Holy Eucharist: July 2007 Archives

Idolators or Adorers?

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Monday of the Seventeenth Week of the Year I

Exodus 32:15-34
Matthew 13:31-35


Sins of idolatry and faithlessness are not as remote from us as they may seem. We may not fashion golden calves for ourselves, as did Aaron and the children of Israel, but we are tempted, nonetheless, to seek substitutes for God whenever we feel that He is distant, absent, or not looking.

The Practice of the Presence of God

This is why our holy father Saint Benedict and all the saints so insist on the practice of the presence of God. God is not distant from us, we are alienated from ourselves. God is not absent from our lives, we are absent from our own hearts. The eye of God is ever upon us, but we have roving eyes, ever in search of something to satisfy the cravings of the world, the flesh, and the devil. When we find something that appears to satisfy our itch for novelty, we place it on pedestal. We make it an idol.



Father Benedict Joseph Groeschel has been quoted as saying that the most corrosive thing in religious life over the past forty years has been the television. I agree with him. A community’s capacity for prayer and, especially, for adoration, is directly affected by its intake of television. There are religious who have no problem spending two hours or more in front of the secular altar of television; the same religious balk at being asked to spend two hours or more in adoration before the altar where Christ is really present. Idolatry.

Theologian Romano Amerio, a theologian at the Second Vatican Council, writes:

The television that daily prints the same images in millions of brains
and returns the next day to overprint others in the same brains like a sheet of paper printed on a thousand times, is the most powerful organ of intellectual corruption in the contemporary world. Nonetheless I will not deny that from those enormous antennae that send out across the world influences more powerful than those of the stars in the celestial spheres, there may come some slight influence that may accidentally be of use to religion. But I do deny that these scraps can legitimate the habitual and uncontrolled use of such technology or become the norm by which to shape the rhythms of religious life. One cannot but be amazed! Certain communities have abandoned the centuries old custom of reciting the night office in church so as to be able to watch television programs that clashed with the keeping of their rule.


Saturday of the Sixteenth Week of the Year I

Exodus 24:3-8

A Mystic Outline of the Mass

We see in today’s lesson from the Book of Exodus a mystic outline of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The first verse describes what is, in essence, a liturgy of the Word: “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice: ‘We will do all the words of the Lord, which He hath spoken’” (Ex 24:3).

Actuosa Participatio

What have we here if not a prefiguring of the Mass of the Catechumens, also called the Liturgy of the Word? Moses communicates the Word of God. The people listen, and then commit themselves to carry out what they have heard. Think, for a moment, of the quality of their listening to the Word, and of the density of their silence. One had to listen intently, inclining the ear of one’s heart. Actual participation at its best!

The Altar

After the proclamation of the Word of the Lord and the people’s promise of obedience to it, Moses builds an altar. “And rising in the morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel” (Ex 24:4). One builds an altar for one thing alone: for sacrifice. The altar is surrounded by twelve pillars: a delineation of sacred space and a representation of the communion of the twelve tribes in a single sacrifice.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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