The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 19, 2022
Our Bishop is vigorously urging the faithful of our Diocese to become involved in the “National Eucharistic Revival.” The hope is that this call to prayer, catechesis, and reflection will invigorate the full, conscious, and active participation in The Mass. After all, the Celebration of The Eucharist is the very source and summit of our faith.
It is one of the many tragedies of our times that this effort is even necessary. Dorothy Day, a 20th century Catholic voice for social justice, once quoted a friend as saying: If I believed what you believe…nothing could keep me away from Holy Communion.
But for a number of years now, that has been increasingly the case. More and more Catholics seem to be MIA (Missing in Action).
Some suggest that a “Revival” is just a “reboot” made necessary by the pandemic. But statistics prove that there was most definitely a “Eucharistic distancing” among the faithful long before we were told of the need for “social distancing.” Why is that the case?
There is certainly no easy answer.
A number of issues make this Eucharistic distancing an extremely complicated crisis…and it really is crisis level when we are not celebrating the very “source and summit” of our faith. When so many have forgotten to do as The Lord asks: Do this in remembrance of me…a revival of that memory becomes an urgent matter.
A worthy starting point in this hoped for “reawakening” is THE REAL PRESENCE…the Presence that Dorothy Day’s friend was referring to. When we gather in His Name, Christ IS present to us. Moreover, when we gather in “remembrance” of Him at the Table of the Word and the Communion Table, Christ is with us in the most powerful of ways. Most of us believe this to be true. So then why do we stay away?
Possibly, we have lost our appreciation for the REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST because we have lost the ability to be REALLY PRESENT to one another. Conversations have been reduced to brief FaceTime calls…or Zoom meetings. Personal letter writing…even greeting cards and invitations are more and more a thing of the past, replaced by emails. Even emails have been abbreviated to tweets, and tweets to “emojis.” (Small digital pictures or symbols used in place of words in electronic messaging.) We are communicating with one another with pictures and symbols…much like the so-called cave dwellers. Is that really progress?
None of this, in and of itself, is bad. This technology has many benefits to it. But it can be harmful when it starts to replace the desire to BE TRULY PRESENT…face to face…shoulder to shoulder…spending time…sharing meals with one another. The most important and life-giving relationships we have can’t help but suffer when we try to sustain them with digital pictures and symbols.
What has made communications easier and more convenient has arguably caused us to lose the ability to communicate in the most loving and intimate of ways…by being FULLY…ACTIVELY…CONSCIOUSLY…AND PHYSICALLY PRESENT TO ONE ANOTHER.
Is it possible that better communication systems have actually caused us to lose touch with one another? Have we forgotten how to be present to one another, and, as a result, forgotten how to be present to Christ…Who is REALLY PRESENT TO US…in the Eucharist? Who can say with certainty?
What we do know with absolute certainty is that Christ is fully present to us in the Eucharist and desires more than anything that we be present to Him…and to one another in this celebration, which is the very source and summit of our faith.