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"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest".                       Matthew 11:28

'Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light'. Mt 11:29-30



Summer/Fall 2011



Vol. 26, No. 1

The Mystery of Faith

The Eucharist is the Mystery of Faith.  This is proclaimed in the Eucharistic prayers of the Mass. Jesus' teaching on the Eucharist was the first real test of His disciples' faith in Him.  This we hear in the famous sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel. One should read carefully and meditate on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John to deepen his appreciation of the Eucharist.  Following is a synopsis of that chapter:
      John does not narrate the story of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, as do the other Evangelists.  Instead he relates a long discourse given by Jesus on the Eucharist.  The chapter begins with Jesus' feeding the five thousand with a five barley loaves and two dried fish. By this miracle Jesus establishes His credentials.  He proves that He can provide food for their natural lives, food for their bodies.  He then goes on to tell them He also will provide food for their supernatural lives, food for their souls.  This food will be Himself.  He said to them: He who eats my body and drinks my blood abides in me and I in Him (Jn 6: 56.). If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (Jn 6:53).  The context of John 6 makes it very clear that Jesus intended these words to be taken literally, not symbolically.  And his disciples knew that because many of them were repulsed by His words and left Him.  They had little faith in Him.  This was the first apostasy in the history of the Church.  And this is when Jesus made the first allusion to the forthcoming betrayal by Judas.
      Unfortunately, many Catholics do not appreciate the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist.  Many do not even bother to genuflect in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  So, in additional to a cavalier attitude about Sunday Mass participation and the worthy reception of Holy Communion, they do not see the importance of Eucharistic adoration.  Some say, "I don't have to go to church to pray, I can pray anywhere, in my room for example."  Or, "I feel closer to God out in the forest among the trees than in church."  It is true that God is everywhere.  So how does one respond to that?
      Consider what Jesus said just before He ascended into heaven.  Our Lord told His disciples: "Behold, I am with you always, even to the very end of the world."  How then is He with us here on earth today?  We know from Scripture that He is with us today in many ways.  Let us look at those ways and compare them with His presence in the Eucharist because many Catholics, like those who make the objections above, do not see what is so special about His presence in the Eucharist.

  • He is with us when we gather together in prayer. For He said: When two or more come together in my name, there I am in your midst.

  • He is present in the persons of the poor, the sick, the suffering. For he said: Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.

  • He is present when the Word of God is proclaimed from Sacred Scripture. For it is He who speaks to us in Sacred Scripture. St. Peter tells us in his second letter that Scripture came from men who moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

  • He is present in the Church Herself. For the Church is His Mystical Body. He is the Head; we are the members. Jesus identified Himself with the Church when He said to Saul: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

  • He is present in the sacraments of the Church. When a sacrament is administered, it is Jesus Himself who administers the sacrament in the person of the minister.

  • He is present in the leaders of the Church, the Pope and the bishops in union with him. For he said to them: He who hears you hears me.

  • He is present in the souls of those who are in a state of grace. For St. Paul tells us that they are temples of the Holy Spirit. And where the Holy Spirit is, of course, Jesus is there as well.

  • He is present everywhere in the world - in every blade of grass, in every seed, in every star - because He continually holds everything in existence. If He ceased to exercise His creative power for an instant everything in the universe would vanish.

      Finally, He is present in the Eucharist. In the other ways mentioned above, Christ is present in His power, in His authority and in His Spirit.  But in the Eucharist, Jesus is present in Person.  He is present in both His divine and human natures, as God and man, only disguised as bread and wine.  Jesus is as much with us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar as He was with His disciples when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee with them.  He is as much with us as He was with St. Thomas when He told him to put his fingers in the nail holes and his hand in His side.  Jesus said to Thomas: You believe because you have seen. Blessed are they who have not seen, yet still believe. We are those who do not see, yet still believe.  We believe that Jesus is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, even though all we see is a wafer of bread. That is why we call the Eucharist the "Mystery of Faith."  When the priest says at Mass: "Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith," he is referring to the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar, which just seconds before were mere bread and wine.  The response of the congregation is an affirmation of that belief.
      Unfortunately, many Catholics today do not know what they are affirming by that response.  Many Catholics today have fuzzy ideas about the Eucharist.  Surveys seem to indicate that many American Catholics do not have a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.  Much of this lack of understanding is due to bad theology being propagated today and to poor catechesis.  And our modern liturgical practices don't help any.  It is a psychological principle: As one believes so one acts and as one acts so one believes.  That is to say, our actions betray our innermost beliefs and attitudes, on the one hand; and on the other hand, our actions contribute to the formation of our beliefs and attitudes.  It's no accident that when we knelt at the altar rail to receive communion on the tongue from the hand of a priest with an altar boy holding a paten under the chin, our belief in the Holy Eucharist was confirmed and strengthened, and our awe for this wonderful sacrament was enhanced by all the reverence.  It is a great blessing that Pope Benedict XVI is helping to revive these practices by the love and respect he has shown for the traditional Latin Mass, now called the extraordinary use of the Roman Catholic Rite.  In the days when it was the ordinary use there was universal belief among Catholics in Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist, and I think it is safe to say that there were many less sacrilegious communions as well.  So let us offer Masses, Communions and Holy Hours of prayer for the restoration of true belief among Catholics in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles and adoration chapels throughout the whole world even until the end of time!

 

Eucharistic Adoration and Self-Knowledge

The famous twentieth-century British author and preacher, Msgr. Ronald Knox, once delivered a sermon entitled "The Window in the Wall."  He opened it with this quotation from King Solomon's Song of Songs, in which an abducted young bride is sought by her beloved: And now he is standing on the other side of this very wall; now he is looking through each window in turn; peering through every chink. I can hear my love calling to me, "Rise up quickly, dear heart, so gentle, so beautiful, rise up and come with me." (Sg 2:9-10)
      In the mystical interpretation of the Song of Songs, the voice of the beloved is understood to be the voice of Christ speaking to the faithful soul. Msgr. Knox adds his own personal insight concerning the passage, which he often had while looking at the Sacred Host enthroned in the monstrance. He fancied that the "glittering disc of whiteness which we see occupying the round opening" is but a kind of window through which passes not earthly natural light but heavenly supernatural light, "a window giving access to a spiritual world outside our human experience.
"
      
The "wall" that Jesus stands behind is the wall of our damaged human nature - "the wall of sense, which cheats us when we try even to image eternity; the wall of immortified affection, which shuts us in with creatures and allows them to dominate our desires; the wall of pride, which makes us feel... so independent and self-sufficient."  This is a wall which we ourselves have erected by sin, and in which God has made a great window through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
      
The window in the wall is the Sacred Host in the monstrance.  It is a window between two worlds.  As an ordinary window belongs at once to both the room inside and the open air outside, so His Eucharistic Body belongs at once to both time and eternity.  The Sacred Host is the window through which the supernatural light of heaven passes to illuminate our souls.  As a beam of sunlight coming from a window makes visible the specks of dust that fill the air, so the beam of grace from the Host makes visible the specks of pride, avarice, anger, lust, gluttony, envy and sloth that fill our souls.  Just as the natural light from the sun informs us of the state of the world outside us, so the supernatural light from the monstrance informs us of the state of the world within us.  So then, what better place is there to make an examination of conscience than in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?

 

Perpetual Adoration and the Restoration of Order in the Church

"If the great event of the Second Vatican Council was a breath of the Spirit that has blown into the world through the windows of the Church, then we need to recognize that a lot of worldliness has also blown in with the Spirit, creating a current and blowing the leaves all over. We've seen everything, and yet nothing has been lost, but order must patiently be restored. Order is restored above all by strongly affirming the primacy of the Risen Christ, present in the Eucharist. There is a great peaceful battle to be waged which is that of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration [emphasis added], so that the entire world can become part of a network of prayer. United to the holy Rosary, in which we reflect on the salvific mysteries of Christ together with Mary, this will generate and develop a movement of reparation and penetration."

His Eminence Mauro Cardinal Piacenza
Prefect of The Congregation for the Clergy
From an address concerning the crisis in the priesthood

 

APEA Activity in 2010

In 2010 the priests of the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration visited the following parishes to help start or maintain perpetual Eucharistic adoration (or as close to it as possible):

Ss. Francis and John, Georgetown, KY; Annunciation, Kiln, MS; Our Lady of the Rosary, Larose, LA; St. Patrick, Chama, NM; Our Lady of the Rosary, Glenwood, IA; St. Ann, Coppell, TX; Sacred Heart, Ville Platte, LA; St. Ann, Belcourt, ND; St. Lawrence, Lawrenceburg, KY; Our Lady of Lourdes, Elmira, NY; St. Louis, Paynesville, MN; St. Martin,     St. Martin, MN; St. Paul, Pleasure Ridge Park, KY; Sacred Heart, Poplar Bluff, MO; St. Francis of Assisi, Binghamton, NY; St. Francis by the Sea, Hilton Head Island, SC; St. Peter the Apostle, Wilmington Island, GA; Holy Savior, Lockport, LA; St. Jerome, Phoenix, AZ; Corpus Christi, Woodside, NY; St. Joachim, Plainview, MN; St. Joseph, Marietta, GA; St. Raphael-Holy Angels, Hamilton, NJ; Christ the King, Daphne, AL; Sacred Heart, Atchison, KS; St. Joseph, Atchison, KS; Immaculate Conception, Conception, MN; Shrine of the Holy Cross, Daphne, AL; St. Lawrence, Fairhope, AL; St. John the Baptist, Jordan, MN; St. Benedict, Atchison, KS; St. Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia, PA; St. Mary, Littleton, CO; St. Leo, Irvington, NJ; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cincinnati, OH; St. Bede, Holland, PA; St. Elizabeth Seton, Newmarket, ON, Canada; Our Lady of Fatima, Bensalem, PA; St. Anastasia, Newtown Square, PA; St. Pius X, Selinsgrove, PA; St. John, Westminster, MD; St. Eleanor, Collegeville, PA; St. Alphonsus,, Brooklyn Center, MN; Holy Family, St. Louis Park, MN.

 

Pastor Reports Many Blessings from PEA

In 2005 Father Frederick R. Parke started perpetual Eucharistic adoration at his parish, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Jacksonville, Florida. Blessings started flowing almost immediately. The parish at that time had no vocations to the priesthood. The parish today has six seminarians, four studying for the home diocese of St. Augustine, one for the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, and one for the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother. Before starting perpetual adoration Fr. Parke had tried in vain to get religious sisters for the school. After starting perpetual adoration, he was able to get four young sisters in full habit from the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother. The small order now has eleven candidates, four from Assumption BVM parish. The school is doing very well, with 578 students and a waiting list. Father Parke is impressed that a good number of the adorers are young people, some who show profound reverence for the Blessed Sacrament by genuflecting on both knees and bowing so that their foreheads touch the ground. The former bishop of the diocese made regular visits to the chapel, and the new bishop has visited it as well. Father Parke noted that everyone in the parish benefits from adoration, even those who are not adorers. He knows of at least one conversion story. A Baptist woman who visited the chapel when she was feeling down and out found peace there and converted to the Catholic faith. Adoration has even provided monetary blessings. The Sunday collection has doubled since perpetual adoration started, and a million dollars in unsolicited donations were made for the much-needed restoration of the church.

 

 

Missionary Priests of the Blessed Sacrament
P.O. Box 1428 • Bensalem, Pa 19020
Tel: 215.244.9211 • Fax: 215.244.9211
Email: apea@webtv.net