Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eucharistic Reflection

Over the past two weeks, one thing that a priest said (I can't remember if it was in a homily or in a conference!) really struck me. It seems that years ago, every sacristy had a kind of sign that the priest would see as he left for the altar:

Priest of God,
Say* this Mass as if it were your first Mass.
Say this Mass as if it were your last Mass.
Say this Mass as if it were only Mass.

What if we could only go to Mass (or only receive Communion) once in our life? Imagine the preparation we would put into it! The focus! There would probably be a religious order or two with the sole mission of guiding retreats for people who were about to go to their only Mass. There would be an intense follow-up, too. For the rest of your life, you would go back in prayer to that one most sacred moment of encounter with Jesus.

Or what if you could only, in all your life, make one Eucharistic Holy Hour? How would you prepare for it? How would you actually make it?

Sometimes I find myself dreading the hour of adoration. I'm tired, or unfocused, or just plain ornery. It can be easier to bury myself in work (make that, "activity") than in silence with the Word of God. But...what if this hour were my very first hour with the Lord? What if it were to be my very last? What if it were the only hour I would spend in this life with the Eucharistic Jesus?

*The language of the times was that the priest would "say" the Mass, and the faithful would "hear" it.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Thanks for the light. It gave me the strength to pray the other day.

I do not know how it is for people who live a religious life, but I suspect some of them experience ups and downs just as normal people do.

I guess we don't live in a cloud, we are still in this fallen world.

It is sometimes very hard to concentrate, to be in silence.. sometimes it is even hard to pray.

It is even worse when you are tired.. I mean exhausted.. from daily work. The sheer amount of physical and intellectual demands, even for us that live a "comfortable" lifestyle, just want to shut down our spiritual senses.

Aside from the constant battle against temptations, there is this battle to "turn off" the cares material world, to have a moment of reflection everyday.

Good luck if you live in a city.. you can't easily turn off the noise… :)

Suddenly I remember those images of people retreating into the desert, or of people choosing cloistered religious life (who I think must have some special fire burning inside them to be able to dedicate themselves in such a way)

Sometimes I think that if even for just a moment our eyes were opened to see the realities of this world, and by that I mean the spiritual realities as I think everything is just a manifestation of that.

If we could see the state of our souls and those of others, the influences that affect all of us… we would fall to our knees, in horror, in fear, in despair, maybe also in joy and in thanksgiving.

So many saints who have had such graces have related to us these feelings.

As far as our bodies and minds keeping us down, not being able to concentrate in a daily spiritual practice here is what I think:

(I wish I could practice with constancy these things as I say them)

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing really nothing to say, nothing to pray. No will in my heart to pray, a prayer said in that state would just be a stream of words repeated from memory.. no feeling emanated, no expansion from our hearts.

But it is good to be reminded, what if this was your last prayer? Do you really have nothing to say?

Even if we all are unconscious of our own miserable state in this exile, in our hearts we must not let that blindness to a state of pride… of forgetting where we came from, Who created us and Who came to show us salvation.

More so in our blindness, in times of spiritual dryness, must our hearts always look up to God. Never give up.

As the eastern rite christians unceasingly say… Above all, Lord have mercy on us. (and may that mercy be shown through us).