Revving up our Eucharistic devotion

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

With the celebration of Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded to grow continually in our Eucharistic devotion. May we go to Holy Mass and receive communion more often. May we make frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament. May we spread the Eucharistic piety.

We should not take this duty for granted. Many are the elements now that tend to deaden our belief and devotion to this most important reality of our earthly life.

A cursory look at how the Eucharist is celebrated in many places today can readily reveal that it has practically become banal and stale. In the first place, only old pious women seem to be regular at attending it. Other than them, many of those who are there look as if they are merely complying with some religious duties or social expectations. In other words, the Eucharist has lost its universal, immediate appeal proper to it.

There are indications that its celebration seems to be propped up only by some sentimental hymns or by the oratorical skills or theatre gimmickry of the priest-presider. When asked about the reason for going to Mass, many people, especially the youth, give out those rationales.

We need to rekindle our Eucharistic amazement and to intensify our Eucharistic piety, since in the Eucharist we really have Christ with us and he offers himself as food for our earthly journey toward eternal life.

Obviously for this devotion to keep going and growing, we need to grow in faith also, a faith that should be expressed always indeeds of  hope and charity.

If we truly have faith and love in the Holy Eucharist, if we are truly Eucharistic souls, then we cannot help but be intensely and abidingly apostolic souls as well.

In fact, we need to be most zealous in our apostolate, since it actually is a duty incumbent on all Christian believers to have and to keep burning all throughout their lives, making use of all the situations and circumstances we may find ourselves in.

Everytime we hear Mass, receive Holy Communion or visit the Blessed Sacrament, we should remember those final and most heart-felt words of Christ to his apostles: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation…" (Mk 16,15)

These words clearly indicate how Christ wants his work of redemption to continue. This time it will be carried out as a joint effort between him and us. While we are first of all the object of  his redemptive work, we also become the subject of such work with him.

We also have to realize that we have in our hands at remendous and delicate treasure that we need to take extreme care of.

This is a challenge actually to everyone, though certainly the leading role falls on the bishops, priests and other religious persons. We need to give more attention to this responsibility so that the devotion can truly mature and produce fruits not only for the individuals but also for the whole of society.

Truth is many people have complained that in spite of our supposedly Christian background and culture, our society is still wracked with all sorts of shameful anomalies in its different sectors and levels. We need to have more consistency between what we profess to believe, and what we do in our business and politics, etcetera.

We need to understand and live the intrinsic link between the Eucharistic adoration and its social consequences. Our personal encounter with the Lord in the Eucharist should strengthen our social mission contained in it.

I remember Pope Emeritus Benedict saying, "The Eucharist seeks to break down not only the walls that separate the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another."

These are nice words that certainly convey a deep insight about the mystery of the Eucharist. The challenge now is how to make everyone aware of this reality. We the clergy have to demonstrate and act this out ourselves first before we can dare to convince the others. But everyone has to do his part.

Little things count a lot here. The care and devotion we give when we kneel or genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament, for example, can already go a long way in helping us enter deep into Christ's presence and into the lives of  people.

This will be an entering that goes beyond our psychological, temperamental or social and cultural conditionings. It will be an entering that is led by faith and love. It will enable us to savor Christ's presence and people's lives in a manner that beggars description.

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