Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

7/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Jesus, the Son of God become man, was able, through his human nature joined to the person of the Word of God, to offer perfect, infinite, and meritorious worship and adoration to the Godhead.  This feat no one has the ability, and one will have the ability, and no one is able to have the ability to do on his own.

The Holy Eucharist.

The Holy Eucharist.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Mass, Eucharist, Jesus, Incarnation, Kenosis, exinanition, Pierre de BĂ©rulle, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The Eucharist, teaches the Second Vatican Council in its dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, is the "source and summit of the Church's life."  (LG, No. 11; see also CCC § 1324).

Why is this? 

The answer is simple.  Without the Eucharist it is impossible to worship and adore God. 

Man is under a duty, both under natural law and divine law (the First Commandment) to worship and adore, both individually and socially, the one true God.  CCC § 2105

Why is it impossible to worship and adore God without the Eucharist?

The answer is again simple.  It is impossible to worship God without the Eucharist because the Eucharist is not a thing, but is a person, namely, Jesus Christ.

What does the fact that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ have to do with the possibility of worshiping and adoring God?

In answering this question, let us reflect on the insights and the words, indeed even the prayers directed to the Eucharistic Jesus, in the Second Discourse on the State and Grandeurs of Jesus by of the French Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629):

"You alone serve God as he deserves to be served," prayed de Bérulle to Jesus, "which is to say, with an infinite service.  And you alone adore Him with an infinite adoration, as he is infinitely worthy of being served and adored.  For before You, neither men nor angels could serve and adore this supreme majesty with this kind of service by which it is cherished and adored according to its infinite grandeur, the divinity of its essence, and the majesty of its persons."

Jesus, the Son of God become man, was able, through his human nature joined to the person of the Word of God, to offer perfect, infinite, and meritorious worship and adoration to the Godhead.  This feat no one has the ability, and one will have the ability, and no one is able to have the ability to do on his own.

Ur-Nammu could not do it.  Abraham could not do it.  Moses could not do it.  Lao Tse could not do it.  Zoroaster could not do it.  Vishvamitra could not do it.  Siddhartha Gautama Buddha could not do it.  Confucius could not do it.  Socrates could not do it.  Plato could not do it.  Aristotle could not do it.  Plotinus could not do it.  Muhammad could not do it.  Guru Nanak could not do it.  Bahá'u'lláh could not do it.  All of them together could not do it.

Without Christ, no one can do it.  That is why the only real and the only perfect worship and adoration of God is through Jesus in the Eucharist.
 
"It is impossible," says Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in his book Our Savior and His Love for Us, "to adore God more perfectly, to better acknowledge His sovereign domain over all things and all souls, than by the sacramental immolation of the Savior who dies for us on the Cross. . . . It is the most perfect fulfillment of the commandment: 'Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt serve Him only.' (Deut. 6:13)"

That is why it is essential that we participate in Mass, in the liturgy of the Eucharist, for the Mass is nothing less than our participation in this perfect act of worship and adoration given to God by Jesus Christ.
 
The Mass is Christ's highly priestly prayer and perfect sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, worship and adoration.  It is our participation in Jesus Christ's perfect act of adoration to God.

We can sing all the hymns we want.  We can say all the rosaries or heart's desire.  We can do hundreds of act of mercy and charitable works.  We can pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the very prayer of the Church herself, and none of that has in value except to the extent that these participate in some way with the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, which is to say the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which is the act of worship and adoration of Almighty God by Jesus, the Son of God, in his human nature.  For this is the source of all grace.  This is the source of all merit.

As the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium puts it:  "For all [the laity's] works, if accomplished in the Spirit, become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ: their prayers and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, even the hardships of life if patiently borne (see Pet. 2:5).  In the celebration of the Eucharist, these are offered to the Father in all piety along with the body of the Lord."  (LG, No. 34) (emphasis added)

"From all eternity," de Bérulle continues, "there was an infinitely adorable God, but there was still not an infinite adorer.  There was a God infinitely worthy of being loved and served, but no man nor infinite servant able to render an infinite service and love."

But in Jesus, as de Bérulle points out, all that has changed. 

"You are now, O Jesus, this adorer, this man, this servant, infinite in power, in quality, in dignity, so that you can fully satisfy this need and render this divine homage.  You are this man, loving, adoring, and serving the supreme majesty as he ought to be loved, served, and honored."

This is why Jesus is central in any act of worship and adoration of God.  Jesus is uniquely qualified because he, and only he, is both God and Man.  He is the only person in the history of the world who has, and who will ever have, what Vladimir Sololiev called Bogochelovechestvo, Godmanhood.

The Mass, which Jesus instituted at the "Last Supper," is the means Jesus instituted for us to participate in this perfect act of service, adoration, and honor to God, which ultimately culminated in his voluntary and willing Sacrifice on the Cross. 

The Eucharistic Sacrifice--the Mass--is identical with the Sacrifice at Calvary.  Only the manners are different, the former being unbloody, and the latter being bloody. CCC § 1367.

Jesus, acting at the hands of an ordained priest acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), is the real priest in the Eucharistic sacrifice. 

Jesus is the altar through which instrument the Eucharistic sacrifice takes place.

Jesus, present fully in the Eucharistic elements offered to God through the hands of the priest acting in persona Christi, is the eternal victim, the clean and spotless Lamb of God, the victim of the guilt offering, and the victim of the peace offering in which we participate by eating in the rite of Communion.

In one of his hymns on the crucifixion, St. Ephrem of Edessa (ca. 306 A.D. - 375 A.D.) cleanly summarized the doctrine of the Eucharist, which is at one with the doctrine of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross: "He is Altar and Lamb, Victim and Sacrificer, Priest and Food."  (Hymnus de Crucifixus Tertius)

The Sacrifice, the Eucharist, the Mass would all have been impossible without the Son of God becoming man, without the Incarnation.  The Incarnation is what gave Jesus the state of Bogochelovechestvo, Godmanhood.

De Bérulle recognizes this, and so it is that he thanks Jesus, the Son of God become man for becoming man. 

He thanks Christ Jesus, who "though he was in the form of God," he "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself (Gr. ἐκένωσεν / L. exinanivit), taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross."  (Phil. 2:6-7)

The theological word for this great remarkable act of Christ's emptying himself out is kenosis (κένωσις) or exinanition. 

Kenosis or exinanition means a thorough emptying out, an enfeeblement, a humiliation, a lowering down of one's self, a stooping.  This is the quality, not of man who suffers from pride, but of God who is Love (1 John 4:8).  De Bérulle describes a God who undergoes kenosis or exinanition as a God who has no regard, no interest, in his divinity (sans intéręt de sa divinité).

This ability to empty oneself for another--which is at the heart of all love--is something divine.  It is one of "the grandeurs of God" (les grandeurs de Dieu), one of the "grandeurs of Jesus" (les grandeurs de Iesus).

"And just as there is a God worthy of being adored, served, and loved," de Bérulle concludes, "so there is also in you, O my Lord Jesus, a God adoring, loving and serving him eternally, in the nature which was united to your person in the fullness of time.  O grandeur of Jesus, precisely in His state of abandonment and servitude . . . . since from now on we have a God served and adored without any sort of defect in this adoration, and a God who adores, without interest in his divinity."

God has no interest in his divinity, because all his interest is in man.  That is the quality of a God who is love.  That is the God whose eternal Word became man, suffered and died on the Cross, and gave us the Eucharist so that we may be partakers, through no merit of our own, in his divine love of God the Father. 

In this manner, by participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice, we participate by grace in the love between the God served and adored and the God who adores without interest in his divinity.  That is to say, we participate in the very interior life of the Blessed Trinity.

God's grandeur becomes, by participation and by grace, our grandeur.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

5 Disney movies you never knew had hidden religious messages Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disney movies are a well-known and well-loved part of most people's childhood. These stories talk and teach us things, like believing in ourselves and follow our dreams. Recently, the stories inspire courage and kindness, as well as forms of "true love." But viewers ... continue reading


5 excellent tips on how to read the Bible Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Bible is one of the most popular published books ever written in the history of life, but also one of the hardest to read and understand. Unlike most books published today, the Bible contains a lot of statements that are full of dates, metaphors and written to ... continue reading


Unholy political positions in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

As the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we naturally think of the Holy Land. Throughout much of history, in the land where the world's savior taught human beings to love one another as ... continue reading


200 Christian teachers denied day off for Good Friday Watch

Image of The 2014-2015 school years are the first time in recent memory that officials scheduled classes during both Good Friday and the Jewish holidays.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Rhode Island school district is being sued over the claim that 200 Christian teachers were denied requests to take Good Friday off from work. The teacher's union claims that the decision denies educators the two religious days that they are afforded in their ... continue reading


For the first time in over 150 years -- Blood of St. Januarius liquefies during Francis' visit to Naples Watch

Image of According to legend, Januarius was allegedly born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in over 150 years, the blood of St. Januarius liquefied in the presence of a pope this past weekend. The phenomenon occurred when Pope Francis visited Naples this past weekend. It was the first time the blood liquefied in the presence of a ... continue reading


Church to Canonize Mom and Dad of St Therese, Show the Holiness of Christian Marriage Watch

Image of Pictured: Louis and Zelie Martin, the Mom and Dad of St Therese
For those called to live their Christian life in a consecrated Christian marriage, it is in the domestic church where progress in the spiritual life finds its raw material. The question we face every day becomes whether we live Christian marriage and family as a Christian vocation by responding to grace.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Louis and Zelie married in France in 1858. They had nine children. Five entered a consecrated or religious life in the Church. We have 218 letters which were written by Zelie.  They record the naturally supernatural pattern of a very real, human and devout ... continue reading


Drinking the Chalice of the Lord: Facing Suffering, Struggle and Failure Watch

Image of All of those who bear the name Christian are invited to follow the path of Jesus' struggle, to walk along with Him on the way of His rejection. We too are invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love. Golgotha beckons.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

James was the son of Zebedee and brother of John. From faithful stock, we see in this encounter that some forms of zeal may indeed be genetic. In fact, the zeal in both of these brothers caused the Lord to name them the Sons of Thunder.(Mk 3:14-17) However, human ... continue reading


7 endangering myths Christians believe about other Christians Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disheartening isn't it? But it has been observed that Christians are divided among themselves. This is not what God wanted, as expressed by the writings in the Scriptures. However, there are some issues between the believers that makes them not united as they should ... continue reading


Josephs Way: Joseph, Husband of Mary, Model for Christian Men Watch

Image of The Dream of Joseph led to the response of a life given over to God

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In an age that has lost its way, because it has succumbed to the selfish pursuit of illusory pleasure, Joseph needs to be lifted up as a model for men who truly want to follow Jesus Christ. It is time for Christian men to follow his example, and become men again. ... continue reading


Pope tells Nigeria's bishops to form united front against terror group Boko Haram Watch

Image of In addition to addressing various issues, the Pope praised Nigeria, with a population of more than 170 million people, and has experienced strong economic growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the emerging African economic powerhouse of Nigeria takes to the polls, Pope Francis, in a stirring message, has urged the country's bishops to build a united front against the Boko Haram terrorist group. Pope Francis' comments came in a letter to the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter