Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

6/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The reality of the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, whose gift of himself transforms us to become like him.

The Eucharist is the spiritual life-blood of the Christian because in receiving it we consume the glorified body of the Risen Lord, whose life transforms us, elevates and empowers us to become like him. Pope Francis noted that in receiving the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, God communicates interior attitudes of holiness to us, infusing our hearts and minds with his own love and his own thoughts, through the wondrous presence of Jesus and the divine impulses of the Holy Spirit. Among these interior attitudes is "First of all docility to the Word of God."

Pope Francis reminds us that the Eucharist grants us a share in the divine life of the Divine and Human Savior of the world

Pope Francis reminds us that the Eucharist grants us a share in the divine life of the Divine and Human Savior of the world

Highlights

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/25/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Eucharist, divine life, docility to the word of God, word of God, Bible, Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Catholic Church, church, Deacon F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK CO (Catholic Online) -- On June 22, Pope Francis gave an address to the faithful before praying the midday Angelus in which he spoke about the beautiful, life-giving reality of the Eucharist as Jesus Christ. He talked about how John's gospel affirms that Jesus is the bread from heaven whose gift of himself is received in the Eucharist: "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" (John 6:51).

"Jesus stresses that he did not come to this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for all those who have faith in him," said Pope Francis.

Our Holy Father also noted some of the effects of receiving the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ: "Every time we take part in the Holy Mass and nourish ourselves with the Body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit acts in us, it molds our heart, communicates to us interior attitudes that are translated in behavior according to the Gospel."

Pope Francis, then, spoke of the transformative effect of the Eucharist on those who receive it. As the Eucharist is received, Christ is consumed, whose life transforms us into him whom we have received. For instance, when we consume ordinary food, we transform it through the digestive process into our own flesh and blood. It thus becomes nourishment for our physical bodies. But with the Eucharist there is an essential and infinite difference. The Eucharist, which is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, is the stronger element. Those who are properly disposed to receive the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist are always changed by it because they are not simply receiving ordinary food but the divine and human food of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist changes us, we do not change it.

The Eucharist is the spiritual life-blood of the Christian because in receiving it we consume the glorified body of the Risen Lord, whose life then transforms us, elevates and empowers us to become like him. The Eucharist grants us a share in the divine life of the Divine and Human Savior of the world, whose gift of himself imparts eternal life to those who love him. That is why Jesus says, "if any one eats of this bread [my flesh], he will live for ever" (Jn 6:51).

Further, Pope Francis noted that in receiving the Eucharist God communicates interior attitudes of holiness to us, infusing our hearts and minds with his own love and his own thoughts, through the wondrous presence of Jesus and the divine impulses of the Holy Spirit. Among these interior attitudes is "First of all docility to the Word of God," said Pope Francis.

Docility to the word of God is an interior attitude of vast importance. So much so, in fact, that it cannot be overemphasized. That to be closed to the word of God is to be closed to the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ) and the divine promptings of the Holy Spirit is obvious.

With that in mind, what does it mean to be docile to the word of God? It is a bigger question than we might at first realize. Perhaps the place to start is to reflect briefly on what the word of God is, and on how we hear it.

It is often the case, when we think of the word of God we think of the Bible, which is the inspired word of God. Scripture is God-breathed  and human authored. The word of God is God's own self-disclosure to humanity, a gracious self-communication through which we learn of the beautiful truth of salvation in Jesus Christ, as well as what it really means to be human. Divine revelation is the story of God and the story of humanity's struggle to embrace and love God. That, in fact, is the story of the Bible.

Catholics and some other Christians, of course, also recognize that Sacred Tradition is, too, the word of God. Sacred Tradition is divine revelation deposited in the heart of the living community of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The "'Sacred deposit' of the faith (the depositum fidei)" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 84), consists of both Sacred Tradition and Scripture, which are two distinct modes of the transmission of God's one divine revelation (cf. CCC, 81-82).

We can see, then, that Sacred Tradition is crucial to receiving the word of God because it is the word of God. Therefore, as a result of the intimate relationship between Sacred Tradition and Scripture, we can say that the "Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence" (CCC, 82).

Additionally, here is a key concept: "[Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching" (CCC, 81). Simply stated, it is the Magisterium of the Church (the teaching authority of the Church consisting of primarily the bishops in communion with the pope) that guards and transmits the word of God to the entire world.

The obvious connection here is the crucial necessity of listening to the Church in order to receive public divine revelation in its fullness. The doctrine of sola scriptura (Bible alone as the sole rule of faith), borne of the Reformation in the sixteenth century as Protestants sought to distance themselves from the Catholic Church, is insufficient. The Christian religion is not the religion of a book; it cannot be, for the saving gospel revealed by Christ and of which St. Paul so often speaks about cannot be contained in the finite pages of the Bible. The totality of God's revelation, which culminates in the Person of Jesus Christ, cannot be fully expressed in the pages of Scripture.

In order to preserve and transmit divine revelation in its fullness, God the Father found it fitting and willed that his Son establish a divine and human, earthly and heavenly, infallible and singular reality we call the Church. This definite and specific institution, guided by the Holy Spirit, whose members are one body and therefore form one united community, have as their head Jesus Christ. The Church, then, is the body of Christ and therefore, in a real way, is Christ.

The Church is a supernatural community whose members have been given divine life in their Master and Head. All of this speaks to the indescribable generosity and wisdom of the Father who invites humankind to participate in his life and salvific will in becoming members of his only Son's body.

Because the deposit of faith is preserved, expounded and transmitted by the Church, we can say, as did Vatican II, that the fullness of truth subsists in the Church (Lumen Gentium, 8). Christ has entrusted the fullness of grace and truth to the Catholic Church (CCC 819), in which the "one true religion . subsists" (CCC 2105), and though which the "fullest of the means of salvation can be obtained" (Decree on Ecumenism , Unitatis redintegratio 3 part 5).

If we want to listen to Christ, it is necessary to listen to the Church, whose words of truth speak the mind of Christ.

But the word of God is not fully received, subjectively speaking, by the individual until it is received with docility, openness, eagerness. The point Pope Francis is making, is that docility is something which is produced in us through the worthy reception of the Eucharist. As we open ourselves to the Eucharist, we too open our hearts to the Word made flesh, who gives his own body and blood, which he poured out as a sacrificial offering of love on the cross as the food of truth and life under the signs of consecrated bread and wine.

Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus (see Lk 24:13 ff.), although we may hear the word of God and our hearts may burn within us, it is in the breaking of the bread that our eyes are truly opened to the presence of Christ. The word of God nourishes the mind and prepares the heart; the Eucharist completes this preparation and transforms us into Christ, whose words we have heard, whose glorified body we have received, whom we adore and love. The Eucharist makes us docile that we may be made like God.

---

Deacon Fred Bartels serves the Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado, as a member of the Catholic Clergy. He is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


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


ę 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Living Faith

Weakness and Failure in the Christian Life. We Hold This Treasure in Earthen Vessels Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself. As a younger man, I labored under a misconception that living the Christian life would somehow ... continue reading


Labor Day: Human Work Has Been Raised to the Grandeur of God Watch

Image of For the Christian, all human work participates in the ongoing work of redemption

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

When God Incarnate entered into our created world, he sanctified humankind and the labor in which men engage in order to shape creation. It is in gazing through the supreme lens of the consummation of God's revelation, the Person of Jesus Christ, that the divine light ... continue reading


International community has done too little in Syria and Iraq, Cardinal Vegli˛ declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegli├▓ met with Pope Francis last week. The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Cardinal Vegli├▓ me to discuss the plight of those fleeing the Islamist violence in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Pope: 'God wants us to grow in the ability to come together, forgive each other' Watch

Image of Pope Francis drinks a traditional South American drink called mate offered by the faithful as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, addressing more than 12,000 people that had gathered for the pope's catechesis and blessing, touched upon a common human trait that everyone must strive to overcome. The Pope said that while envy, jealousy and cruelty are human instincts, they are ... continue reading


Why Do We Commemorate the Beheading of John the Baptizer? Watch

Image of The Beheading of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We now refer to this Feast as the Passion of John the Baptizer more often than the Beheading of John the Baptizer. However, given the realities we face in this new missionary age of the Church, the actual beheading rushes to the forefront. We are seeing it in our own ... continue reading


How much power do you really have? More than you think!

Image of YCVF continues to deliver quality learning tools to Catholic students.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this year, representatives from Catholic Team Global donated a batch of XO Tablets to a humble Catholic school. Now, Catholic Team Global is preparing to do it again with support from its members and valued readers of Catholic Online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Challenging the just war theory

Image of The horrors of war persist long after the shooting stops.

By Tony Magliano

Is there such a thing as a just war? Can the massive death and destruction of armed conflict ever be morally justified by followers of the Prince of Peace? For the first disciples of Christ the answer was a resounding "No!"During the first 300 years of Christianity it ... continue reading


St Augustine Teaches Us How to Read the Bible Watch

Image of St. Augustine writing

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian. ... continue reading


Spiritual Childhood and Contemplative Prayer Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

One of the greatest joys in this later chapter of my life is an unexpected gift, his name is Noah. He is my grandson. He calls me Poppi. He is seven years old and so very wise. Noah continually confronts me with the utter simplicity, trust, openness and beauty of ... continue reading


How to Avoid Sliding into Pharisee-ism Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest, by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) hangs in the London Museum of Art.  The painting depicts Jesus, standing before the High priest - with His holy hands bound. The Priest, who at the time I thought was a Pharisee, is looking up with an arrogant demeanor and a pointed finger.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A priest friend once reminded me that not ALL the Pharisees were so blinded by their self-righteousness that they failed to recognize that the One whom they so often sought to correct was God Incarnate. And, of course, he was correct. The Pharisees were a genuine ... 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, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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