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The Eucharist and Meaning

  /   Saturday August 02, 2003  

Mike Hayes invited comments on his article. This is my response:

I read and reread your article on two different days. I agree that we can’t go before God and then ignore our brothers and sisters. I know of a priest who said that “Charity begins in the parking lot.”

However, the sidebar says that Catholics believe that Christ is present in the bread and wine. Actually, the Church teaching is that the bread and wine no longer exist but have become the Body and Blood. If Christ were merely present in bread and wine, then the bread and wine would still exist. In this case, to the extent the bread and wine still exist, we are worshipping bread and wine.

But on to the article . . . . I disagree that the Mass or adoration become empty ritual under any circumstances. We can certainly fail to dispose ourselves to receive the graces and therefore not receive them. However, it is not the Mass but rather our hearts that were empty.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that it is not our charitable works which make the Eucharist meaningful but rather the Eucharist that makes our works meaningful. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. It is the source of all the graces we need for salvation and for doing good works. It is also the sacrifice in which the work of our redemption is accomplished. While Christ is present in all places in his divinity, his humanity is present only in the Sacred Host. Like all human bodies, he has to occupy a physical space.

The grace of God and his salvation is a free gift for us won by that sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that is re-presented in an unbloody manner in the Mass. We are not saved on our own merits. However, we can grow in sanctifying grace through our good works. Before that can happen, we must be given the grace through God’s initiative.

Does this mean that the works of those who do not believe in Christ are meaningless? No, it doesn’t. Salvation comes only through Christ, but Christ has the power to save those who through no fault of their own don’t explicitly accept him.

I approach the Eucharist to receive Christ himself, the source of all graces. I pray before him in the tabernacle or monstrance, knowing that he is there. Then, I can go out into my job or whatever else I might be doing that day. I continue my practice as essential to growth in virtue.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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