Sunday, July 27, 2008

Identity: The Real Presence

Nothing sets Catholics and the True Church apart from the Protestants than our believe in the Real Presence of Christ -- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is also this believe for which many mock us, and even worse, perform profane sacrilege and desecration against that which is held most precious to us.

This has been all too obvious lately as the Evil One has enlisted unbelieving men as his vulgar accomplices in performing unspeakable acts of desecration. Even in our “enlightened” world, Christ continues to be mocked and injured by sinful men. It is really sad, and even as painful as it is to read , one must really feel sorry and pray for the conversion of these evil people. Even Saul of Tarsus was able to overcome his persecution of Christ to become one of his greatest followers. But for those who take their malevolence to the grave, I shudder to imagine their eternal punishment.

But sadly, one does not have to look to malevolent atheists to find this supreme disrespect; rather you can find it within our own churches! At least the atheists have not been taught nor “confessed by faith” their believe in the Real Presence. I alluded in my discussion of Reverent Silence that there are those within our own credo who show little if any respect for the Blessed Sacrament. They enter the church without genuflecting or reverencing it, if you can even find the Blessed Sacrament in some of our churches.

Most shockingly, it is not only displayed by the laity, but also by some priests! We have all seen priests who walk past the tabernacle without reverencing it, or enter the sanctuary for Mass without genuflecting to the Blessed Sacrament. If the priests do not show it via example, is it any surprise that their flocks do not? I also feel that some of these priests have lost their own believe in the Real Presence which can be seen during the consecration…offered with little if any feeling and without genuflection after the elevation. What a difference from the deep ecstasy that Padre Pio would enter into at the moment of consecration.

At a recent Mass in a very “modern” church here in the diocese of Charlotte, I personally witnessed a horrifying display of Eucharistic abuse. During the communion of the faithful, I notice a woman approaching the priest to take communion. Once she took her communion (in the hand, of course), she pulled out a wrinkled facial tissue and asked the priest for another Host. He seemingly refused.

A woman later in the line reaches the priest, and had a conversation with him. After which, she ascended to the altar, and took the pyx off of the altar and carried it down to where the earlier woman was sitting. The woman then opened the pyx and began to beat it on the palm of her hand like it was a new ketchup bottle in order to remove the Sacred Host… while the other woman was reaching into her purse to pull out her kleenex again. At this point I buried my face into my hands, unable to watch this abuse any longer. I can only imagine how it all ‘ended’, but what was all too clear to me was that these women could not believe that Christ is truly present in that Host.

I sincerely feel that his loss of a core believe is directly related to our loss of focus in our liturgies, most especially the Mass, as the worship of God and His Son’s Sacrifice on the Cross made present again on the altar. Instead, we focus on ourselves, as His Holiness stated in his books on the liturgy, we “create a closed circle in upon ourselves”.

This is further lost by the allowance of non-consecrated hands to touch the sacred Host… by both the faithful and the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. The mystery is gone, and it is the mystery that allows one to coming into “contact” with Christ mentally (i.e. spiritually) not physically. What is special or sacred about something that anyone can touch?

We must return our focus to the Real Presence and it must be preached and taught from the pulpit… and it must be believed and exampled by our priests! Christ in the tabernacle must be returned to His rightful place on the Altar before the all the Faithful to see and kneelers must be returned to all churches for us to prostrate ourselves before Our Savior. We must return to Communion on the tongue via the priests' hands. Lastly, the return of wide-spread and common-place Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction and 40-Hours Devotion.

Please pray for increased reverence of the Blessed Sacrament and for holy priests to set the example for us… and yes, also for those who profane our Eucharistic Lord. (A true test I my charity I must confess.)

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