Thursday, June 27, 2013

Unity, a Must for our Faith

In case some of you did not get the chance to read the message from Our Holy Father, Pope Francis on the need for all Catholics to be united, I have copied this General Audience.


Vatican City, 19 June 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis of the Wednesday general audience to the expression “of the body” that the Second Vatican Council used to indicate the nature of the Church: the Church is the body of Christ. The Pope recalled the text of the conversion of Saul, who became Paul, in order to explain how the Apostle, with that experience, tells us how profound the union between Christians and Christ is.

“The image of the body helps us to understand this deep bond between Church and Christ, which St. Paul particularly developed,” the Pope said. “The Church … is a living body … and this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, nourishes, and sustains it. … [But], the same way that in a body it is important that the lifeblood courses for it to live, so must we allow Jesus to work in us, so that his Word might guide us, his Eucharistic presence might nourish and inspire us, and so that his love might give strength to our love for our neighbour.”

“In the Church, therefore,” the pontiff continued, “there is a variety, a diversity of tasks and functions. There is no dull uniformity but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes. There is communion and unity: all are in relation to one another and all combine to form a single vital body, profoundly connected to Christ. Let us remember this well: being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from him the divine life that makes us to live as Christians. It means remaining united to the Pope and bishops who are instruments of unity and communion and it also means learning to overcome selfishness and divisions, to understand one another better, and to harmonize the variety and richness of each one. In a word, loving God and the persons around us, in our families, parishes, and associations, better. Body and limbs must be united in order to live!”

Speaking extemporaneously, the Holy Father added: “Unity is always greater than conflict. Conflicts, if they aren't resolved well, separate us from one another, separate us from God. Conflict can help us grow but it can also divide us. Let's not take the path of division and struggle between one another. All united, all united with our differences but always united: this is Jesus' path.”

“How much damage is caused to the Church by divisions among Christians, by being apart, by narrow interests! The divisions among us,” he continued, “but also the divisions between the communities: evangelical Christians, Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, why are we divided? We must try to bring unity. … We must pray together as Catholics and also with other Christians, must pray that the Lord grant us unity, unity between us. But how will we have unity among Christians if we aren't capable of having it among us Catholics? Of having it in our family? How many families fight and are divided! Seek unity, the unity that makes the Church. Unity comes from Jesus Christ. He sends us the Holy Spirit to create unity.”

 Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
And enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Heart of Our Faith: The Eucharist

Do I believe? On this Feast of Corpus Christi et Sanguine, it is good to remind ourselves of the deep reality that after the Epiclesis, during Mass, and at the words of Consecration, the Holy Spirit comes down upon these offerings of bread and wine and they become in reality the Precious Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ, our Lord. Although the appearance of bread and wine remain, the actual substance is changed. “The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation.” (CCC No. 1107)

Yes, we see with the eyes of faith, and we believe in the Word of Our Lord, who commanded us to “take and eat”, “This is my Body”. (Lk 22:19) He did not say, this is a symbol of my body, or represents My Body but, “This IS My Body”. (Lk 22:19) It is our privilege to come to the altar to be feed by His Body and Blood, to be transformed into Christ. And at the end of each Mass, to be commissioned to Go, and bring Him into the world. If all Christians knew and believed in the reality of Christ's physical presence among us, they would flock to His Church.

Just yesterday, three young children and their mother stopped by our parish Church to find a place to pray. Not Catholic but extremely interested, the young boy asked where the small white round wavers were kept. He had heard about this from a friend. When Sister showed him the tabernacle and said as Catholics we believe that Jesus is really present in the white bread, and that He lives in the tabernacle, the young boy responded: Oh, I have read about the tabernacle in the Bible. It is the Ark that contained the “holy of holies”? What a beautiful opening to explain why Our Lord has remained with us in the Holy Eucharist. This is what we are called to do, to invite, and instruct others in the truths of our faith so that all may be one in Him.

Catechism of the Catholic Church: No. 1374

  • The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."

Mary, Mother of the Eucharistic, who conceived in your womb God incarnate, nourished Him during life, washed His wounds on Calvary, and in the period subsequent to Pentecost, received in your heart the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of your Divine Son, grant us the gift of your faith, your confidence in God's plan, and your love and devotion to Christ present in the Eucharist.