Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Holy Eucharist

this may our oldest daughter received her First Holy Communion. it was a beautiful day. one she had been waiting for...for quite some time. on that day i began to think about my own relationship with Our Lord and whether i was really doing all i could to get all the grace i could from this sacrament. of course, the answer was "no," but as usual, i came to think conclusion at the exact same time i came to the brick wall on how to change this. anyway, i've sat on this for a few weeks but last week my inattention to mass was just appalling to myself. sure, it probably has alot to do with my 4 year old son who screamed at the top of his lungs for the entire 20 minute car ride to mass and even screamed for about the first twenty minutes of mass so that my husband had to keep him outside, but really, that type of thing is no excuse. i might use it frequently to excuse some sort of hideous behavior on my part, but it's not. did Our Lord ever say to us, "you know, when somebody makes you angry, it's really ok to act badly in return and just act plain mean and ticked off the rest of the day"? ummm, nope. not anywhere that i'm aware of. so, in response to my apparent apathy i opened this book,"7 Secrets of the Eucharist" by Vinny Flynn. you might recognize mr. flynn as the man who sometimes sings the Divine Mercy chaplet on ewtn. my husband and i actually went to college with two of his kids. anyway, this book was a very quick and easy read, but, i'll call it nothing short of amazing. mr. flynn has managed to seamlessly weave countless references from st. faustina's diary, the catechism, numerous popes, other saints and many encyclicals throughout the text. my favorite is this piece from the diary of st. faustina...

"my soul is preparing for the coming of the Lord, who can do all things, who can make me perfect and holy...what am i and who are You, O Lord, King of eternal glory? o my heart, are you aware of who is coming to you today?...i hear Him approaching...i go out to meet Him, and i invite Him to the dwelling place of my heart, humbling myself profoundly before His the moment when i receive God, all my being is steeped in Him."

do we put this much thought and energy into our every reception of Our Lord? i'll be honest and say that i don't. therefore going on to read about st. thomas aquinas speaking of the "false person" and how in them the sacrament produces no effect. check it out. it's an eye opener.
there are two other points from the book that i would like to address. the first is "the Eucharist is alive." did i already know this on a theological, strictly head based level? yes. had i allowed the full meaning of this statement to sink in and dwell in my heart and soul? no. the author asks if every time we approach to receive communion "does it look like we believe we are about to take into our bodies the living person, Jesus Christ, true God and true man?" well, i won't speak for others but, i know that i frequently don't...and i'm really not noticing much of a difference in me when compared to those around me. the Jesus we receive is not merely the dead corpse hanging on the cross, but we receive the Lord, fully alive and risen triumphantly from the grave in living flesh and spirit. wow...and wow!
and the second point for me has to do with "full and active participation." i frankly get really tired of hearing that phrase thrown around like a free license to do whatever the heck people want in light of "well, vatican II said it." well yes, they did, but anything can be taken out of context, blown out of the water and outright be taken advantage of. look at roe v. wade. anyway, in his book, mr. flynn speaks dynamically about what we should be doing at mass in his chapter, "We don't just receive."
so, i guess i should be done raving about this book so there are some treasures for you to discover for yourself. if you are looking for a book to strengthen your knowledge of and devotion to Our Eucharistic Lord, a book that speaks of reverence, quiet and beauty, pick this one up. you won't be disappointed. the curt jester also has a review of the book over here if you would like even more info on the book.
i frankly am just so happy that i actually finished a book...that isn't a text book. it seems that since i began having children my reading time has collapsed into a pile of rubble. but i am vowing to get back up on the horse and resume all the delicious devouring of texts i used to do (of course, at a bit of a moderated pace). my plan is to tackle two books at a time. i need something light and nourishing like this Eucharistic book to get me through deeper and a bit more laborious reading that i long to do again. so, next i'm going to be picking up a short biography of c.s. lewis to balance out this beauty by de Lubac. wish me well. :)


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