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Posts Tagged ‘Eucharist’

“You have him always at your side”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/07/05 at 12:00 AM
How wonderfully effective the Holy Eucharist is in the actions, and even before that in the souls, of those who receive it frequently and piously. (The Forge, 303)

If all those people became so enthusiastic and were ready to acclaim you over a piece of bread, even granting that the multiplication of loaves was a very great miracle, shouldn’t we be doing much more for all the many gifts you have granted us, and especially for giving us your very self unreservedly in the Eucharist? (The Forge, 304)

Good child: see how lovers on earth kiss the flowers, the letters, the mementos of those they love|… Then you, how could you ever forget that you have him always at your side ‑‑ yes,Him? How could you forget|… that you can eat him? (The Forge, 305)

Put your head frequently round the oratory door to say to Jesus: I abandon myself into your arms. Leave everything you have ‑‑ your wretchedness ‑‑ at his feet. In this way, in spite of the welter of things you carry along behind you, you will never lose your peace. (The Forge, 306)

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/05/31 at 12:00 AM

In looking for a word to describe what happens to the bread and wine at Mass as they are consecrated into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, St. Thomas Aquinas created the word transubstantiation.

The first part of the word, trans, means to change or cross over. The latter part of the word, substantiation, is the Latin word for substance. St. Thomas, of course, understood substance in the philosophical sense used by Aristotle.

If you’ve ever studied metaphysics, you know that Aristotle said that all things are made up of substance and accidents. The accidental qualities of a thing are what can be perceived with our physical senses: color, texture, taste, smell, etc.

Substance, on the other hand, is the metaphysical quality that makes a thing what it is. For example, our altar here at St. Ann’s is different from the altars at St. Vincent’s, St. Patrick’s, or St. Gabe’s.

But even though they look vastly different, we all know and recognize an altar when we see one. Aquinas and Aristotle would say that these particular pieces of furniture possess a certain “altarness” if you will. That is the substance of this furniture.

Some of you may be wondering why I am giving you a metaphysics lesson today at Mass. It is because we cannot fully appreciate what we as a church are celebrating today without a little metaphysics.

Today is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is Corpus Christi! Thus, today is the day we celebrate and give God thanks for the great gift of the Eucharist.

Here at Mass ordinary bread and wine are brought forward and placed on the altar. Then during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest prays that the Holy Spirit will come down upon the gifts. This is known as the epiclesis – and you will hear the bells ring once to signal this.

From there we enter into the most important and solemn moment of the Mass. Jesus Christ, through the priest, utters the words of institution: “Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.”

And “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.” And again, bells ring to signify what is happening.

Through these words the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The substance of the bread and wine change, but not the accidental properties. That’s why St. Thomas used the word transubstantiation – because only the substance changes.

So even though the bread still looks and tastes like bread, and even though the wine still looks and tastes like wine, they are no longer bread and wine, but really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ.

As Christ makes abundantly clear in the Gospel today, the bread and wine are not symbols of His body and blood. He says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” and “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

And again Christ says: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

This is not magical, it’s metaphysical – and it certainly is miraculous. And it is a tremendous gift that we should never take for granted, but rather we should constantly give God thanks and praise for the gift of the Eucharist.Moreover, if we truly believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, then we should also take great care to receive Holy Communion worthily.

Of course this means that we should never receive Holy Communion when we suspect that we may be in a state of mortal sin or if we know in our conscience that we are living our lives in a way that is contrary to God’s commandments or the Church’s teachings.

Receiving Holy Communion worthily also means that we should do our best to be prayerful, recollected, and reverent when we come up to receive. As you kneel at the altar rail to receive our Lord, think about Who it is that you are receiving! It is the Lord!

He loves you so much that not only does He come to you, but He allows Himself to be bread and wine to be consumed by you, and so we are called to receive Him as a bride receives her bridegroom!

But, my friends, even beyond ensuring that we understand what the Eucharist is and that we receive Holy Communion reverently and in a state of grace, today’s feast calls us to a change that is analogous to the change that takes place at the consecration.

As the bread and wine and changed at the consecration and cease to be what they were before, so too must be allow ourselves to be changed as we participate in the Mass and receive Holy Communion.

When we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we must allow ourselves to be offered up with Christ, identifying ourselves with His sacrifice. We must see ourselves in the bread and wine as they are offered up.

The old man of sin that reigns within all of us must die so that we can put on the new man of grace and virtue. While we will still look and sound like we always have on the outside, on the inside we must be completely renewed. There must be a sort of spiritual transubstantiation that takes place within us.

In the Mass, my friends, we are called to unite our hearts and minds and wills with that of Jesus as He offers Himself to the Father for our sakes.

And the better that we identify ourselves with Christ’s sacrifice and allow ourselves to be offered up with Him, the more the old man of sin within us dies, the more efficacious Mass becomes for us – and the more we grow in a holiness that better disposes us to handle our daily tasks and duties, as well as our crosses.

As we honor our Lord’s Body and Blood today, let us give thanks to God for this most efficacious of gifts.

And let us earnestly seek to unite ourselves ever more closely to our Eucharistic Lord as He offers Himself up in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass so that we may become more like Him whom we worship.

Copyright 2011 by Reverend Timothy Reid, Pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

“A personal meeting with God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/11/23 at 9:11 AM
When you receive him, tell him: Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenseless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures. (The Forge, 832)

I will not surprise anyone if I say that some Christians have a very poor concept of the holy Mass. For them it is a purely external rite, if not a mere social convention. This is because our poor hearts are capable of treating the greatest gift of God to man as routine. In the Mass, in this Mass that we are now celebrating, the most Holy Trinity intervenes, I repeat, in a very special way. To correspond to such great love, we must give ourselves completely, in body and in soul. We hear God, we talk to him, we see him, we taste him. And when words are not enough, we sing, urging our tongue — Pange, lingua! — to proclaim to all mankind the greatness of the Lord.

To “live” the holy Mass means to pray continually, and to be convinced that, for each one of us, this is a personal meeting with God. We adore him, we praise him, we give thanks to him, we atone for our sins, we are purified, we experience a unity with Christ and with all Christians. (Christ is passing by, 87-88)

“This is a personal meeting with God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/06/06 at 9:11 AM
When you receive him, tell him: Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenceless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures. (The Forge, 832)

I will not surprise anyone if I say that some Christians have a very poor concept of the holy Mass. For them it is a purely external rite, if not a mere social convention. This is because our poor hearts are capable of treating the greatest gift of God to man as routine. In the Mass, in this Mass that we are now celebrating, the most Holy Trinity intervenes, I repeat, in a very special way. To correspond to such great love, we must give ourselves completely, in body and in soul. We hear God, we talk to him, we see him, we taste him. And when words are not enough, we sing, urging our tongue — Pange, lingua! — to proclaim to all mankind the greatness of the Lord.

To “live” the holy Mass means to pray continually, and to be convinced that, for each one of us, this is a personal meeting with God. We adore him, we praise him, we give thanks to him, we atone for our sins, we are purified, we experience a unity with Christ and with all Christians. (Christ is passing by, nn. 87-88)

“The Mass is an Action of God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/23 at 9:11 AM
Isn’t it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar? (The Way, 530)

The three divine Persons are present in the sacrifice of the altar. By the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, the Son offers himself in a redemptive sacrifice. We learn how to personalize our relationship with the most Blessed Trinity, one God in three Persons: three divine Persons in the unity of God’s substance, in the unity of his love and of his sanctifying action.

Immediately after the Lavabo, the priest prays: “Receive, Holy Trinity, this offering that we make in memory of the passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, at the end of the Mass, there is another prayer of homage to the Trinity of God: “May the tribute of my service be pleasing to you, o Holy Trinity; and grant the sacrifice that I, who am unworthy, have offered to your majesty, may be acceptable to you; and that through your mercy it may bring forgiveness to me and to all those for whom I have offered it.”

The Mass is, I insist, an action of God, of the Trinity. It is not a merely human event. The priest who celebrates fulfils the desire of our Lord, lending his body and his voice to the divine action. He acts, not in his own name, but in persona et in nomine Christi: in the Person of Christ and in his name.

Because of the Blessed Trinity’s love for man, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist brings all graces to the Church and to mankind. This is the sacrifice announced by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and a fragrant sacrifice and a pure offering is made to me in all places” [1]. It is the sacrifice of Christ, offered to the Father with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit — an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us and surpasses the sacrifices of the old law. (Christ is passing by, 86)

[1] Mal 1:11

“Come, Sanctifier, almight and eternal God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/16 at 9:11 AM
Be a eucharistic soul! If the centre around which your thoughts and hopes turn is the Tabernacle, then, my child, how abundant the fruits of your sanctity and apostolate will be! (The Forge, 835)

I was talking to you about the love of the Blessed Trinity for man. And where can we see this more clearly than in the Mass? The three divine Persons act together in the holy sacrifice of the altar. This is why I like to repeat the final words of the collect, secret and postcommunion: “Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,” we pray to God the Father, “who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

In the Mass, our prayer to God the Father is constant. The priest represents the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, who is, at the same time, the victim offered in this sacrifice. And the action of the Holy Spirit in the Mass is truly present, although in a mysterious manner. “By the power of the Holy Spirit,” writes St John Damascene, “the transformation of the bread into the body of Christ takes place.”

The action of the Holy Spirit is clearly expressed when the priest invokes the divine blessing on the offerings: “Come, Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared in honour of your holy name” — the holocaust that will give to the holy name of God the glory that is due. The sanctification we pray for is attributed to the Paraclete, who is sent to us by the Father and the Son. And we also recognize the active presence of the Holy Spirit in this sacrifice, as we say, shortly before communion: “Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, by your death have brought life to the world…” (Christ is passing by, 85)

“Be a Eucharistic soul”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/04/25 at 9:11 AM
Be a Eucharistic soul!  Of the centre around which your thoughts and hopes turn is the Tabernacle! then, my child, how abundant the fruits of your sanctity and apostolate will be! (The Forge, 835)  
Jesus has remained within the Eucharist for love… of you. He has remained, knowing how men would treat him… and how you would treat him. He has remained so that you could eat him, so that you could visit him and tell him what’s happening to you; and so that you could talk to him as you pray beside the Tabernacle, and as you receive him sacramentally; and so that you could fall in love more and more each day, and make other souls, many souls, follow the same path. (The Forge, 887)


When you receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, thank him from the bottom of your heart for being so good as to be with you. Have you ever stopped to consider that it took centuries and centuries before the Messiah came? All those patriarchs and prophets praying together with the whole people of Israel: Come, Lord, the land is parched! If only your loving expectation were like this. (The Forge, 991)

Build up a gigantic faith in the Holy Eucharist. Be filled with wonder before this ineffable reality. We have God with us; we can receive him every day and, if we want to, we can speak intimately with him, just as we talk with a friend, as we talk with a brother, as we talk with a father, as we talk with Love itself. (The Forge, 268)

“He is there, with his Flesh and with his Blood”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/04/03 at 11:09 AM
“This is my Body …”, and the immolation of Jesus took place, hidden under the appearances of the bread. He is now there, with his Flesh and with his Blood, with his Soul and with his Divinity. He is the same as on the day that Thomas placed his fingers in His glorious Wounds. And yet, on so many occasions, you saunter by, giving not even a hint of a greeting out of simple good manners that you would give to any person you knew when you met him. You have much less faith than Thomas! (Furrow, 684)

The Creator has loved his creatures to such an extent. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as though all the other proofs of his mercy were insufficient, institutes the Eucharist so that he can always be close to us. We can only understand up to a point that he does so because Love moves him, who needs nothing, not to want to be separated from us. The Blessed Trinity has fallen in love with man, raised to the level of grace and made “to God’s image and likeness” [1]. God has redeemed him from sin — from the sin of Adam, inherited by all his descendants, as well as from his personal sins — and desires ardently to dwell in his soul: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him” [2].

The Blessed Trinity’s love for man is made permanent in a sublime way through the Eucharist. Many years ago, we all learned from our catechism that the Eucharist can be considered as a sacrifice and as a sacrament; and that the sacrament is present to us both in communion and as a treasure on the altar, in the tabernacle. The Church dedicates another feast to the eucharistic mystery — the feast of the body of Christ, Corpus Christi, present in all the tabernacles of the world. (Christ is passing by, 84-85)

[1] Gen 1:26
[2] John 14:23

“The God of our faith is not a distant being”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/03/21 at 9:11 AM
We must adore devoutly this God of ours, hidden in the Eucharist [1] — it is Jesus himself, born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered and gave his life in the sacrifice of the cross; Jesus, from whose side, pierced by a lance, flowed water and blood [2].

This is the sacred banquet, in which we receive Christ himself. We renew the memory of his passion, and through him the soul is brought to an intimate relationship with God and receives a promise of future glory [3]. The liturgy of the Church has summarised, in a few words, the culminating points of the history of our Lord’s love for us.

The God of our faith is not a distant being who contemplates indifferently the fate of men — their desires, their struggles, their sufferings. He is a Father who loves his children so much that he sends the Word, the Second Person of the most Blessed Trinity, so that by taking on the nature of man he may die to redeem us. He is the loving Father who now leads us gently to himself, through the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. (Christ is passing by, 84)

[1] Cf hymn Adoro te devote
[2] Cf hymn Ave verum
[3] Cf hymn O sacrum convivium

Nativity of Our Lord

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/12/25 at 9:11 AM

• Deep within the heart of all mankind is a longing. We have an innate sense within ourselves that there is more to life than working, taking our kids to soccer games, or watching TV.

• We know that there is even more to life than all the wonderful things that money can buy, success can attain, or freedom can promise.

• Beyond all the mundane tasks that fill our days, beyond our hopes for success and desires for comfort, there is more that our hearts desire.

• At the deepest core of our hearts is a desire for that which transcends this material world and all that it can offer. Indeed, at the deepest core of our hearts is a desire for that which is eternal: God Himself.

• Try as we might to fulfill this deep longing with material goods, with money or success or fame, everything this world has to offer ultimately rings hollow and unfulfilling. This is because only God Himself can fill that void at the deepest center of our souls.

• Thus the life of the God-fearing man is a long journey or quest for that complete and total union with the Creator, which alone can bring us lasting peace.

• When God created man so long ago, He created us for this complete and total union with Him, and our first parents enjoyed this union with Him in those halcyon days in the Garden of Eden.

• But through our own monstrous pride and the deceptions of the devil, that communion was destroyed by the one thing that has the power to separate man from God: sin.

• Thus it was that the sad drama of humanity was begun. Created to live in union with God in paradise, man turned away from God in a proud quest to usurp Him.

• And from that time onward man has been engaged in this “on-again, off-again” relationship with God: repenting and being reconciled to God, then turning away again through sin, only to repent and to be reconciled once more.

• We see this drama writ large on the pages of the Old Testament as we read the stories of the ancient Israelites. But, of course, each of us has our own similar story that has played out over the course of our lives. At times our struggle with sin can seem futile.

• But we must never lose hope! Especially not today.

• Although the flesh is indeed weak, if our spirits are willing, then Christ will help us. And it’s this fact that we celebrate with the great Feast of Christmas!

• You see, Christmas is not simply the anniversary of a historical reality: the fact that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary on a cold night in Bethlehem. It’s so much more.

• Christmas is the celebration that our Lord Jesus, veiled in human flesh, comes to us to dwell with us, to be one of us, so that He can save us from our sins.

• The Gospel for Mass on Christmas Day is the Prologue of the Gospel of John, which tells us that: “The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us.” And St. John tells us that, “to those who did accept Him, He gave power to become the children of God.”

• This is because in becoming man, Jesus incorporated our human nature into His own divine nature. In doing so He renews and restores human nature, giving our mortal nature immortal value.

• Thus the Incarnation shows forth the great dignity that mankind possesses. God could have united Himself to any nature He chose, but He chose our human nature, showing that man is something wonderful in God’s eyes, something more special than anything else in all of creation.

• And because of this, because God became man, we are now able, through grace, to participate in God’s own divine nature. Salvation is not something we’re waiting for; it’s not something distant and extrinsic to us. It’s something we participate in now!

• But only if we choose to receive the Christ Child into our hearts, repent of our sins, and live as He desires us to live.

• God created all of us to live with Him forever in Heaven, to be His adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. And this God accomplishes through the Incarnation, the very mystery of our faith that we celebrate today with Christmas.

• Obviously, this is a beautiful feast, and it’s beautiful for many reasons. Christmas is beautiful first in what it tells us about God’s love and mercy for us. But it is also beautiful in what it tells us about our human nature.

• Through the Incarnation our human nature has been transformed by grace! Through Christ’s incarnation the divine life of grace that was lost to us by Adam and Eve is now restored, making it possible to live divinely on earth so that we may inherit Heaven.

• And while Jesus died, was resurrected from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, He remains with us still in the Eucharist. Christ continues to be made incarnate through His Church, particularly through the priesthood that makes the Eucharist possible.

• It is by no coincidence that, at His birth, our infant Lord was laid in a manger – a feeding trough. For this was the great foreshadowing of the Eucharist.

• Christ Jesus came to us not simply to suffer and die for us. He came not simply to be worshipped and adored. He came, as well, to give Himself fully. So much does He loves us that He gives us His very flesh and blood as true food and true drink.

• Through the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist – and all the sacraments – God’s saving grace is communicated to us. In this way we are transformed and made into the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. In this way we participate in our salvation now.

• But it all starts here on this day, for without the Incarnation, there is no salvation.

• My dear brothers and sisters, there is a longing within each of us for that which is transcendent, for that which is immortal. On this night that longing is fulfilled by a tiny babe, born in Bethlehem.

• He comes to heal us of our sins, to save us from eternal perdition, and to make us holy so that we can live with Him forever in the joys of eternity.

• Let us see in Him the only answer to the deepest desires of our hearts, and there let us make room for Him so that we may live according to His will.

Copyright 2010 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC