I attended Mass Sunday morning and witnessed - for the first time - a priest "sit out" the distribution of Holy Eucharist! He was a visiting missionary priest, and he gave a wonderful talk about his mission and offered quite a nice Mass otherwise. But to sit out the Eucharistic Procession???
I've heard others lament it... I've read the blogs of those who decried it. I've always counted myself lucky to be one of those who had never experienced that incomprehensible lack of appreciation for the gift of the priesthood before.
I was dumbfounded. I haven't accepted the Eucharist from a Eucharistic Minister since my reversion. I had even made Jesus that special promise after He was kind enough to send Father Piotr my way on His Corpus Christi Feast. I was absolutely heartbroken. I didn't know what to do!
I wasn't sure if I should even partake of the Eucharist, but then I remembered what Jesus repeatedly told St. Faustina. Always accept the Body of Christ because nothing should keep the soul away from Christ unless there is a stain of mortal sin. I couldn't think of any mortal sin I might be in the shadow of, so I accepted the Eucharist from an EM... feeling my heart sink for the priest who passed up on his obligation to feed His people!
I was so upset for this priest that I was near tears as I walked back to my seat. The poor guy next to me noticed my facial expression and wasn't sure what to say to me. I wouldn't have known what to say either. All I could do was repeat the Hail Mary and Our Father over and over again, asking that the Holy Spirit open this priest's heart to the importance of distributing the Eucharist personally.
Bah. I was seriously tempted to wait in my seat and ask for him to distribute to me after Mass, but I felt as though that'd be presumptuous on my part. Then I wondered if I'd be able to make it up to 40th street (30 blocks north) in time for their Eucharistic Procession. That thought got knocked over by virtue of my own fear that I'd miss it. Bah! So up I went to accept from one of the Eucharistic Ministers while I shot pleading looks at Father Missionary to reconsider out of love for Christ.
No such luck... and I'm still a little upset. I felt off for the rest of the day, like I did something wrong or had something wrong done to me. I don't really know. I can't properly express it. Bah. Please pray for these priests. May they open their hearts to the great grace of being chosen to personally deliver the Christ of Salvation to the faithful.
Typically I utilize prime sources when linking articles, letters or other documents, but in this case, I'm going to connect you to Fr. Z's blog entry on an article regarding Cardinal Canizares' rather straightforward teaching that all Catholics should accept the Eucharist while kneeling.
Simply put, it doesn't get ANY better than Fr. Z's commentary.
So enjoy, take heed, and accept while KNEELING! Don't be afraid to humble yourself before the Presence of Christ, Himself! Even though the folks in line may snicker or chide you, remember Who it is that you kneel before, Who it is that you accept! Also know that you are not alone in your humble act of adoration - all the angels and saints are kneeling with you.
Amen! Amen! Amen!
I really hope I'm able to take my own advice on this one. I have a feeling my pastor may think I'm way off my rocker this time, though...
I attempted to enlarge this mural so you can see some of the details a bit better.
Beautiful! I think I am in love with this picture! I almost want to bow my head in gratitude and adoration of the most holy and blessed Sacrifice that renders our salvation! What hope and comfort the offering of the Eucharist must give to the souls in Purgatory!
At the base of this holy card we see an Angel of God descending into Purgatory to provide comfort to those souls who long for the Face of their God. The offering of the Mass is a huge benefit to them. Indeed, Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that each time a person receives the Eucharist (while in the state of grace, of course), something good happens to EVERY soul on Earth, in Heaven and in Purgatory.
Wow!!! Yet again, this brings a whole new appreciation for the term "Communion of Saints." The Eucharist truly does unify all in blessing.
Representing the souls of Earth are, of course, the clergy (via priest and nuns in adoration). They are central to the Eucharist, and are, as a result, closest to Christ. Just outside this nucleus are a nurse and hospice patient, a student, and a worker (scientist, maybe?). I find this wonderful. These particular persons were chosen wisely to represent the gifts the Eucharist brings each of us.
Nurse: Patience and charity
Patient: Strength and healing
Student: Knowledge and fortitude
Worker: Industry and prudence
In the background, behind these people, are images of a city (industry) and what appears to be farmlands of grain (agriculture), hinting that even these things are blessed and given to us through the bounty of God. These things, too, as part of creation, also acknowledge the Divinity of God (smoke rises and turns sharply towards the Host as the grain waves upwards towards the Sacrament).
And most importantly, taking up half the image itself is the Triune God, crucified together upon the Cross. God the Father upholds the Arms of His Son while the Holy Spirit supports both from above. The Blessed Mother offers Her unfathomable sacrifice in union with Theirs as does the Angel (representing, I'm sure, all angels), who collects the blood from Christ's heart.
The "rays of glory" take on the faces of saints and cherubs who adore and unite with Christ in Heaven. It even looks like some of the cherubs (at His Feet) are trumpeting this Mystery!
I think we sometimes forget that this Sacrifice is one and the same as that which was first offered upon Calvary. This depiction, however, brings that full circle for us, most especially by the "clock" encircling the Sacrifice. Each ray of grace and light touches upon one "hour" of the clock, signifying the timelessness of each Mass. Each offering, no matter when or where it is given, enters into the timeless miracle of the Sacrifice on Calvary.
I'm still not entirely sure what the words are in between the hours, but I'm currently attempting to ascertain those. If I ever do, I'll let you know. If YOU already know, please share the knowledge!!! :)
For those of you wondering where I came across this picture, it was originally found here. I contacted Father Byres regarding it, but being a hermit, he may or may not get back to me on this. Ha ha. So I did some more research and found it here as well. According to Father's blog, he originally came across this mural at a monastery in Northern Italy (I did a search of all monasteries in Italy and was unsuccessful in figuring out which one this came from - boo). Once I find out, I'll solicit proper usage confirmations, but in the spirit of sharing so awesome an image with all of you, methinks it'll be OK. At least I hope so!
UPDATE: A friend of mine was kind enough to solve the puzzle for me! Special thanks to you, Pete. The words that I thought were Latin weren't Latin at all! They're cities and countries. It's almost like a circular time-zone indicator, with each city representing an hour on the "world clock."
I apologize if this is redundant, but I can't help myself. I am beyond thrilled with the knowledge that Our Blessed Mother is the 1st living tabernacle of Jesus. After being confused about this for over a year and a half, to FINALLY reach the conclusion and have my "A-HA!" moment still gives me tummy-flutters!
I've been doing more research into this, trying to uncover more images of the Blessed Mother bearing the Eucharist and came away with more than I could have imagined! I actually found the most massive tabernacle / monstrance I've ever seen. Apparently, St. Stanislaus Parish in Chicago, IL, unveiled what is thought to be the largest monstrance in the world back in May of 2008.
What I love about this monstrance is the message. Through Mary, we are given the New Covenant. Through Mary, we see Jesus. Oh, how happy the heart that understands this blessing! The Blessed Mother fulfills the promises of the Old Convenant by establishing the New Covenant with her Fiat to God, the Father, giving birth to and suffering with God the Son, and establishing the early Church and protecting it through all of time with God the Holy Spirit. I apologize for the run-on, but I'm floored by this! It is incredible to me!!!
The glass monstrance you see to the right is an image of Our Lady of Medjugorje, as always, holding her Son within her heart. This beautiful monstrance was a gift to Medjugorje by Polish pilgrims to mark the 30th anniversary of her apparitions. I can think of no more fitting gift to mark her pleas for prayer and faithful following of her Son's teachings than a vessel that signifies her power as intercessor, her grace as Mother of God, and her love as Our Lady of the Eucharist, calling others to adore her Son as she does in perpetuity.
Finally, I think this this one might just be my favorite. Yup, definitely. This wooden monstrance, created by Simboli Studios, depicts the Blessed Mother holding, close to her Immaculate Heart, Christ Jesus. The look of adoration on her holy face says it all. This singular monstrance teaches us exactly what the Blessed Mother is: The 1st, most perfect, most holy, and most loving monstrance of God. She teaches us to adore Him as she does, to hold Him close to our hearts as she does. She teaches us to gaze upon Him always, fully trusting that His Love and His Will are forever and wholly perfect.
Oh, if only more churches had this monstrance! Eucharistic Adoration would be so beneficial, because it is the Mother of God, herself, who acts as our role-model!!!
OH! And before I forget, I need to point out that this little blessing was granted to me on the Feast of Corpus Christi!!!
I have to express thanks for the unique favor I received at Mass this morning. In addition to taking the veil, I've made it a point to always receive the Blessed Sacrament from the consecrated hands of a priest.
In my research travels, I've come to believe that accepting the Body of Jesus into my hands is simply not proper. I am unworthy to accept Him at all, let alone touch His Body with my hands. Only a priest, whose hands have been consecrated for the precise purpose of caressing the Host for Eucharistic dispersment, have been deemed worthy enough as they've been hand-chosen by Jesus, Himself. In fact, Pope John Paul II put it quite nicely in his Pastoral Letter, Inaestimablile Donum. On accepting the most Sacred Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament he writes:
The Holy Eucharist is the gift of the Lord, which should be distributed to laymen through the intermediation of Catholic priests who are ordained especially for this work. Neither is it permitted that the Consecrated Host and Chalice be taken or given into the hands of the faithful.
He goes on later, in the same Letter, to state:
The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte; when the priest is impeded or advanced by age; or when the number of faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long. Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity!
This echos St. Aquinas' teachings that out of reverence towards this Presence, the touching and administrating of the Eucharist belongs only to priest. After Vatican II, when this practice started gaining popularity in Europe, Pope Paul VI had to issue an Instruction titled Memoriale Domine. In it, he again states that Communion is to be given by priests to the laity on their tongue, NOT in the Protestant manner of accepting in the hand. Unfortunately, Bishops did not obey this (even though many decried administering Eucharist into the hands), and as a result, it became widespread and "legalized" (for lack of a better word).
In fact, I posed a question about this to my Catholic friends not too long ago. All of them were taught at their 1st Communion to accept in the hand. Not a one of us was taught to accept on the tongue. This is a tragedy! How can we say we believe that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus is present in the Host if we can't even show proper respect to His Presence? And just as Popes and Bishops warned, this practice has led to a complete lack of reverence for Christ! This practice has led to a disillusionment regarding the entire concept of transubstantiation (Christ is present, Body, Soul and Divinity, within the Host)!!!
Oh, when I understood what I was doing by accepting God so unworthily, I went to confession and wept. I literally wept. Poor Father must've thought I was insane, but I could not control the absolute grief I felt upon realizing how poorly I had been treating the God of the Universe. Even now I cringe at the memory.
Anyway, as a result of this newfound realization, I made it a point to always accept the Eucharist from a priest, and always on the tongue. It seemed to me, however, that every time I'd be situated where I thought Father would distribute, he'd surprise me by going to the opposite end of the Church. So I'd have to find my way over to his line, and I know he took notice of this (we're a small parish). After a few weeks of me doing this, I began to get the feeling that he thought I was being ridiculous, so I became very self-conscious. This past weekend, we had a baptism at our Mass. Every time there is a Baptism, I've noticed Father being sure to lead the line near the Baptismal font (I think so he can be sure to give special attention to the families of our newest arrivals!). So I made sure to sit on that side of the Church.
Don't you know at Communion time, he's on the OPPOSITE SIDE?! I actually looked up and said, "Okay, Jesus, is this your way of telling me that it really is OK to accept the Eucharist from a minister?" So I get into the line, against better judgement, and kept looking over at Father's line across the Church. I couldn't focus properly on who I was about to receive because I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I really felt like what I was doing was wrong. It was torture!
Here's where my little blessing comes in. I had one person in front of me, about to accept the Eucharist when Father Piotr popped up in our line. Apparently his line had suddenly ended, so he came over to help with our side (which had significantly more people due to the family of the baptized infant). Just in time for ME!!!
I immediately accepted Jesus with a heart more thankful than words can ever express. I know in my soul Jesus was telling me I was to accept Him from a priest, and I truly believe He gave me this grace because I was struggling with the issue of obedience (if the Church allows it, then who am I to place myself above it's authority?). Oh, Jesus, you are so kind to me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit's guidance. I promise to always seek out a priest, even if he does think I'm a little looney. I do this for love of You - true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Help us to rekindle the reverence Your Divinity demands. Amen, amen, amen! I love You, I love You, I love You!
I can't help but pass this one around. Enjoy!!!
Okay, so I came across this video today courtesy of a friend of mine. At first, I was a little upset that the Monstrance was placed on the ground in a bag (ugh!), but after watching it to the end, and seeing several people really be touched by the adoration... I felt it was worth it. Jesus is always willing to condescend Himself for our benefit, and I believe that's what He allowed through this unique public adoration opportunity.
Even those who walked away baffled or annoyed... a seed was planted. Who knows when it will begin to sprout?
Keep an eye out for the little boy in a yellow hoodie towards the front - he looks so happy to be a part of the adoration. And the woman at the end who is so thankful for the chance to adore. How wonderful!
I wasn't sure what to write about tonight... so when in doubt, write about the Blessed Mother! :)
About a year and a half ago, my good friend, Frank, e-mailed me the picture to your right. The picture is of a stained glass window located in a seminary-turned-prep-school that was built in 1909.
As you can see, it's quite unique. In fact, I've never seen anything like it in all my travels. The Blessed Mother is holding the Eucharist Host and Chalice while the Holy Spirit (in the form of a Dove) hovers above her halo.
Now I don't know about you, but I've only ever seen the Blessed Mother holding the Child Jesus (who in turn holds the Eucharist). This depiction is very "priest-like" at first glance. I became so intrigued that I began hunting down who commissioned the window, why they chose this pose, and if there was any other example of this "set-up" anywhere else in the world! To make a long story short, no one was able to really help. I went to priests, figured out where the window was created (they weren't helpful with info - at all), and spoke with a few theologians who were all just as baffled by this depiction as me.
Fast forward a year and a half later, and I come across Pope John Paul II's ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA. Chapter Six deals solely with the Blessed Mother's vital part in bringing the Eucharist into being. She was, in fact, the VERY FIRST TABERNACLE. When she said "Fiat" to God, she accepted into her womb the physical presence of Jesus. That is why when we say "Amen" after the priest says "The Body of Christ" we echo Mary's original, trusting acceptance of this doctrine of faith.
As she made her way to visit her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, she in effect became the VERY FIRST EUCHARIST PROCESSION! She was a living monstrance and through her, the Presence of God could be felt. This is why both Elizabeth, and the child she carried within her (St. John the Baptist) were overcome with joy as the Blessed Mother approached. Oh how beautiful that first greeting must have been. "Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!" Indeed, St. Elizabeth, indeed!
All of the sudden, the stained glass window came to mind. This realization was a kiss from the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Mother wasn't being portrayed as a priest. She was being portrayed as the original bearer of the Most Holy Eucharist! She was being depicted in her role as the Mother of the Eucharist! Oh, what a beautiful and wonderful gift to understand this! To think I had never given the Blessed Mother's role in the Most Holy Eucharist a thought! Shameful! But this grace is a blessing as my participation in the Eucharist will always echo the Blessed Mother's "fiat" in a more profound way.
I'm so thankful for this that I'll post another picture, this time of the Blessed Mother depicted more concretely as the 1st Tabernacle of Christ... the first Eucharistic Procession. Fiat!
One of the hallmarks of my conversion is what my husband calls "the uniform." Since converting back to the Church, I've adopted the tradition of the chapel veil, and dress much more modestly in the Presence of the Sacrament. For me, it is a personal reminder of my submission to Jesus, and a constant reminder to behave in a manner fitting a daughter of God.
I came across this practice through my research into Marian apparitions. It dawned on me that the Blessed Mother never really appears without her own veil. In all her apparitions, she's veiled - after all, she's ALWAYS in the Presence of God, right? So in my mind, it makes sense that anytime I'm to be in the Presence of God in the Holy Eucharist, my head is to be veiled like the Blessed Mother. Far be it from me to place myself above her example, right?
So I did some research on veiling. A lot of people seem to think that Vatican II "got rid of" the tradition. That simply isn't true. What IS true, however, is that Msgr. Annibale Bugnini (secretary for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship at the time) was asked if women would still be required to cover their heads at Mass. Msgr. Bugnini answered that veiling wasn't being discussed during the Council. Somehow, several journalists took that to mean that women didn't have to veil anymore, and printed their findings to the glee of "feminists" everywhere. By the time Msgr. Bugnini demanded a retraction based on the manipulation of his words, it was too late. Women, confused by what they'd read and heard, stopped veiling.
Vatican officials have gone on record stating that no change was ever made to the discipline of veiling, yet the damage was done - women stopped veiling and it became seen as a gesture that demeaned women. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth!
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, a Catholic philosopher and theologian, states it best:
However, when I began to veil, I felt a bit self-conscious. I didn't want others to think I was being "holier-than-thou-art." I wanted so much for this to be my own humble, outward sign of my humility and graciousness towards the Lord. Plus, as I stated above, the veil truly does help me keep focus and gently reminds me to act in a way more pleasing to God. But as they say - if you feel a calling from God to manifest His Glory in some small way, who cares what others think? Shamefully, I still care, but I try to push those thoughts out of my mind and offer the mortification to God just the same.
So far, I'm the only one in my parish that I've seen veil. Once, when traveling to another parish, I saw another veiled woman who was about my age. My heart leapt at the realization that I wasn't the only one! Ha ha. I've been lucky enough to find other women online who also felt the same calling and it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
But I'm curious if there are any others out there! Thoughts? Would you veil? Would you veil if you saw others veiling? What do you think of women who veil?
Someone shared a "Eureka" moment with me a few weeks ago regarding the fact that the Mass catches us up into Heaven for a few brief moments. I'd heard that saying before, but it never really struck a chord with me until he quoted the prayer just before we being respond as a congregation with the Holy, Holy, Holy. The end of the prayer is:
"And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we join in their unending hymn of praise."
This person highlighted that which I'd been monotonously glossing over for the last 27 years of my life. In our response, the Holy, Holy, Holy, we are joining in with all the angels of Heaven because they are ALWAYS giving praise to God. As Newton so brilliantly wrote for a verse in his Amazing Grace, "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun!"
In other words, time is non-existant. It means nothing as all praise is continuous. During the Mass, we just enter into this timeless loop of praise to give thanks and glory to God the Father through His Son, Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit. That's why the Mass is the same Mass regardless of when / where it occurs.
Jesus died once for us on Calvary, and each subsequent "remembrance" of that sacrifice is a repackaging of His Sacrifice so that all may take part in His Salvation. At Consecration, we are witnesses to Christ's Death and Resurrection. The Body and Blood are separate, which is the physical sign of His Death. When the priest drops a piece of the now Consecrated Host into the now Consecrated Wine (His True Body and Blood), we bear witness to His Resurrection (keep your eyes peeled - this happens at every Mass!). Accepting the Eucharist is accepting the Divine Body of our Risen Lord, and to understand that this praise and thanksgiving is continuous is a mystery that never hit home until this wonderful man pointed it out to me.
So when I was at Mass for the Solemnity, I was blessed to remember this little Eureka moment, and when the time came to sing the Holy, Holy, Holy, I closed my eyes and asked that I be transported to Heaven to offer my singing in union with theirs. My heart was so full of love and praise that I was sure I'd burst. I didn't, luckily, so I was able to participate in the Eucharist. Ha ha! What a wonderful moment that was. It was a kiss from Heaven! I hope to always keep that knowledge within my heart during the Mass.
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