Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Job is Too Easy

Actually it is wrong to set celebration and adoration against each other, as if they were competing. Exactly the opposite is true: worship of the Blessed Sacrament is, as it were, the spiritual “context” in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth. Only if it is preceded, accompanied and followed by this inner attitude of faith and adoration can the liturgical action express its full meaning and value.

The encounter with Jesus in Holy Mass is truly and fully brought about when the community can recognize that in the Sacrament he dwells in his house, waits for us, invites us to his table, then, after the assembly is dismissed, stays with us, with his discreet and silent presence, and accompanies us with his intercession, continuing to gather our spiritual sacrifices and offer them to the Father.

In this regard I am pleased to highlight the experience we shall be having together this evening too. At the moment of Adoration, we are all equal, kneeling before the Sacrament of Love. The common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood are brought together in Eucharistic worship… To be all together in prolonged silence before the Lord present in his Sacrament is one of the most genuine experiences of our being Church, which is accompanied complementarily by the celebration of the Eucharist, by listening to the word of God, by singing and by approaching the table of the Bread of Life together.
Homily, Corpus Christi, 2012

Reflection – You know, sometimes it’s just too easy, this blog project of mine. At the risk of sounding like some sort of starry-eyed besotted papaltastic fan-boy, Pope Benedict is just so… awesome (dude!). So easy to just receive his words, ponder them, and find something to say about them. And so it is in this passage from the homily.

It’s this whole business of being in the presence of the Lord, you see. When we oppose the celebration of the Mass to the Adoration of the Sacrament, what this signals is a sort of losing the presence of the Lord. When we do this opposition thing, it seems to me that the stress falls on the action of the assembly, perhaps on the action of the Lord, but the Lord acting through the action of the community.

While of course this is true—how could it be otherwise in a sacramental system?—the deeper and truer reality is that it is the Lord who is acting, not us. The Byzantine liturgy begins with the deacon intoning “It is time for the Lord to act,” quoting Ps 119. It is time for the Lord to act… it is God who is present, acting, doing, loving, saving. The community is there and we have our necessary part. The priest is there and I have my necessary part. But it is Jesus who makes the Eucharist the Eucharist. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Not me, not you, not the choir or the readers or the cute little altar servers. Jesus.

And so we adore Him. Once His place and His action are seen as the supreme and essential truth of the liturgy, it is the most natural thing in the world for the celebration of the liturgy to spill over into silent adoration in his presence.

And this is the Church, you see. All of us together just before the Lord, just in His presence, letting Him speak to us, letting Him love us, letting Him communicate Himself to us in whatever way He chooses. And out of this, out of both our active celebration and reception of Him and our silent listening contemplation of Him, we can love, serve, preach the Gospel, overcome ourselves, do what needs doing.

What a faith we have. And what a beautiful Pope we have who is able to express this faith so wonderfully, with simplicity, faith, and elegance. So let us bow down and worship the Lord today in the Eucharistic celebration of Sunday, and let us look for the chance to worship Him in silent Adoration when we can, as we can.

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