Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Soon our Faith Formation year will begin. The formation of our souls in the practice of our Catholic Faith is primary mission of the Holy Spirit and activity is at the very heart of parish life. We are all called to learn and put into practice what our Catholic Faith teaches us. This process of learning, believing and living is the very power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. The more open we are to this process through actively learning and giving our ‘yes’ to our Faith, the more we will grow into disciples of Christ. We will know Him and love in the manner that pleases Him. The effect of this life-long growing process is peace, healing, forgiveness and the greatest of blessings: union with God. Let us all continue to choose to have open hearts as the Holy Spirit works within us by means of the gift of Faith! Let us also continue to give ourselves to the support of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our fellow believers, especially our youth, who are searching for Jesus and the meaning that only He can reveal about our lives!
This week I continue with our series on St. Peter Julian Eymard’s book: How To Get More Out Of Holy Communion. The purpose of this series is to help us to overcome the difficulty sometimes experienced and expressed through these statements: ‘Holy Mass is boring’ or ‘I did not get anything out of attending Holy Mass’.
One of the solutions taught by St. Peter in his book is: be mindful that Holy Communion prepares each of us for Heaven. It is a modern era trend to think that everyone goes to Heaven when they die. There is no Scriptural support nor any teaching found in our Catholic Tradition for this conclusion. Rather, the opposite is time and again repeated in our Catholic Faith: we must prepare for Heaven through Faith in Jesus, acting in ways that demonstrate Faith in Jesus and confessing the times we did not act in accord with Faith in Jesus. In order for this to happen a soul must be willing and then readily engage in a life-long personal relationship with Jesus. This happens through two primary ways: the sacraments and prayer. The single most efficacious way to engage in friendship with Jesus and prepare for Heaven is, above all, the Holy Eucharist. St. Peter wrote: “After Holy Penance, the Eucharist makes our peace complete. We need to hear that word of encouragement from the lips of our Savior Himself: ‘Go in peace, and sin no more’ (John 8:11) – that word which, escaping from His Heart, falls like a heavenly dew upon our own bruised and ulcered heart. Communion gives us perseverance to the end. Nothing is so discouraging as a long road ahead of us, and it is the common feeling of beginners to say, ‘I can never hold out so long!’ If you wish final perseverance, receive our Lord! One who rarely receives Communion may keep himself in a state of grace for Heaven; but how far away Heaven is, and what faith he must have to keep his eyes fixed constantly on so distant a hope! The life of faith is, then, but one continual sacrifice, a battle waged without truce or refreshment and with no effective, supporting force. One who rarely receives Communion is like a traveler far from his native land; the long road consumes his strength and brings him to the point of despair. Also, if one receives Communion only infrequently, it is difficult to keep in the state of grace for any length of time. Although one may do so, the soul will no longer possess its pristine beauty and purity; the dust of the highway will have clung to it and dimmed its splendor. So experience teaches. But if we often receive Communion, oh, how much easier it is to preserve grace in its first purity! We no longer have to guard it carefully for a far-distant goal, but simply for tomorrow, for today. We know it is the garb of honor that admits us to the Feast. Therefore, we avoid sin out of love, so that we may not be deprived of Holy Communion. Thus Communion becomes a sure defense against sin and enables us to overcome it easily to the end of our life. I am speaking of willful sin… Let us prepare for Paradise by Communion. There the blessed receive our Lord perpetually, living by His knowledge and His love. Let us receive Him well here below so that we may be ready to do the same in Heaven. Communion, received frequently and with the requisite dispositions, is the surest pledge of eternal salvation.”
My friends, the Holy Eucharist is a priceless gift and blessing for our souls. The Holy Eucharist is Jesus Himself! I encourage us all when in His Presence in the Holy Eucharist to love Him, adore Him, revere Him, praise Him and thank Him!
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, St. Columbkill, St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Peter Julian Eymard, may God bless you, your families and our parishes!
In Christ through Mary,