Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 6, 2005
Put the Eucharist at the centre
We live in unholy times. If we have one task as Christians, it is to make our times more holy.
It is necessary to recall some of what makes this era unholy: family breakdowns, the push for same-sex marriage, escalating consumerism, horrific crimes (especially those against children), the embarrassing antics of our political leaders, a mindless fascination with entertainment, growing attacks on the Church, a relentless busy-ness and blindness to the poor, homeless and lonely.
We can respond by starting new Catholic organizations and institutions or by improving and strengthening the ones we have. This can be good, but only if it challenges the root of the problem - the practical Catholic.
The practical, or practising, Catholic is one whose faith consists in meeting the precepts of the Church: attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, avoiding unnecessary and inappropriate work on those days, leading a regular sacramental life, observing the marriage laws of the Church, financially supporting the Church and doing penance at the appointed times.
One can qualify as a "good Catholic" by following these precepts, especially now when fewer people actually do. But it is not enough.
The chimera of naturalism is deluding us. We believe that if we avoid serious sin and observe basic religious practices, we will be saved. The Second Vatican Council called us to much more than this. It said all the baptized are called to holiness.
We are called to be, not just practising Catholics, but saints.
The centre of sainthood is the love of God. It is not something we switch on or off. It is always on and it permeates every aspect of our lives. And, as it permeates our lives, it also permeates the society around us.
How do we get there? The two most important steps are frequent Confession and constant prayer. Confession will make me realize I am totally dependent on God's mercy. It will force me to confront the sins that reveal that I love God less than I might. Prayer is the basis of and expression of my love for God.
The more I pray - and pray devoutly - the more I will be in love with God. We need to move from living naturally to living supernaturally. You can see the people around you who have done this - laity, priests, religious. Their lives have a glow that is rooted in a close relationship with Jesus.
Jesus is the centre. It is not enough to avoid serious sin. It is not enough to do good things. The centre must be a loving relationship with Jesus.
On the feast of Corpus Christi, Archbishop Thomas Collins led Catholics of the Edmonton Archdiocese in taking a significant step towards a more God-centred life. He led a public procession of the Holy Eucharist through downtown Edmonton and he established a chapel for perpetual Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Eucharistic Adoration is not the only way to pray. But as we come to be filled with a love of Jesus, we will find it fitting that we bring more of our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. For here is Christ himself, really present before us. If we want to adore Jesus as God Incarnate and talk to him about important matters, we will sometimes have to get off the phone and come to meet him face to face.
The archdiocese is seeking more people to take part in perpetual adoration so that it occurs 168 hours a week. Taking part in this prayer can be important not only for your own life, but also for the life of society.
If we want to transform the world with God's law and the fire of God's love, we will find we cannot do it. Only God can do it. The temptation of the age is to delude ourselves into thinking our actions have lasting value on their own. We need to offer God our willing hands so he can do the work - hands, which after they have been raised in prayer, can reach out to do God's work in our world.
- Glen Argan
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