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Mystery of Hope

Mystery of Hope

 

Presence of God – Let me hunger for You, O Bread of Angels, pledge of future glory.

MEDITATION

Jesus said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is My Flesh, for the life of the world.” The Jews disliked this speech; they began to question and dispute the Master’s words. But Jesus answered for post on the mystery of hopethem still more forcefully: “Amen, amen, I say unto you, except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you” (John 6:51-54). These are definitive words which leave no room for doubt; if we wish to live, we must eat the Bread of Life. Jesus came to bring to the world the supernatural life of grace; and this life was given to our souls in Baptism, the Sacrament which grafted us into Christ. Thus it is a gift of His plenitude, but we must nourish it by a deeper penetration into Christ. To enable us to do so, He Himself willed to give us His complete substance as the God-Man, making Himself the Bread of our supernatural life, the Bread of our union with Him. St. John Chrysostom says, “Many mothers entrust the children they have borne to others to nurse them, but Jesus does not do that. He feeds us with His own Blood and incorporates us into Himself completely.” Baptism is the Sacrament which engrafts us into Christ; the Eucharist is the Sacrament which nourishes Christ’s life in us and makes our union with Him always more intimate, or rather, it transforms us into Him. “If into melted wax other wax is poured, it naturally follows that they will be completely mixed with each other; similarly, he who receives the Lord’s Flesh and Blood is so united with Him that Christ dwells in him and he in Christ” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).

COLLOQUY

“O heavenly Father, You gave us Your Son and sent Him into the world by an act of Your own will. And You, O my Jesus, did not want to leave the world by Your own will but wanted to remain with us for the greater joy of Your friends. This is why, O heavenly Father, You gave us this most divine Bread, the manna of the sacred humanity of Jesus, to be our perpetual food. Now we can have it whenever we wish so that if we die of hunger, it will be our own fault.

“O my soul, you will always find in the Blessed Sacrament, under whatever aspect you consider it, great consolation and delight, and once you have begun to relish it, there will be no trials, persecutions, and difficulties which you cannot easily endure.

“Let him who wills ask for ordinary bread. For my part, O eternal Father, I ask to be permitted to receive the heavenly Bread with such dispositions that, if I have not the happiness of contemplating Jesus with the eyes of my body, I may at least contemplate Him with the eyes of my soul. This is Bread which contains all sweetness and delight and sustains our life” (Teresa of Jesus [Teresa of Avila], Way of Perfection, 34).

“All graces are contained in You, O Jesus in the Eucharist, our celestial Food! What more can a soul wish when it has within itself the One who contains everything? If I wish for charity, then I have within me Him who is perfect charity, I possess the perfection of charity. The same is true of faith, hope, purity, patience, humility, and meekness, for You form all virtues in our soul, O Christ, when You give us the grace of this Food. What more can I want or desire, if all the virtues, graces, and gifts for which I long, are found in You, O Lord, who are as truly present under the sacramental species as You are in heaven, at the right hand of the Father? Because I have and possess this great wonder, I do not long for, want, or desire, any other!” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).

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Note from Dan: This post on the mystery of hope is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art for this post on the mystery of hope: Last Supper, Peter Paul Rubens, between 1631 and 1632, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Patricia

    “All graces are contained in You, O Jesus in the Eucharist, our celestial Food! What more can a soul wish when it has within itself the One who contains everything?”
    What a unimaginable concept, yet so real! Many Catholics need to read this posting, to have these ideas refreshed in their minds and hearts. One could not “leave” the faith and many would “come” to the faith if they knew and really believed this truth. Send this posting to someone you know, and ask them to pass it on, in honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

  • Anneli Sinkko

    “Amen, amen, I say unto you, except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you” (John 6:51-54)”. As a Minister of the Word in Protestant tradition we celebrate the Holy Communion offering both bread and vine – which is correct as far as I am concerned based on John’s statement above. I realize that in the Catholic tradition you offer to the people only the host and I’ve been told that this practice stems from the understanding that the body contains both flesh and blood. Have I’ve been told correctly?

    • Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus. After consecration, both the Host and the Precious are fully the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus. That is why recovering the Host suffices for the congregation. However, there are occasion when the priest may opt to give both or the Precious Blood alone.

      • Anneli Sinkko

        Thank you MariaGo. We also in the Uniting church of Australia believe in the Real Presence. Thank you for your reply – it was illuminating.

        • LizEst

          … The Eucharist IS the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ whether we believe it or not because Jesus said so. As if that were not enough, through the centuries, there have also been many miracles attesting to this fact. Here is a good site that lists them (with links) by country.: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm

          • Anneli Sinkko

            Thank you LizEst. I am not discussing here trans-substanciation or anything like that; I was just wondering about the practical application of delivering Communion. Again – thank you for your answer and yes, I am aware of miracles of Eucharist – have witnessed myself some. With love Anneli

          • LizEst

            Did you see my response to MariaGo? Most places only distribute the Host, except for special occasions, and that’s what the Church calls for. Where a parish has had a long-standing tradition of offering both the Host and the Precious Blood daily, they don’t necessarily break with that practice.

          • Anneli Sinkko

            Thank You LizEst. I’ve heard that particularly in Eastern Europe they have tradition of offering both elements to all [perhaps I am wrong?]. It has been a pleasure discussing these important matters with you; again thank you.

          • LizEst

            It just depends on the parish. Many parishes in the U.S. do every day; likewise, many do not.
            It is offered to all; but, when we receive, we must be free of mortal sin, have fasted (with certain exceptions for the homebound who are ill and their caregivers), and the norm is to receive at Mass. Eastern Catholicism commonly receives by intinction.

          • Anneli Sinkko

            Thank you and bless you.

          • LizEst

            Thank you … and may God abundantly bless you now and forever, Anneli!

        • Patricia

          Annell, you are always welcome to go to Mass at any Catholic Church, listen to the words of the priest during the consecration and observe the reception of communion with your own eyes. You would not be able to receive Hioly Communion, but you could go up with everyone else, and you would receive a blessing from the priest. It is very a beautiful and moving experience.

      • LizEst

        As well, in some parishes, there is a long-standing tradition to receive both at every Mass.

    • Patricia

      Catholics usually receive Jesus in both species, although He is fully present in just one species, or even a small piece of a host after the consecration. During the consecration, through the words of a validly ordained priest acting in Persona Christi, by the power and grace of God, the bread and the wine are wholly transformed into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, as In the same mysterious way, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary to make Christ really present in her womb, when she said, “Be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). The following paragraphs are taken and slightly condensed from the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( http://ccc.usccb.org/flipbooks/catechism/index.html)

      Paragraph #1374 The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique…. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.

      Paragraph # 1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”

  • LizEst

    The rubrics actually say that receiving the Host only is the norm. But, the Church acknowledges that, in parishes where the common practice has been both, it is custom to receive under both. And yes, I’ve been to many parishes where only the host is offered. In my parish, it is both.

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