Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Value of ONE Holy Communion
This morning I went to Confession, and as always, I try to listen very carefully to what advice is given to me, and remember it. I'll admit I can't always remember what was said, but today, something really stuck with me, and it was so profound that I decided to share it with you.
One Holy Communion is sufficient to make you a Saint.
Read it again. And again. And again. Internalize this. Understand this.
One Holy Communion carries grace sufficient to make YOU a Saint!
When we as Catholics go forward for Holy Communion, we go to consume the flesh and blood of the Lamb, as foretold in the Old Testament. When the Hebrews fled, they took the blood of the unblemished lamb to mark their lintels, and they consumed the flesh of the lamb; this was a required directive. They did not use red paint, crushed red bugs, or kool-aid. They did not eat soy products. They killed the unblemished lamb and they marked their doorways with his blood so that the Angel of Death would pass over them. And they consumed, while standing up, the flesh of the sacrificial lamb, for this was the complete fulfillment of the Covenant.
We, too, consume the flesh of the Lamb, for this is the fulfillment of the New Covenant. Jesus poured his precious blood out for us, and marked us forever as His Bride. But in order for us to fulfill the Covenant, we must consume His flesh at Holy Communion.
But let's take this a step further; the Church is the Bride of Christ. That means that we, as the people, to include laity, clergy, and religious, are cohesively the Bride of Christ, as well as the mystical body of Christ. Jesus is the bridegroom, and his death on the cross was the Covenant that binds us for eternity.
In his death, Jesus gave himself to us fully, without reservation. He gave everything he had, all to ransom us from our sin. When we look at his teachings, Jesus directed us to:
* "Take up your cross and follow me"
* "Love one another as I have loved you."
Love does not come without complete sacrifice. We cannot have a Resurrection without the Cross, Easter without Good Friday.
We cannot have the Wedding Feast of the Lamb without recognizing the Love of God for we, His Bride, or without reoognizing that we have to give our own vows in order to complete the agreement.
Marriage is a sacramental covenant; it is the giving of one to another, dying to self in order to embrace the other completely. It is, at its root, sacrificial. And a marriage is not valid until it is consummated.
When we go forward to recieve Holy Communion, we are proclaiming publicly, as a body and as individuals, that we believe what the Church teaches, that we believe Jesus died for us on the cross, and that we are recieving Him, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. When we go to recieve Jesus, we recognize that He is giving Himself to us in the fulfillment of his Covenant.
We do not "take" Communion; no, we RECIEVE Holy Communion, because we cannot take what has not been offered. Jesus offers himself to us fully, and we, the Bride of Christ, take him into ourselves. When we do this, our role is not passive; we are also offering ourselves and our lives to Him as a sacrifice. We are recognizing that all we have belongs to God, that our very lives are the will of God, and that by receiving Jesus, we must die to ourselves and offer all we have to Him for the good of the mystical body of Christ.
Holy Communion, then, is the consummation of the Mystical Wedding of Jesus and his Bride.
Is it any wonder, then, that the worthy reception of ONE Holy Communion carries grace sufficient to transform us so completely that we should become Saints in an instant?
As we approach Lent, then, ask yourself this question; What has gotten between you and God such that the grace of this Sacrament has not transformed you so completely?
And when you have the answer to that question, you will know what you need to do during this Lenten season. It is within your grasp to become a Saint TODAY. What is stopping you?