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Fr Frank Pavone on Corpus Christi - The Eucharist Strengthens our Pro-life Commitment
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The feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated after the season of Easter, gives us a chance to delve more deeply into the mystery of the Eucharist and how it makes us the People of Life and for life. Gods ultimate gift of love - the gift of Himself - dwells in us. He sustains us and unites us. We accept Him and welcome Him. And therefore we learn to welcome others, born and unborn.To accept Christ means to accept the whole Christ, to accept and love all those He loves. In receiving Christ, we are to receive the whole Christ, in all His members, our brothers and sisters, whether convenient or inconvenient, wanted or unwanted. If we support abortion, we are rejecting those whom Christ loves, and in that respect, are rejecting Christ Himself!
Fr Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated after the season of Easter, gives us a chance to delve more deeply into the mystery of the Eucharist and how it makes us the People of Life and for life. Gods ultimate gift of love - the gift of Himself - dwells in us. He sustains us and unites us. We accept Him and welcome Him. And therefore we learn to welcome others, born and unborn.
This is My Body, Given Up for you. The priest holds the host aloft. The Consecrated Host looks no different after the consecration than before. It looks, smells, feels, and tastes like bread. But faith takes us beyond the veil of appearances. And Christians are used to looking beyond appearances.
The baby in the manger does not look like God nor does the man on the cross. It is by faith we know He is no mere man. The Bible does not stand out from other books on a shelf, but faith allows us to recognize it is uniquely the Word of God.
The Eucharist seems to be bread and wine, and yet by faith we say, My Lord and My God! as we kneel in adoration. Christ, the Son of God, takes on the form of a small piece of bread and cup of wine. However, we know that after the consecration there is no more bread or wine on the altar.
Now it is Christ who is present, in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
If we can see Christ in the Host, then we can also begin to see Him in the poor, the weak, the terminally ill, and in the baby in the womb. This child is hidden behind the veil of the womb, much as Christ is hidden behind the veil of the Eucharist. Faith takes us beyond appearances, and we can say, - There is my brother, my sister, for whom Christ died! Even when this child is a single cell resulting from fertilization, we are not deceived by appearances. He or she is one of us, equal in dignity. We accept Christ by accepting him or her.
Love and Acceptance for the Whole Body
To accept Christ means to accept the whole Christ, to accept and love all those He loves. In receiving Christ, we are to receive the whole Christ, in all His members, our brothers and sisters, whether convenient or inconvenient, wanted or unwanted. If we support abortion, we are rejecting those whom Christ loves, and in that respect, are rejecting Christ Himself! (See Evangelium Vitae, n. 104.)
Love and acceptance are not always as easy and pleasant as they sound. If we truly love our neighbor, we will begin doing more to eliminate abortion. We never eliminate problems by eliminating people.
We never serve women by destroying their children. We never improve society by rejecting society's future members. We never build up the Body of Christ by killing Christ's future disciples. Yes, there is an alternative to abortion. It's love... love that accepts and nurtures not only some people, but all.
Acceptance of our brother unites us into one body. The Eucharist is a Sacrament of Unity. When I am lifted up from the earth, the Lord said, I will draw all people to myself (Jn.12:32). He fulfills this promise in the Eucharist, which builds up the Church. The Church is the sign and cause of the unity of the human family.
All people, in every part of the world, receive the one and only Christ in Communion. Christ is drawing all people to Himself. If He is drawing us to Himself, then He is drawing us to one another. St. Paul comments on this, We, many though we are, are one body, since we all partake of the one loaf (1 Cor. 10:17). The result of the Eucharist is that we become one, and this obliges us to be as concerned for each other as we are for our own bodies.
Abortion attacks the body by attacking the unity of the human family. It splits asunder the most fundamental relationship between any two persons: mother and child. The Eucharist, as a Sacrament of Unity, reverses the dynamic of abortion. Therefore, our commitment to defend our pre-born brothers and sisters receives its form and sustenance from the Eucharist.
Sacrament of Life
This sacrament gives us sustenance in that it literally keeps us alive in Christ. Death is conquered and life is victorious. If death is conquered, then abortion is conquered. It is up to us to spread this victory of life throughout our world. We do so by living out the Eucharist, namely, by giving our own lives that others may live.
We, too, say - This is my body, this is my blood. We give our time, talent, effort, and painful sacrifice so that our brothers and sisters in the womb may be saved. Happy Feast of Corpus Christi!
Fr Frank Pavone is the National Director of Priests for Life. Priests for Life is the world's largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion.
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