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Posts Tagged ‘communion’

It is a bedrock Catholic truth, taught by the Church since the time of the Apostles, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Council of Trent defined dogmatically that Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in every part of the Blessed Sacrament. The Council taught infallibly:

“If anyone denieth that, in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.”
This means that Our Lord is present even in the smallest particle of the Host, and in the smallest particle that may fall to the ground. Thus the reverence that we owe to the Blessed Sacrament demands that we take every precaution that no particle of the Host — not even the smallest — is left open for desecration in any way.

First of all, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.” Thus, he said the sacred vessels of the altar are consecrated for this holy purpose, but also, the priest’s hands are consecrated for touching this Sacrament. And St. Thomas said that it is therefore not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except to save it from desecration. (Summa, III, Q. 82. Art. 3)

This reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and even for the smallest particles, was incorporated into the traditional Mass — the Old Latin Mass — which contained strict rubrics on this point:

1) From the moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the Sacred Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together on each hand. Whether he elevates the chalice, or turns the pages of the missal, or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and his forefinger on each hand are closed. The thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host;

2) During Holy Communion, the altar boy holds the paten under the chin of those receiving Communion, so that the slightest particle does not fall to the ground. This paten is cleaned into the chalice afterwards;

3) After Holy Communion is distributed, the priest scrapes the corporal (the small linen cloth on the altar) with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle is left, it is collected and consumed by the priest;

4) Then, the priest washes his thumb and forefinger over the chalice with water and wine, and this water and wine is reverently consumed to insure that the smallest particle of the Sacred Host is not susceptible to desecration.

Communion in the hand and so-called Eucharist lay-ministers make a mockery of the Divine Truth that Our Lord is truly present in every particle of the Eucharist, and make a mockery of the holy rubrics used by the Church for centuries as a safeguard against desecration.

Because what happens with Communion in the hand?

The Host is placed in the hand, which is not consecrated. The communicant picks It up with his own fingers, which are not consecrated. The sacred particles fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated.

Likewise with so-called Eucharistic lay-ministers, their hands are not consecrated; they should not be touching the Sacred Host. The sacred particles of the Host fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated. The fingers of “lay-Eucharistic ministers” are not washed, so any particle remaining will also be desecrated.

No authority in the Church, not even the highest, can dispense a Catholic from the duty of preserving the necessary reverence owed to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Any Church leader who does so labors under the “diabolic disorientation of the upper hierarchy” warned against by Sister Lucy of Fatima, and is derelict in his duty.

Only forty-five years ago, Communion in the hand was unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is. Only forty-five years ago, Eucharistic lay-ministers were unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is.

But now, these abuses are permitted and promoted by a liberal hierarchy who — in this area and in many other areas — suddenly approve what the Church always rightly condemned. This “suddenly blessing what the Church always condemned” is the hallmark of the Vatican II reforms.

The truth, however, is that God does not change, and man’s duty of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament does not change, even if we have many leaders who in their destructive liberalization of the Catholic Church, seem to care little or nothing for the true reverence we owe to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Thus, anyone who receives Communion in the hand, or who receives Communion from a Eucharistic lay-minister, or who is a Eucharistic lay-minister himself or herself — in the objective order — is committing a sacrilege. It is a misuse of a holy thing. It is a mockery of what the Church has taught and practiced. It is a desecration of the greatest gift that God has given us: the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Need for Reparation

In 1916, a year before Our Lady’s visitations at Fatima, the “Angel of the Eucharist” appeared with Chalice and Host to the children. He administered the Sacred species to the three children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Our Lord, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel left the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself before It. The children imitated him. The Angel then prayed repeatedly this act of reparation:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

Let us commit to memory this prayer and say it throughout the day as often as possible. The “outrages, sacrileges and indifference” toward the Blessed Sacrament. Sacrilege is so commonplace that it is no longer recognized as sacrilege. The need for reparation is colossal.

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ROME, September 13, 2010 – The image below is a partial panorama of the immense mosaic that covers the floor of the cathedral of Otranto, on the southeast coast of Italy.

Floor mosaic

Walking across it from the entrance to the sanctuary, the faithful have as a guide the tree of salvation history, a history that is sacred and profane at once, with episodes from the Old Testament, from the Gospels, from the chronicle of Alexander the Great and the cycle of King Arthur.

The mosaic is from the twelfth century, an era in which the churches had no chairs or pews, and the faithful were able to see the entire floor. Even when they were not adorned with figurative art, the floors of churches incorporated expensive materials and elaborate designs. They were walked upon. Prayed upon. Knelt upon in adoration.

Today kneeling – especially on a bare floor – has fallen into disuse. So much so that Benedict XVI’s desire to give communion to the faithful on the tongue, and kneeling, is cause for amazement.

Kneeling for communion is one of the innovations that pope Benedict XVI has introduced when he celebrates the Eucharist.

But rather than an innovation, this is a return to tradition. The others are placing the crucifix at the center of the altar, “so that at the Mass we are all looking at Christ, and not at each other,” and the frequent use of Latin “to emphasize the universality of the faith and the continuity of the Church.”

In an interview with the English weekly “The Catholic Herald,” master of pontifical ceremonies Guido Marini has confirmed that the pope will stick with this style of celebration during his upcoming trip to the United Kingdom.

In particular, Marini has announced that Benedict XVI will recite the entire preface and canon in Latin, while for the other texts of the Mass he will adopt the new English translation that will enter into use in the entire English-speaking world on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011: this because the new translation “is more faithful to the original Latin and of a more elevated style” compared with the current one.

The attraction that the Church of Rome exercised over many illustrious English converts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – from Newman to Chesterton to Benson – was in part the universalism of the Latin liturgy. An attraction to a solid and ancient faith that today is moving many Anglican communities to ask for admission to Catholicism.

The “reform of the reform” attributed to pope  Benedict in the liturgical field is taking place partly in this way: simply, and with the example given by him when he celebrates.

But among the standard-setting practices of Benedict XVI, the one least understood – so far – is perhaps that of having the faithful kneel for communion.

This is almost never done, in any of the churches all over the world. In part because the communion rails at which one knelt to receive communion have been abandoned or dismantled almost everywhere.

But the sense of church flooring has also been lost. Traditionally, the floors were very ornate precisely in order to act as a foundation and guide to the greatness and profundity of the mysteries celebrated.

Few today realize that these beautiful and expensive floors were also made for the knees of the faithful: a carpet of stones on which to prostrate oneself before the splendor of the divine epiphany.

The following text was written precisely to reawaken this sensibility.

Its author is Monsignor Marco Agostini, an official in the second section of the secretariat of state, assistant master of pontifical ceremonies and a scholar of liturgy and sacred art, already known to the readers of http://www.chiesa for his enlightening commentary on the “Transfiguration” by Raphael.

The article was published in “L’Osservatore Romano” on August 20, 2010.

KNEELERS OF STONE

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Holy Eucharist

The testimony of Scripture and the Early Church is clear. When Jesus recited the prayers over the Passover bread and wine at the Last Supper, saying “This is my body” (Mt 26:17-30, Mk 14:12-26, Lk 22: 7-22), the Church has always believed that the Eucharistic the substance of the elements were transformed into his literal Body and Blood. This is called the transubstantiation miracle which happens daily at Mass all over the world.  The Catholic Church has been proclaiming the Eucharist mystery for the past 2000 years. 

The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.” 1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation.(Catholic Catechism)

I regret that so many Christians do not take literally this command of our Lord. Most denominations believe Jesus was talking figuratively and that  he never meant for us to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at communion. So why do Catholics are so strict about this particular teaching of Jesus? I suppose the shortest answer to this is: Because that is what Jesus told us to do! 

But how do we know that the Apostolic teaching included faith in the Eucharist as Real Presence? The Scripture is clear, in 1Cor 11:27,28, written only twenty years after Jesus’ death, St. Paul tells us that the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper is so sacred that the person who partakes without examining his conscience, ‘sins against the body and blood of the Lord’, could even make himself ill. 

Further more, there are records of the early Fathers of the Church as well as Apostolic writings that attest to that the early Christians took literally Jesus’ teaching that “the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). By examining these early writings, we discover that  the Eucharistic “traditions that you were taught” (2 Thes 2:15), are interpreted precisely the same way by the RCC of today as they were two millenia ago. 

So what did the Apostolic Fathers write about the Eucharist?

The Didache, 50 – 100 AD:

Also called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, the Didache is a manual of catechetical instruction and liturgical procedure. It is the oldest existing document of Christian antiquity and it says: 

Consecrated Eucharist is sanctified: ‘Let no-one drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this also did the Lord say: “Do not give to dogs what is sacred” (Chapter 9).
“Upon us, however, you have bestowed spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your Servant”. (Chapter 10)
“If anyone is holy, let him advance [to the altar]; if anyone is not, let him be converted” (Ibid). 

Eucharistic Sacrifice:

“On the Lord’s Day (Sunday), assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks, but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Chapter 14) 

St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, 35-107 AD

A disciple of the Apostle John, who wrote the letters to various local churches on his way to Rome to be thrown to the beasts i the arena. The letters reveal internal conditions of early Christian communities. 

“From the Eucharistic and prayer they [ Donastic heretics] hold aloof, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who suffered four our sins…And so, those who question the gift of God perish in their contentiousness” (Smyrnians,7). 

The Eucharist is “the medicine of immorality, the antidote against death, and everlasting life in Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 20:2). “Take care then, to partake of one Eucharist; for one is the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His Blood” (Philipians 4). “Let that Celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid wich is held under the  bishop or anyone to whom he has committed this” (Symerians, 8:1). 

Ever since the begining of Christianity, not only faith in the Eucharist and the Real Presence is explicitly expressed, but so is our own hierarchical Church structure, with the local bishop passing on his authority to the priest. There is a wealth of records that attest to the doctrine of the Eucharist in the  Catholic Church throughout its history, from as early as the first century, as shown above.  I used the writings of Daniel Gallilo “Christ Lies Here Slain” as a reference for this post, and would not hesitate to recomment it to those who are interested in further readings on the Holy Eucharist.  

Recent Eucharistic Miracle

It is well documented that various Eucharist Miracles have taken place in the history of the Church. I believe the most recent ones are those that have taken place through Julia Kim, a pious Catholic woman, who since the early 90’s has been involved in twelve Eucharistic miracles; of which the most recent one happened in February this year. These miracles are currently being investigated by the Vatican.  

Besides the mysterious events related to the Eucharist, Julia Kim is also known to occasionally feel the pains of the Crucifixion and tortures endured by Jesus, especially during Good Friday.

  

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