Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Participation in the Holy Eucharist demands that we give witness to the Truth of the Gospel of Christ

Excerpt From the Book,  'Divine Love Made Flesh' by Cardinal Raymond Burke.  The references to the Holy Father refer to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 

To help us understand the moral transformation which heartfelt participation in the Holy Eucharist brings about, Pope Benedict XVI refers us to the story of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). When Zacchaeus met our Lord he was at once moved to confess his sinfulness, to make superabundant restitution for what he had stolen, and to provide from his substance for the poor. Our Holy Father concludes: “The moral urgency born of welcoming Jesus into our lives is the fruit of gratitude for having experienced the Lord’s unmerited closeness.”

Pope Benedict XVI concludes his presentation on the moral transformation worked by the Holy Eucharist by reflecting on the public nature of our Eucharistic worship, that is, its “consequences for our relationships with others”. Receiving Holy Communion is never a merely private act. Because of our public communion with Christ in the Holy Eucharist, others rightly expect Christ-like living from us. If we receive Holy Communion and then think, speak and act in a way which betrays Christ, then we give scandal to others. We lead them to think that it is all right to receive Christ into our souls and, at the same time, to ignore or contradict His teaching by the way we live. We deceive them regarding the holiness of the Most Blessed Sacrament and its involvement in every aspect of our being and life.

Participation in the Holy Eucharist demands that all of us give witness to the truth and love which Christ teaches us. The responsibility to give public witness to our faith is especially weighty for those “who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental goods, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms”. 

The Holy Father addresses in particular Catholic politicians, who, in virtue of their communion with Christ in the Holy Eucharist, must promote and support laws which respect the natural law written by God on every human heart. We are witnesses to the scandal caused by Catholic politicians who present themselves to receive Holy Communion and, at the same time, consistently support legislation which violates the natural moral law – for example, legislation which permits procured abortion, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, “assisted suicide”, so-called “same-sex marriage” and other violations of fundamental human rights. Regarding such situations, the Holy Father, referring to chapter 11 of St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, declares plainly: “There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist” (cf 1 Cor 11:27-29).

The Holy Father (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) reminds bishops of their duty to reaffirm the relationship of the Holy Eucharist to the moral life, specially for those who have responsibility for the common good. For bishops to do less constitutes a failure to shepherd the flock entrusted into their care.

*I know myself I have not lived up to the witness of my faith in the Holy Eucharist as I should.  But it is important that we realise Who we are receiving in Holy Communion and what that demands of us as Catholics.  Every day we should make an examination of conscience at the end of our day and know always the great and tender mercy of God and the necessity of making a good Confession when we fail.  

If so many of the Saints went to regular Confession (many went weekly), then what does that say to us ? This Advent I know I need to realise more the importance of making a good examination of conscience and a good Confession more regularly, to receive Jesus worthily (even though I am never worthy), and to be more aware of giving good witness to my faith.  

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner. 

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