The Eucharist

Chaos seems to regin

Life nothing but pain

Existence without meaning

Happiness always fleeting

No hope or point at all

Eat and drink today, then wait for death to call.

__________

Order created by gift

A universe He did uplift 

Made man in His image and likeness

So that all might return to His highness 

Reason and intellect instilled

But the greatest gift was free will.

__________

Pride, anger, lust and envy

All the evil deep within me

Demons call with tempting lies:

"He doesn't love you, why even try?"

"Don't let Him rule you with an iron rod

Give into your passions; be your own god."

__________

But from a land called Galilee

Came the Son born to hang on a tree

To repair the rupture caused by sin

Reconciling the Father to all men

Gave His body and blood to pay an infinite debt

The victory is won; the table set.

__________

Still the darkness remains deep within our hearts

Since the Garden of Eden, the devil plays his part

A sickness in the soul; gains met with loss

Symptoms always worsen when eyes are off the Cross

The cares of this world blot out the rays of light

Many turn their backs; lose the will to fight.

__________

So "come to me" He says, "and I will give you rest"

"Pick up your cross and follow me towards that rocky crest"

"I cannot promise you leisure, or a life absent pain"

"But the suffering I endured merits your eternal gain"

"Have no fear my child, I'm present here and now"

"Upon the altar; a tiny Host; My love cannot be bound."

 

 

God love you.

 

 

 

Happy Lent!  Here is a short poem I composed, reflecting on the purpose for which God made us, and the means he gives us to get there--Himself!  I pray it speaks to you in some small way.

Why, O God?  Why am I here?

I need not exist; I know that for sure

Yet I never seem to have a heart that is pure

I fall short of your glory, succumb to my fear.


Before you created me, this world spun around

Men came and went--some lost, others found

And so it will be, long after I am gone

Memories will fade, dawn after dawn.


But for now I am a pilgrim on this journey called life

None of the stops on the way fully satisfy my heart

As if a small piece has been cut out with a knife

And the hole left behind slowly tears me apart.


Many long years, this hole have I tried to fill

For that purpose, the world offers no shortage of dirt

Yet the more shoveled in only increases the hurt

My heart was meant for more than vain glory and a cheap thrill


But lo, in the darkness, I saw a great light

And heard a small voice, as I trembled with fright

What was said is quite ancient, yet made present again and again:

"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."


O Jesus, my Dear Savior, fill my heart with a small piece of Yours 

At last I know what makes my heart full

The love from this Sacrament, Your divine life it outpours

Until I am home at the heavenly banquet, to which all men You pull.

God love you.

 

Readings for Monday of the First Week of Advent: Isaiah 4:2-6; Psalms 122:1-9; Matthew 8:5-11

I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 8:11

Today's Gospel reading reminds us that, more than anything else, what Jesus asks of us is to humbly trust in His will.  Indeed, what caused Jesus to "marvel" at the Roman centurion was his humility -- "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof"-- and his simple faith that Jesus could heal his servant with only a word.  By recognizing his unworthiness, the centurion was made worthy.  Thus from this humble expression of faith Jesus proclaims that "many" will come and "sit at table . . . in the kingdom of heaven"; the New Jerusalem where, as Isaiah prophesies in the first reading, those who remain "will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life."  (Isaiah 4:3)

Of course, it is the same spirit of humility shown by the centurion that allows us to sit at the Eucharistic table of the Lord at Mass.  For each time we consume the body and blood of Jesus, we get a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that awaits us in the New Jerusalem.  Moreover, this heavenly food transforms us and prepares us for that day.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once explained:

In receiving the Eucharist, "[t]he living Lord gives himself to me, enters into me, and invites me to surrender myself to him, so that the Apostle's words come true: 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Galatians 2:20)."

And as the manna sustained and strengthened the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land, so the Eucharist sustains us on our journey toward the kingdom of heaven.  As we continue that journey this Advent, let us partake of it as often as we can.

God love you.

th-10

This is the fifth in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.

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God is present in all things, always and everywhere.  He is omnipresent.  This is the fifth attribute of God according to St. Thomas.  God "operates in all things" and "is in every place," if, by no other reason, than His giving everything its existence. (Summa Theologica q. 8, art. 1 and 2)  Thus, God declares in the Old Testament, "I fill heaven and earth."  (Jeremiah 23:24)  In a similar way, Jesus tells us that "where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them."  (Matthew 18:20)

But on this side of the thin veil between heaven and earth, God is present in another way unique from any other: the Eucharist -The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ; Christ's flesh and blood under the appearance of bread and wine.  Jesus made this quite clear:

  • "This is my body which is given for you."  (Luke 22:19).
  • "[F]or this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  (Matthew 26:28).
  • "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; . . . For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."  (John 6: 53 - 55)

th-11

Before he ascended into heaven, after giving the great commission to baptize and make disciples of all nations, Jesus told the eleven apostles "I am with you always, to the close of the age."  (Matthew 28:20)  As often as we speak of the Incarnation, it still is easy to forget sometimes Christ's humanity.  It's one of the greatest gifts and miracles God gave us.  Being fully human as He was, Jesus knew what it was like to see, to touch, to smell, and to taste.  He knew by experience that, as humans, we perceive reality first and foremost by our physical senses.

As such, it is only logical that when Jesus said that he would be with us "always" until the end of the age, he meant more than simply a spiritual presence.   And to be clear, he does reman spiritually present with us--through the Holy Spirit; through His words in Scripture; through the love we share for our neighbor.  But as human beings, Jesus knew that we, and especially the apostles, needed more than that to sustain us through the trials and sufferings of this life.  Indeed, we would need his physical presence to see, to touch, to smell, and to taste.  We would need the Eucharist.

While He was offending and shocking the Jews with this crazy talk of His flesh and blood, Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that "[h]e who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."  (John 6:56)  To abide means to "remain or stay" and "to dwell or reside."  As St. Thomas explains: "In the sacrament of the Eucharist, what is outwardly signified is that Christ is united to the one who receives it, and such a one to Christ."  Stated simply, by partaking of the Eucharist--His body and blood--Christ becomes omnipresent within us.  And not only that, but in every Catholic church (parish) throughout the entire world, Jesus resides--is omnipresent--in the tabernacle.  Anyone who wishes may stop by whenever they like to sit with Him; talk with Him; adore Him!

In his commentary on  Matthew 28:20, the great Bible scholar Cornelius a Lapide summarizes this beautifully:

"[L]ikewise, Christ has willed to abide continually in the Church in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For as the humanity and deity of Christ are present in glory in Heaven, and are adored visibly by the angels and saints, so are the same likewise present in the Eucharist, but hidden under the forms of bread and wine, and therefore invisible, and are there adored, and even partaken of by the faithful."

With Lent now in full swing, I encourage you to read and pray with the sixth chapter of John's Gospel.  Then carve some time out of your busy day to stop by and say hi to Jesus in the tabernacle (or exposed in a monstrance for adoration) at your local parish.  If you are Catholic, try to attend a weekday Mass to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  And if you are not Catholic, perhaps never realizing His real presence in the Eucharist, then what are you waiting for?  Christ wants to give Himself to you--abide in you--in a way you never thought imaginable.  You won't find it in any other church on earth except the Church He founded.

God love you.