Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A brief catechism on eucharistic adoration (part 2)

A Brief Catechism on Eucharistic Adoration. CPDT

(Part 2 of 2)
5. Why does Jesus Christ remain with us in the humble form of bread and wine?

Who knows? We know that it is the nature of Jesus to be humble—“who, though he was in the form of God, did not equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).

Of course, Jesus identified himself as the Bread of Life: ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst… I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh….Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’ (6:35, 51, 53-56).

Remember that in the Old Testament, one could not even look upon the infinite glory of God lest one die! A child was once asked why God resides in the form of bread and wine—she very wisely said, ‘so that we would not be afraid of Him.’

6. What have the Popes had to say about the importance of Eucharistic adoration?

“On August 12 of [1999] speaking to half a million young people in Denver, Colorado, Pope John II told them:
‘Your pilgrimage will lead you to Christ present in the Holy Eucharist. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, you can open your hearts to Him, but you should especially listen to what he says to each of you. Christ’s special words to young people are the following:
Do not be afraid. (Mt. 10:31) and Come, follow me. (Mt. 19:21). Who knows what the Lord will ask of you young people of America, sons and daughters of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania?...’ ” –Fr. John Hardon, S.J., 2000 address The Greatest Need in the World Today—Forming the Eucharistic Faith and Love of Children, full text available on
http://www.therealpresence.org/ .

Pope Benedict XVI has continued John Paul II’s desire to highlight the importance of adoring the Eucharist in his recent apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis:

As Saint Augustine put it: "nemo autem illam carnem manducat, nisi prius adoraverit; peccemus non adorando – no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it." (191) In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church's supreme act of adoration. (192) Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself. Indeed, "only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature. And it is precisely this personal encounter with the Lord that then strengthens the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which seeks to break down not only the walls that separate the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another."

7. How can Eucharistic adoration help encourage a growth in vocations?

If we teach children to place the Eucharist and prayer at the center of their lives then we will no longer have to see parishes closing and Clusters expanding due to a shortage of vocations to the priesthood. We might once again have enough nuns, monks, and brothers to minister at parishes and Catholic schools. We might once again have an increase in fruitful Catholic marriages and churches packed with families for Sunday Mass. In places where parishes foster Eucharistic adoration, young men begin to discern vocations to the priesthood and young women think about the religious life. I have seen this for myself. It really happens!

Related websites:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Eucharist:

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Eucharist:

(See especially questions 271-294)

Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, paragraphs #66-69 on “Adoration and Eucharistic Devotion”:

* The Real Presence Association: http://www.therealpresence.org/
Real Presence Communications: http://www.realpresence.org/
Eucharistic Miracles: http://www.therealpresence.org/

* Singles of the Eucharist: http://www.singlesoftheeucharist.org/
Swallowed Scroll: http://www.swallowedscroll.blogspot.com/

Labels: , , ,