Friday, June 1, 2018

PARTICIPATION IN THE SACRED LITURGY (continued)

Posted by Frenchie
This is the continuation of reflections made by his Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze in St Paul Catholic Church in the diocese of Phoeniz, AZ, on April 20 2018



Sacramental Participation

The seven sacraments are major liturgical celebrations which channel to us the graces of redemption won for us by our Savior Jesus Christ. Since Penance and the Holy Eucharist are the two sacraments which we received often in the Christian life, they will be given longer reflection.
Penance is the Sacrament of God's Mercy. In it we received God's pardon and assurance of restoration of grace to a person who has had the misfortune of falling into mortal sin.
"Those who approach the Sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.
(Lumen Gentium, n.11).
The Christian who has offended God goes and kneels before the priest who, in the name of Christ and the Church, grants the repentant sinner pardon. The Church exercises this tremendous ministry through the priest because it is Jesus himself who gave his Church the power to forgive sins in his name. He said to his Apostles after his resurrection : "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20: 22-23).
The priest confessor is bound by the highest form of secrecy with regard to what he has heard in the confessional.
It is normal in the Christian life that a Catholic would go to receive this sacrament every month, not because he has any mortal sin, but because this sacrament gives forgiveness also of venial sins and furnishes the penitent with the graces needed to make steady progress in the spiritual life, since even the best of us has defects.
In any case, any Catholic who has had the terrible misfortune to fall into mortal sin, should approach this Sacrament of Reconciliation and Peace as soon as possible. Moreover, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "anyone who desires to receive Christ in the Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of have sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the Sacrament of Penance" (CCC, n.1415).
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the greatest of the sacraments, "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend" (St Thomas Aquinas, S. Th. III, 73,3c).
In this Most Blessed Sacrament. "The Body and Blood , together with the soul and the divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained" (Council of Trent 1551; DS 1651).
"The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by him she is fed" (John Paul II: Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.6).
Jesus himself teaches us: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53).
A Catholic who wants to grow in the life of union with God has to take Jesus seriously and arrive to receive him in Holy Communion often. As said above, a person in the state of mortal sin has first to approach the Sacrament of Penance and only after that dare to approach the Communion rail.
St Paul warned the Corinthians about the necessity of personal discernment before receiving the Lord in this venerable sacrament: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and the blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself" (1Cor. 11:27-29).

Because of our firm faith in the Real Presence which remains also after Mass, the Latin Church had developed many forms of Eucharistic adoration and devotion outside the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Prominent are visits to our Eurcharistic Lord waiting for us in the tabernacle
to adore him, to thank him, to make reparation for our offenses, and to ask for what we need.
Eucharistic Benediction, Holy Hour of Adoration, Processions and Congresses are also manifestations of faith and piety.
"Adoration is not opposed to Communion" says Cardinal Ratzinger, "nor is it merely added to it. No. Communion only reaches its true depths when it is supported and surrounded by adoration. The Eucharistic Presence in the tabernacle does not set another view of the Eucharist alongside or against the Eucharistic celebration, but simply signifies its complete fulfillment" (J. Ratzinger: The Spirit of  the Liturgy, p.90).
Reception of the other sacraments is of course also an important form of participation in the sacred liturgy. Christian parents should get their babies baptized soon after their entry into this world. As to Confirmation, diocesan arrangements should be respected regarding the timing. The Anointing of the Sick is due when an illness is grave, even if there is no immediate danger of death. Preparation for marriage and the actual celebration of the sacrament merit great attention from the young people and their parents.
As for the Sacrament of the Holy Orders, parents please train your children well as generous and committed Catholics, so that some of your sons may enter the seminary; then leave the liturgical details to the bishop, his priests, and the seminarians!





The final chapter will be the Encyclical Humanae Vitae Invites to Penance and Holy Eucharist.
Next




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