This is not an easy teaching to wrap our minds around.  Indeed, when Our Lord told His followers that they had to eat His Body and drink His Blood they murmured at Him.

In today’s Gospel, we hear about how Jesus told the crowd that He, Himself, is the bread from Heaven.  The crowds didn’t understand Him and they quarreled among themselves.  Jesus did not back-peddle or soften His teaching; on the contrary, He repeated it: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”  Then He said it again: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”  And He said it again: “My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink.”

The followers of Christ were struggling with His teaching and yet He didn’t change what He was saying; He reinforced His teaching by repeating it again and again.  If you were to continue reading in the Gospel of Saint John from where today’s Gospel reading left off, you would find that many of the followers of Jesus walked with Him no longer because of this teaching.  They were offended that He said that He was going to give them His flesh to eat, yet He did not correct them or help them to understand His words in a different, more figurative way.  He repeated the same teaching several times and finally the crowd could no longer bear it.  Yet Jesus didn’t stop them from walking away from Him; instead, He turned to the Twelve Apostles—the twelve men who had been the closest of Jesus’ followers, those upon whom Jesus would build His Church—and asked them if they would leave too.

Saint Peter, speaking on behalf of the others, said: “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”  The Apostles remained with Jesus, even if they didn’t understand His words about giving them Himself as food.  Then, at the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, broke the bread and gave it to the Apostles and said: “This is my Body.”  And when supper was over, He took the cup; He gave it to the Apostles and said: “This is my Blood.”

Jesus Christ is God.  When God speaks a word, things happen.  In the beginning God created.  How did He create?  He set “Let there be . . .” and it was so.  Often in the Gospel, we hear how Jesus encountered those who needed to be healed, and He spoke a word and they were healed.  He told the paralytic man on the mat to get up and the man got up; Jesus told the man with the shriveled hand to stretch out his hand and the man’s hand was restored to health.  Jesus commanded Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, to come out of his tomb and he came out.

Jesus, Who IS God, Whose words have divine power, spoke over bread and wine and transformed the bread and the wine into His own body and blood.  Then He commanded the Apostles: “Do this in memory of me.”  Jesus gave His Apostles the sacred power to change bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and the Apostles have handed that sacred power down through the ages through their successors the bishops and the bishops share that sacred power with priests through their ordination.

When a priest is ordained, he is consecrated to God in a very special way: when the priest is ordained he lends his hands and his voice to Jesus Christ.  At Mass, the words that we hear the priest say are not: “This is the body of Jesus,” the words are “This is my body.”  Yet you do not receive the body of the priest, you receive the Body of Christ.  It is Jesus Christ Who acts through the priest at every Mass.  The priest, at the altar, stands in the very Person of Christ so that Jesus can give Himself to you in Holy Communion.

Jesus Christ gives Himself completely to you each and every time you receive Him in Holy Communion.  So much does He love you that He died for you, and feeds you with Himself.  Love desires union.  God wants to be united with you so much that He hides Himself under what looks like ordinary bread; yet what we receive in Holy Communion is no longer bread.  At the words of the priest, the bread and wine are transformed really, truly, completely, substantially transformed.  So much so, that there is no longer bread or wine left after the words of Consecration have been spoken.  What remains upon the altar looks like bread, tastes like bread, smells like wine, but we know otherwise because our God has told us it is true.  Our senses are deceived, yet Jesus Christ has told us and He does not lie.

Jesus Christ gives us Himself in Holy Communion and He calls us to imitate what we receive.  Jesus has poured Himself out for love of us and we are called to pour ourselves out for love of Him and for love of others.  Let us do our best to receive Our Lord with great reverence and love every time we come forward in the Holy Communion line.  May we have hearts that are open to all that He wants to do in our souls, that we might be transformed and come to reflect His love in our lives more and more.

Lord Jesus Christ, truly Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, as we receive You in Holy Communion today make our hearts ever more fully conformed to Your Most Sacred Heart; fill us with your love, help us to imitate You and pour ourselves out in love for You and for others.  Amen.

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Corpus Christi Bulletin Article

June 27, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; today we celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given: the gift of Himself that Jesus Christ gives to us.  Speaking of the Most Holy Eucharist, Saint Augustine said that although God is infinitely wise, He does not know how to give more; although He is infinitely powerful, He is unable to give us anything greater; although vastly rich, God has not more to give.

In giving us His Son, the Father gives us that which He loves most.  Jesus Christ became a man like us in all things except for sin in order to save us from sin and death.  He poured Himself out completely for us upon the Cross and through the Most Holy Eucharist Our Lord gives Himself entirely to us.

In the Eucharist Our Lord gives to us all that He is and all that He has: He holds nothing back from us.  In Holy Communion we receive Jesus Christ; in Holy Communion Our Lord is Present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  When we receive Holy Communion we receive the One through Whom the universe was created; in Holy Communion we receive the One Whom we rightly call Our Lord and Our God.  In Holy Communion we receive the One Who died and rose that we might have abundant life and when we receive Holy Communion worthily we receive a share in that abundant life: Jesus said “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.”  (John 6:54)

The Eucharist is often called a “foretaste of Heaven” because in the Eucharist we are united with God in a most intimate way.  Under the appearances of bread and wine our God is really, truly, substantially Present.  When the crowds that followed Our Lord first heard Him say that His flesh was true food, many of them were scandalized.  Instead of correcting their understanding of what He was saying, Our Lord again and again emphasized that He, Himself, is the Bread come down from Heaven: that He would give Himself to us as Food.  He even let many of His disciples walk away because of this teaching and then asked the Apostles if they would leave as well.  (cf. John chapter 6)  Saint Peter, speaking on behalf of the Twelve, said “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  Our Lord was willing to even lose the Twelve Apostles over this teaching; yet they stuck with Him even though they may not have understood His teaching.

We can pray to God anywhere, yet nowhere on earth do we encounter God in the way that we do when we encounter Him truly Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  We are never so close to God on this earth as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.  Let us be mindful of the great gift that our God gives to us in the Eucharist: may we never take Our Lord’s Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist for granted.  May we always receive Him in Holy Communion worthily, and with great love and devotion.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

Corpus Christi (Homily)

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi [the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord].  Saint Augustine once said of the Eucharist that: “Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.”  The Church gives us this Feast day in order that we might meditate upon the greatest gift that God has ever given to us: the gift of Himself under the appearances of Bread and Wine.

This Feast gives us the chance to reflect upon the mysteries that were instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper.  Jesus promised to remain with us always and He fulfilled that promise by giving us His real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.  At the Last Supper, Jesus took ordinary bread and wine and by His words, He changed them into His own Body and Blood.

In the Holy Eucharist, Our Lord is really, truly, wholly, substantially present.  On this Feast day, we take time to honor, in a special way, the fact that our God is really and truly present in our midst: through the Most Blessed Sacrament.  On this Feast, we take time to adore Our Lord and give Him thanks for His True Presence.  This Feast day should stir up love and gratitude in our hearts for this great gift that we receive.  This feast day also calls to our minds the fact that we are called to live the Eucharist.  When we eat ordinary food, we transform it into ourselves.  When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus transforms us into Himself.  The point of Holy Communion is to unite us with Our Lord and the more we are united to Him the more we should come to imitate Him, resemble Him.  He is the Light of the world and we too are called to be light.  In the Eucharist, Jesus unites us with Himself but He also transforms us into Himself.  We are given the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus so that He will truly reign in our hearts and change our lives.  In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ gives us the grace that we need to become the Saints that we are called to become: if only we have hearts that are open to receive that grace.  In Holy Communion, we receive God.  God doesn’t hold anything back from us.  The only reason that receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion does not instantly change our hearts and make us Saints is that we do not allow it to change us.  We are too attached to our sins.

Jesus completely sacrificed Himself so that He could be united to you.  He wants you to imitate Him.  He wants your whole heart: He doesn’t want you to hold anything back.  St. Paul says that we are to make of ourselves a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.  How can you make yourself a sacrifice?  Keep your eyes from looking at things that they should not be looking at and you will have offered your eyes in sacrifice; keep your tongue from speaking uncharitable words and you will make of it a pleasing offering to God; avoid sin and your life will be a spiritual sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God.

When we love someone very much, we go out of our way to please that person.  We do not want to offend or upset them.  If you love God, put Him first in your life and root sin out of your hearts.  Of course we have a weak and fallen human nature which is inclined towards sin.  It is impossible to avoid sin by our own power.  But Jesus gives us Himself as food and He strengthens us that we might overcome sin and live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.  In the Eucharist, Jesus fulfills His promise: “Come to Me all of you who labor and are burdened . . . and I will refresh you.”  (Mt. 11:28)  Jn 15:5: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  The Saints were constantly eager to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because it was there that they found the grace and strength that they needed to be Saints.

Love desires union.  God loves you.  He desires union with you so much that He gives Himself to you as food.  The Saints loved God; they wanted to be near Him in the Tabernacle.  They received Him in Holy Communion with utmost devotion and love.  Do you love Jesus?  Do you desire union with Him?  Is Holy Communion the high point of your week?  Do you think of Jesus often?  Do you try your best to prepare yourself for Holy Communion at Mass?  Do you spend time thanking God after Mass?  We are called to love God above all things.  Our Lord waits for you in the Tabernacle.  He wants you to love Him, to pray to Him, to adore Him.  Let us root sin out of our lives and strive to love Our Lord, Truly Present in the Most Holy Eucharist with all our hearts.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, help us to love you with all our hearts and imitate you in our lives.  Amen.

June 6th (Corpus Christi Article)

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  This Feast is given to us as an opportunity to reflect upon the reality of what was instituted at the Last Supper.  At the Last Supper, Our Lord gave His Apostles (and their successors) the power to change ordinary bread and wine into His very Body and Blood.

In the Holy Eucharist, the Lord gives Himself to us as food.  Through the True Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord remains with us.  He is really, truly, substantially present in the Eucharist.  Through our reception of Holy Communion, we are intimately united with God.  We are never as close to God on this earth as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

Due to the reality of Who it is that we receive in Holy Communion, we should always be sure that we are in a proper state when we approach to receive Him.  We are all sinners, but we should do all that we can to prepare our hearts to receive Our Lord.  It is necessary that we go to Confession before we go to Communion, if we have fallen into mortal sin.  (Quick refresher: a sin is mortal if there is grave matter involved and we knowingly and freely choose to commit the sin.)

Our God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be united with us.  Love desires union.  God sent His own Beloved Son to die for us in order to save us from sin.  Jesus gives Himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just so that He can be united to our hearts.  Jesus loves us with all that He is and all that He has: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  He holds nothing back from us.  He asks us to love Him in return in like manner: with all our hearts.

May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus be praised and adored, loved and thanked at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time.  Amen.

God bless,

Father White

First Communion Mass

May 17, 2010

My dear children, today is a very special day for you who are about to make your First Holy Communion but it is also a special joy for all of us here celebrating with you.  Today, you will receive Jesus into your souls for the very first time.  Your faith and the joy and excitement that you have as you receive the Most Blessed Sacrament for the first time inspires us all.  The occasion of your First Holy Communion should be a reminder for all of us of the joy that we had at our first Communion and your joy and excitement is also a reminder of the attitude that we should all have in our hearts when we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Holy Communion is a very special grace because in Holy Communion we receive God into our hearts.  God loves us so much that He wants to be with us always.  When we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.  God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be with us all the time.  Of course God is present everywhere, He is never absent from us; the problem is that we are not always present to Him.  God wants us to be aware of that He is always near us and He wants us to think of Him often and love Him with our whole heart.  He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.  He wants to join Himself to our souls in Holy Communion.

When we receive Holy Communion, we are joined with Jesus in a very special way.  We are never so close to God in this world as we right after we have received Him in the Eucharist.  After we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we should spend time with Him in prayer and thank Him for giving Himself to us.  After we have received Holy Communion it is good to tell Jesus whatever is on your heart.  It is good to talk to Jesus while He is so closely united with your soul.  We are never so close to God in this world as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He gives many gifts to our hearts.  When we receive the Eucharist grace is poured into our souls.  Grace is the very life of God.  When we say that God gives us His grace, we mean that He shares His divine life with us.  When God gives us grace, He shares with us His life, His love, His strength, His peace and His joy.  We need to be open to receive all the gifts that God wants to give to us in Holy Communion.  The more we open our hearts are to receive His graces, the more graces we will receive.  The best way to open our hearts is to make sure that there isn’t any sin on our souls.  Sin clutters up our hearts and gets in the way of our friendship with Jesus.  We need to clear sin out of our hearts in order to make room for God.

We should do everything we can to be aware of what we are doing whenever we receive Holy Communion.  We should always try to always remember Who it is that we are encountering in the Holy Eucharist.  It is good to receive Communion with all the attention and devotion and love that we possibly can.  That means that we should try to focus our attention on God as we come forward for Communion.  We should be aware that it is Almighty God Who is gives Himself to us in Communion.

We should also remember that God gives us Himself to us for a reason: He loves us and He wants to be with us and He also wants to make us more like Himself.  God is love and through giving Himself to us in the Eucharist, He wants to make us more loving.  God is love and through Holy Communion, God fills our hearts with Himself: that means that He fills our hearts with love.  Through Holy Communion, God wants to give us all the spiritual help and strength that we need to faithfully follow Jesus.

In order to follow Jesus, we have to live the way that He taught us that we should live.  All of Jesus’ teachings, in fact the whole Bible, are summed up in the two most important commandments that Jesus gave to us: Love God above everything else and love your neighbor as yourself.  We are all called to faithfully follow Jesus by loving God and by loving others.  And how does Jesus call us to love others?  Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved them.  That is a pretty high standard that we are called to live up to.  Jesus always put other people first.  Jesus said that He came not to be served, but to serve.  Jesus laid down His life for those He loved.

In order to live the love that we are called to, we need God’s help, and one of the most powerful ways that God helps us is through the Sacraments.  The Sacraments are different ways that God gives His divine grace, His life, to our souls.  By ourselves Jesus says that we can do nothing, but with God’s help we can do everything.  Through the Eucharist God shares His life with us; He communicates Himself to our souls and more and more closely unites us with Himself every time we receive Him in Holy Communion.  If we regularly receive the Eucharist, with hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in our souls, we will grow in love.  Even if we don’t feel any different after receiving Holy Communion, we know that God is working on our hearts to make them more like the Heart of His Son.

Another Sacrament that is very important for us is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all the times that we fail to love God and others as Jesus calls us to love them.  If we receive those two Sacraments, Communion and Reconciliation, regularly with hearts that are open to all the gifts that God wants to give to us, then God will fill our hearts with His love and we will become channels of His grace and His love for others.

May God bless all of you boys and girls who are about to receive Jesus today for the first time in Holy Communion.  May Jesus draw you and all of us ever closer to Himself.  May God fill all our hearts with His life and His love and make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 4, 2010

Today is a very special day: today we have one among us who will make their first Holy Communion today.  Today for the first time, Jenna, will receive Jesus into her soul.  Holy Communion is a very special grace because in Holy Communion we receive God into our hearts.  God loves us so much that He wants to be with us always.  Love desires union.  When we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.  God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be with us all the time.  Of course God is present everywhere, He is never absent from us; unfortunately, we are not always present to Him.  God wants us to be aware of His presence and He wants us to think of Him often and love Him.  He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.

When we receive Holy Communion, we are joined with Jesus in a very special way.  After we receive Him in Holy Communion, we should spend time in prayer with Him and thank Him for giving Himself to us.  After we have received Holy Communion it is good to tell Jesus whatever is on our heart.  It is good to talk to Jesus while He is in your soul.  We are never so close to God in this world as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He gives many gifts to our hearts.  When we receive the Eucharist grace is poured into our souls.  Grace is the very life of God.  When we say that God gives us grace, we mean that He shares His divine life with us.  When God gives us grace, He shares with us us His life, His love, His strength, and His joy.  We need to be open to receive all the gifts that God wants to give to us in Holy Communion.  The more open our hearts are to receive His graces, the more graces we will receive.  The best way to open our hearts is to make sure that there isn’t any sin in our hearts.  Sin clutters up our hearts and we need to clear sin out of our lives in order to make room for God.

It is also good to pay attention to what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  We should try to always be aware of what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  It is good to receive Communion with all the attention and devotion that we can.  That means that we should try to focus our attention on God as we come forward for Communion.  We should be aware that it is Almighty God Who is giving Himself to us in Communion.  We should also keep in mind that God gives us Himself for a reason: He loves us and He wants to be with us and He wants to make us more like Himself.  God is love and through giving Himself to us in the Eucharist, He wants to make us more loving.  Through the Holy Communion, God wants to give us all the spiritual help and strength that we need to follow Jesus.

In the Gospel today, we heard that Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: “Love one another.”  We are all called to faithfully follow Jesus and we are all called to love others.  And how does Jesus call us to love others?  Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved them.  That is a pretty high standard which we are called to imitate.  Jesus always put other people first.  Jesus said that He came not to be served, but to serve.  Jesus laid down His life for those He loved.

In order to live the love that we are called to, we need the Sacraments.  The Sacraments are powerful ways that God gives His divine grace, His life, to our souls.  By ourselves Jesus says that we can do nothing, but with God’s help we can do everything.  Through the Eucharist, as I mentioned, God shares His life with us; He communicates Himself to our souls and more closely unites us with Himself.  If we regularly receive the Eucharist, with hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in our souls, we will grow in love.  Even if we don’t feel any different after receiving Holy Communion, we know that God is working on our hearts to make them more like the Heart of His Son.

Another Sacrament that is very important for us is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all the times that we fail to love others as Jesus calls us to love them.  If we receive those two Sacraments, Communion and Reconciliation, regularly with hearts that are open to all that God wants to give to us, then God will fill our hearts with His love and we will become channels of His grace and His love for others.

May God bless you, Jenna, as you receive Him today for the first time in Holy Communion.  May Jesus draw you and all of us ever closer to Himself every time that we receive Him in Holy Communion.  May God fill our hearts with His love and make us more like His Son.  Amen.

February 14th

February 15, 2010

In the final part of the first Eucharistic prayer, there is a prayer in which the priest acknowledges his own sinfulness.  The priest proclaims himself a sinner and that proclamation is accompanied by an action: he strikes his breast.  The striking of the breast is a sign of acknowledging one’s own sinfulness and is also a sign of repentance.  It is an action that is taken directly from Scripture.  (Luke 18:13)

It is certainly a good thing to call to mind the fact that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy, but this might seem like a strange part of the Mass to be pointing out one’s sinfulness.  If we remember, however, Saint Peter himself had a similar reaction to Our Lord’s presence when the Lord manifested His power by enabling Peter to catch a miraculous super-abundance of fish.  At recognizing Who Jesus is, Saint Peter fell to his knees and asked the Lord to depart from him because of his own unworthiness.  (cf. Luke 5: 1-11)  The priest, in the Presence of the same Jesus Christ, acknowledges his sinfulness and instead of asking the Lord to depart, asks for forgiveness.

The priest then recalls that God gives us all good gifts, especially the gifts of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ present before him upon the altar, which God has blessed and made holy.  The priest then takes the host and the chalice and lifts them up and offers them to the Father.  While doing so he says (or sings) the “doxology.”  At the doxology, the priest prays that all honor and glory forever be to God, through Christ, with Him and in Him.

This doxology is a good reminder that the bread and wine that were presented at the offertory exist no longer.  They have been wholly and completely transformed into Christ.  That is why the priest does not pray “through it” but “through Him”.

The doxology and the “Great Amen” conclude the Eucharistic prayer.  Next week we will continue by looking at the Rite of Communion.

God bless,

Father White

February 7th

February 7, 2010

Following the prayer that we looked at last week, there follows a prayer which has a pause in the middle of it.  This prayer is known as the “Commemoration of the Dead.”  In this prayer, the priest commends the faithful departed to the Lord and then pauses for a moment in order to call to mind those for whom he wishes to pray.  This pause in the Eucharistic prayer is an opportunity for all of us to call to mind our departed loved ones and commend them to the loving mercy of God.

After this short pause for silent prayer, the priest prays that all those who sleep in Christ may enjoy the presence of Christ in Heaven.  This prayer beautifully asks that those who sleep in Christ find “light, happiness, and peace.”

The next prayer asks that all of us have some share in the communion of Saints and another group of Saints is invoked.  All of these Saints are martyrs of the early Church.  After Saint John the Baptist is named, there are seven male Saints and seven female Saints: some of them are well known, some of them we know very little about.

The point of this list is not to list the most popular Saints, or the most recent, for then this list of Saints would be constantly changing.  This list of martyrs is meant to connect us with the early Church.  It is said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.  Those early martyrs shed their blood and thus gave witness to their faith.

By calling upon these Saints who died so long ago, we are reminded of the unity of the Church: not just the unity of the Church in the present day, but the unity of the Church throughout the ages.  We belong to the same Church as those martyrs of the first century.  Through their example and sacrifice the Christian faith flourished.  We honor them because they were early witnesses to the Faith; and they continue to pray for us from Heaven.

This prayer concludes by asking all the Saints in Heaven to pray for us.  Let us not forget to seek often the assistance of the Saints, for their intercession can gain for us many graces from the Lord.  All holy men and women, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

January 31st

February 1, 2010

As we continue to look at the first Eucharistic Prayer, we come to a prayer which asks that God look favorably upon the gifts that we are offering and to accept them. We ask God to accept them just as He accepted other gifts that Scripture tells us that God was pleased to accept: that of Abel, of Abraham, and of Melchizedek. Another reason that these three Old Testament sacrifices are mentioned is because they foreshadowed the Sacrifice that Jesus would make of Himself upon Calvary.

The next prayer is rather mysterious: the priest asks that an Angel take the sacrifice to the altar that is in Heaven. This prayer reminds us that in Heaven all the Angels and Saints ceaselessly adore and worship God; our earthly liturgy is a participation in that Heavenly worship.

The priest then prays that we may be filled with every grace and blessing as we receive the Body and Blood of Christ from this altar. When we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord we receive “every grace” because we receive the Author of all grace. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross at this point to remind Himself that all grace comes through Christ, Who died upon the Cross in order that we may share in His divine life.

“Grace” can be difficult to comprehend: we talk about ‘grace’ in many different ways. Fundamentally, ‘grace’ is a participation in the very life of God. When we say that we are in a “state of grace” we mean that we are not in mortal sin, we mean that we continue to have that divine life, which we received at Baptism, within us.

It can be easy to think of grace as a thing, but grace is not a thing: it is a relationship. When we say that we share in the divine life of God, we really mean that we are in relationship with Him. When we are in a state of grace, He dwells within us. Could there be a more intimate relationship? God loves each one of us so much, He wants to be united to us; and He is communicates Himself to us ever more fully each time we receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist.

God bless,
Father White

January 24th

January 21, 2010

The prayer that immediately follows the memorial acclamation is a prayer by which the priest offers to God the sacrifice that has just become present upon our altar. The prayer says that from the many gifts that God has given to us, we offer this holy and perfect sacrifice back to God: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

There are two points within this prayer that I would like to reflect upon. First: all things are a gift from God. What do we have, that we have not received? (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:7) Every good gift comes to us from the hand of God. (cf. James 1:17) God gives us so many blessings in our lives; it is only fitting that we offer something back to Him, in order to show our gratitude and our love.

By virtue of our Baptism, each and every one of us shares in the priestly office of Christ. We are all to make of ourselves an offering to God. The ordained priesthood was instituted specifically to serve and assist all members of the Church. At Mass, the priest offers back to God the greatest gift that He ever gave to us: the gift of His Son. The priest offers the Sacrifice that Jesus made of Himself to the Father and we are all called to unite ourselves with that sacrifice and offer ourselves with and through Christ to the Father.

The second interesting thing about this prayer is the language that it uses to refer to the recently consecrated Body and Blood of Our Lord. The prayer refers to the Body of our Lord as the “bread” and the Blood of Our Lord as the “cup”. The Church teaches us that after the Consecration, the only part of the bread and wine that remain are the appearances (taste, smell, etc.). Why, then does the prayer (given to us by the Church) talk about “bread” after the Consecration and focus on the “cup” instead of on the Precious Blood?

The Church reminds us that we often refer to things by their appearance. (cf. CT 2200) In the book of Genesis, Abraham encountered three Angels. After the author of Genesis tells us that they are Angels, they are subsequently referred to more than once as “men”. (cf. Genesis 18) The Angels are called “men” because they have the appearance of men.

The same thing can easily happen when we speak of the Body of the Lord. It continues to have the appearance of bread and therefore the prayer refers to the “bread of life”. So, too, we speak of the “cup” because that is what we see; we know, of course, that the cup is not what is important, but That which the cup contains: the Precious Blood of Our Lord.

God bless,
Father White