Liturgy/Spirituality

We are the Body of Christ

March 07, 2007

JOHAN VAN PARYS

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ calls us to three things: a more authentic celebration of the Eucharist; a deepening of our devotion to the Eucharist; and a greater generosity in our Eucharistic presence in the world.

Most of us will easily agree that we need to strive for an ever better celebration of the Eucharist.  After all, the Eucharist is our pivotal sacrament and our nourishment on this earthly journey.  The better we celebrate the Eucharist, the better we are equipped for this journey.

We seem less eager, maybe indifferent or even unwilling when it comes to Eucharistic devotions.  As a result, some of the centuries-old Catholic practices have largely gone to the wayside.  What is even more disturbing is that these beautiful celebrations seem to divide the Body of Christ rather than unite it, as they have been used as a litmus test for one's devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and ultimately, one's commitment to Catholicism.

We would be wise to consider carefully the words of Pope John Paul II in Mane Nobiscum where he wrote that "our mutual love, and in particular...our concern for those in need...will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebration is judged" because "at each Holy Mass, we are called to measure ourselves against the ideal of communion which the Acts of the Apostles paints...sharing in spiritual goods but in material goods as well."
   
Therefore, let us celebrate the Eucharist well.  Let us engage in Eucharistic devotions.  But let us remember that we break the bread in order to learn how to give our life for the well-being of the world; we adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in order to learn how to see him in every person who dwells on earth; and we share in the Body of Christ in order to become the Body of Christ.

May the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ inspire a greater devotion to the Body of Christ and a greater commitment of the Body of Christ.

Johan van Parys is Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts at the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, MN.

READ OTHER ARTICLES BY JOHAN VAN PARYS:

Advent: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Season (Part I and Part II)
Christmas: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Season (Part I and Part II)
Epiphany: The Spirituality of and Environment for the Solemnity (Part I and Part II)
Lectio Divina - Visio Divina
On Becoming the Paschal Mystery  (Part I, Part II and Part III)
The Fundamental Virtues of Liturgical Architecture
Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus...Stations of the Cross

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