Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Eucharist: God's Gift for the Life of the World, 70 pages, CA$8.95.

This brief document emphasizes that the Eucharist is so much more than ritual; it involves the core of Christian spirituality, which it defines as the “art of prayer.” This book reflects on the Eucharist as the basis for a mature Catholic interior life, that is, for a relationship with God.

It calls for a large role for Eucharistic adoration so that we can avoid seeing the sacrament as simply a “social ritual;” so that we can have a larger experience of it than simply at Mass. Through adoration, the sacrament can become a larger part of our daily living.

This guide envisions, then, a Eucharistic spirituality as the basis for Catholic living as individuals and as a community. “Contemplating Christ in a state of self-offering and immolation in the Blessed Sacrament teaches us to give ourselves without limit, actively and passively, to the point of being given like the Eucharistic bread which is given from one hand to another in holy communion.”

This thought leads to the next one, which is evangelism: “Does not the One whom we visit and adore in the tabernacle teach us to persevere in love, day in and day out, welcoming the circumstances and events of life and everything about them, leaving out nothing but sin, as we try to produce as much fruit as possible?”

The Eucharist calls for us to “re-evangelize Sunday,” by which we confront, through the Eucharist, contemporary society's hedonism and selfish individualism. But this does not mean that Catholics are to live a renewed clericalism; this Eucharistic life is not about rules or control but about belonging, especially belonging to the Lord.

The Eucharist
starts with individual spiritual growth that encompasses a way of life and a spiritual disposition rather than simply going through the motions of church-attendance, and leads to community-building through love, “for the glory of God and the service of the neighbour.”

The Eucharist is the centre of the individual Catholic and of the Catholic community as well. Because of the communitarian nature of the sacrament, the document calls us to remember – to remember especially Jesus' words of institution and His salvific work on the Cross.

Because of the greatness of this gift, God's Gift for the Life of the World uses traditional words such as “obedience,” “sinners,” “humbled,” and Saint Paul's idea that “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth.” This combines traditional Catholic piety with the more people-centred style of Vatican II.

In other words, the Eucharist plays a central role in the handing on of Catholic tradition from one generation to the next.

But the core of the Eucharist ever remains that of Christ's sacrifice which “reestablishes the communication and communion between heaven and earth, between the God who is love and the humanity who is called to communion with God's love by faith.”

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