Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

REPARATION


Novena of Reparation
FROM THE RACCOLTA

I adore Thee profoundly, O my Jesus, in Thy sacramental form; I acknowledge Thee to be true God and true Man, and by this act of adoration I intend to atone for the coldness of so many Christians who pass before Thy churches and sometimes before the very Tabernacle in which Thou art pleased to remain at all hours with loving impatience to give Thyself to Thy faithful people, and do not so much as bend the knee before Thee, and who, by their indifference proclaim that they grow weary of this heavenly manna, like the people of Israel in the wilderness. I offer Thee in reparation for this grievous negligence, the Most Precious Blood which Thou didst shed from Thy five wounds, and especially from Thy sacred Side, and entering therein, I repeat a thousand times with true recollection of spirit:

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

 Profoundly I adore Thee, my Jesus; I acknowledge Thy Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, and by this act of adoration I intend to atone for the carelessness of so many Christians who see Thee carried to poor sick people to strengthen them for the great journey to eternity, and leave Thee unescorted, nay, who scarcely give Thee any outward marks of reverence. I offer Thee in reparation for such coldness, the Most Precious Blood which Thou didst shed from Thy five wounds and especially from Thy sacred Side, and entering therein I say again and again with my heart full of devotion:

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Profoundly I adore Thee, my Jesus, true Bread of life eternal, and by my adoration I intend to compensate Thee for the many wounds which Thy Heart suffers daily in the profaning of churches where Thou art pleased to dwell beneath the sacramental veils to be adored and loved by all Thy faithful people; and in reparation for so many acts of irreverence, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood which Thou didst shed from Thy five wounds and especially from Thy sacred Side, and entering therein with recollected spirit I repeat every instant:

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Profoundly I adore Thee, my Jesus, the living Bread which cometh down from Heaven, and by this act of adoration, I intend to atone for all the many acts of irreverence which are committed all the day long by Thy faithful when they assist at Holy Mass, wherein through Thine exceeding love Thou dost renew in an unbloody manner the self-same sacrifice which Thou didst once offer on Calvary for our salvation. I offer Thee in atonement for such base ingratitude the Most Precious Blood which Thou didst shed from Thy five wounds and especially from Thy sacred Side, and entering therein with sincere devotion, I unite my voice to that of the Angels who stand around Thee in adoration, saying with them:

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Profoundly I adore Thee, my Jesus, true Victim of expiation for our sins, and I offer Thee this act of adoration to atone for the sacrilegious outrages Thou dost suffer from so many ungrateful Christians who dare to draw near to receive Thee with mortal sin upon their souls. In reparation for such hateful sacrileges I offer Thee the last drops of Thy Most Precious Blood, which Thou didst shed from Thy sacred wounds and especially from the wound in Thy sacred Side, and entering therein with a devout heart, I adore Thee, I bless and I love Thee, and I repeat with all the hearts who are devoted to the Blessed Sacrament:

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

"Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer Thee, through the compassionate Heart of Mary, the prayers, works and sufferings of this day, in reparation for the offences that are committed against Thee, and for all the intentions that Thou hast in immolating Thyself continually on the altar."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Come to the Tabernacle – to the Dwelling Place of My Love

Is there anything that can compare with My Love?
If you were to truly understand My Love,
then all else would be as nothing to you.
Come to Me, to the Tabernacle,
To the dwelling place of My Love for you.
Listen there to the tireless heartbeat of My Love,
Which calls to you, calls to you with deep yearning;
For I long to strengthen and to heal your sick, weak hearts
Through the Heartbeat of My Love.

So that every heartbeat of your life
May become a heartbeat of love,
A pulse that issues from My Heart,
Flooding through and warming you
And, in the one circulation of love,
Perpetually purifies, transforms, and renews all things,
So that your entire being may be prepared
For the eternal union in love.

Mel Alarilla said...

Great and inspiring post. God bless you always.

Michael said...

Thanks Mel!

Anonymous said...

A priest doesn't need to turn bread into Jesus Christ because He offered His life as a one time sacrifice for our sins. And a priest can't turn bread into the creator of the universe.

Jesus isn't present in the bread so you don't need to worry about how you treat the bread. Please don't adore it.

Michael said...

Understanding the Eucharist in Three Easy Steps

1) God as God institutes Passover: In order for Moses and God’s chosen people to be freed from Egypt they had to survive the first Passover, where the Angel of Death would come and kill the first born of everyone who did not follow God’s command. That command stated simply to kill an unblemished lamb, put the blood on the door frame and then consume the lamb.

As Scott Hahn says so well in his book The Lambs Supper, if they ate symbolic lamb-shaped cookies, their first born died. So, you had to sacrifice AND consume the lamb to escape death. So far so good, right?

2) God as Jesus fulfills Passover: Jesus, as part of the Trinity, knew what God meant when he spoke to Moses. Jesus even conversed with Moses during the Transfiguration. God as Jesus knew, like the first Passover lamb, he had to be sacrificed so that we may escape death. This time, however, it was death from sin. Like Moses’ lamb, Jesus would be unblemished. He would be sacrificed. His blood would be spilled on the cross.

And we had to consume him.

As he says in John, we had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. The translation for eat can be more accurately stated as to gnaw or chew. He wasn’t speaking figuratively and he lost thousands of followers that day because they couldn’t understand how that was possible.

Michael said...

continued

And unlike numerous times Jesus spoke in parables, this time Jesus offered no further explanation to his Apostles.

You can think of it this way. If Moses’ lamb could speak, what would it have to say so that his first born could escape the Angel of Death? Well, that’s how Jesus was speaking to us, as the Lamb of God.

But, how will we be able to consume Jesus? Good question.

He answers that question later at The Last Supper. Here Jesus takes the Passover meal, a meal put into place by God himself, and says this bread once used for Passover will now become my body and this wine once used for Passover will now become my blood.

So now we understand the original sacrifice of the lamb with Moses and the paschal sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Now what?

3) God as Holy Spirit Makes the Eucharist Available to Us Every Day: Did the Apostles think Jesus was speaking literally or symbolically? They saw his face when he said we had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. They heard his voice. They saw his body language. Did they believe him? Apparently so.

As St. Paul says in Corinthians, “when we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim the death of our Lord Jesus Christ”and “those who eat this bread and drink this cup un-worthily, bring condemnation on themselves.” If the Eucharist were merely symbolic, would being unworthy result in condemnation?

After the Ascension and after Pentecost, the Apostles had to figure out how to worship in a post-Messiah world. What do we do? When do we do it? What happens while we’re there?

Michael said...

continued

St. Justin Martyr, in a letter written about 150 AD gives us critical insight. For Catholics, see if this sounds familiar.

•He states that the Disciples of Christ meet on the day of the sun (Why is that important? Jews met on Saturday. Why did Christians meet on Sunday? The Resurrection).
•All believers who dwell nearby come to the same place (church).
•The memoirs of the Apostles and writings of the prophets are read (First Reading from the Old Testament. Second reading from the New Testament. A Gospel reading).
•When finished the one who presides (the Priest) admonishes and challenges them to imitate those beautiful things (the Homily).
•Then we rise and pray for ourselves and others (Prayers of the Faithful).
•Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to he who presides. He takes them, offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe and through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit (the Consecration)
•When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: Amen. (the Great Amen)
•When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the eucharisted bread, wine and water (Communion)
•And take them to those who are absent. (Eucharistic Ministers)
For non-Catholics, St. Justin’s description is a synopsis of the current Catholic Mass. St. Justin also states in his first apology, that this “Eucharistic bread” is transmutated, or what we call now transubstantiated, into the body and blood of Jesus.

Michael said...

continued
This isn’t something St. Justin made up! He would have been called a heretic! St. Justin was merely stating that which was already in place. And since he was a direct follower of the Apostles, it had to have been instituted by them.

You may ask “Why doesn’t it taste like flesh and blood? It still tastes like bread and wine.”

Remember, we are limited creatures, with limited senses and limited understanding.

You also have to remember that God was planning to institute the Eucharist from the beginning of time, so He could be with us always. From Melchizedek and his use of bread and wine, to Jesus in the desert being tempted to turn rocks into bread, to manna in the desert and its connection to Jesus in the Gospel of John, to the Apostles recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread on the way to Emmaus, and many other examples, the connection to bread and wine has been layered throughout salvation history.

If you still are uncertain, ask yourself this… are you prepared to state that:

•God as God can create the universe and all you know
•God as Jesus can walk on water, calm the storms, cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, and turn a few loaves of bread and a few fish into enough to feed thousands
•But God as the Holy Spirit can’t turn this bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, yet allow the taste to remain as our limited senses can comprehend it?
God’s power is limitless. It’s our humanity that is limited.

And the beauty of the Mass is that we believe, when we celebrate the Eucharist, that we are not re-creating or acting like Jesus at the Last Supper, but that we are actually present at the Last Supper! God is not bound by time! When we consume the Eucharist, we are sitting with the Apostles at the Last Supper, in a timeless universe with Jesus offering us eternal salvation through his literal sacrifice!

What a beautiful gift! What a wonderful blessing!

So, there you have it. God instituted Passover. Jesus fulfills Passover. The Holy Spirit makes the Eucharist available at every Mass. Even with that understanding, it still takes belief, it still takes faith, to fully appreciate it.