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Why We Need the Eucharistic Jesus to Worship God
By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
July 29th, 2013
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.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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