Holy Eucharist: April 2008 Archives

Visits

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tarcisius.jpg

This is the image of Saint Tarcisius that I brought back with from the catacombs of San Sebastiano in Rome. Back in the 1950s and early 60s, Saint Tarcisius was presented to Catholic schoolboys as a model of courageous love for the Blessed Sacrament.

Making A Visit

Terry had an excellent post recently in which in talked about something distinctively Catholic: "making a visit." Just a few generations ago this expression was current in Catholic culture. When, in passing in front of a church, one would say, "Let's make a visit," it was understood that one was proposing a visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Walking Downtown

As a little boy I would sometimes walk "downtown" with my (Irish) grandmother. Halfway there we would come to Saint Patrick's Church on Grand Avenue. Grandma would say, "Let's make a visit," and in we would go. On hot summer days the church was a dark, cool place. A red sanctuary lamped burned near the altar. We knew that Jesus was there. There was comfort in visiting Him in His house. Sometimes we would light a candle. After a few moments in prayer we would resume our walk. This was the kind of experience that marks a child for life.

After School

It was not uncommon for children to visit the Blessed Sacrament after school. Yes, it is true that the teaching Sisters encouraged visits, but it was something that children did freely. In the context of a family neighbourhood where nearly everyone walked to the bank, the Post Office, and the market, visits to the Blessed Sacrament were simply part of the fabric of Catholic life. Rarely were our neighbourhood churches empty. Nearly always there was someone kneeling in prayer, lighting candles, stopping at Our Lady's altar, or making the Way of the Cross. Then came the so-called "urban renewal," the destruction of so many family neighbourhoods, and the so-called "post-conciliar renewal," of which enough has been said elsewhere in the blogosphere.

Ego sum panis vitae

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Third Wednesday of Paschaltide

Acts 8:1-8
John 6:35-40

Eucharist-tide

The adorable mystery of the Eucharist illumines all of Paschaltide because, for the Christian, it illumines all of life. Paschaltide might just as well be called Eucharist-tide! The Eucharist is the sacrament of Our Risen Lord’s abiding presence, and the sacrifice of His Passion and Death renewed on the altar in an unbloody manner for the sake of the living and the dead.

Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that for the sick, the Eucharist is an encounter with the Physician of Life; for the unclean, it is the fountain of mercy; for the blind, it is the light of eternal brightness; for the poor and needy, it is the open treasury of the Lord of heaven and earth.

Christus Passus

Our Lord is, in the Most Holy Eucharist, just as He is in the glory of heaven. He stands before His Father, offering Himself as Victim and Priest. He displays His glorious wounds to the Father, and allows them to speak for themselves on our behalf. How well I remember sitting in a classroom thirty years ago, listening to the saintly Dominican Father Urban Mullaney passionately expound the Eucharist as the sacrament of the Christus Passus: Christ in the very act of His passing-over to the Father by suffering, dying, rising, and ascending to His right hand. In the Eucharist there is no remote “there and then.” The mystery perpetually unfolds before the Father, and before the Church, in the “now” of eternity.

Every Year a Year of the Eucharist

Paschaltide is the Church’s spatium laetissimum, her space of exceeding great joy. We read the Acts of the Apostles in order to discover there the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and among us. And we read the sixth chapter of Saint John in order to receive from it the grace of a Eucharistic renewal affecting all of life. For one who enters deeply into the Church’s Year of Grace, living Paschaltide as the Church intends it to be lived, every year is a Year of the Eucharist.

The Bread of Life

Today’s Gospel gives us but five verses, but they are enough to sustain a lifetime. “It is I who am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never be hungry, he who has faith in me will never thirst” (Jn 6:35). Take these words of Our Lord. Make them your own. Turn them around and address them to Him. “Thou, O Lord, art the bread of life. Thou art the bread of my life, my daily bread, the sustenance without which I will grow weak, and falter, and perish on the way. I come to Thee, that I may never be hungry. Give me faith in Thee, that I may never thirst.

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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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