Thursday, 2 February 2012

Deacon? (13) The Eucharist (1)

The Eucharist
The candidate must or should
 have Eucharistic devotion.  
 be dedicated to our Lord in the Eucharist. 
 be “nourished by prayer and above all by love of the Eucharist.”    
The deacon    
Is called to adore the Lord, present in the Sacrament: the Blessed Eucharist, source and summit of all evangelization, in which “the     whole spiritual good of the Church is contained”. 
              Should visit the Blessed Sacrament out of devotion.

Making sense of all that a deacon is required to do concerning the Eucharist is achievable only when the above points are already understood.
A member of the Catholic Church for whom transubstantiation is an undoubted reality, will instinctively accept and expect not only the need for these beliefs and affections but their pre-existing presence in he who has been, or who is about to be ordained.
Many others will have their doubts, to lesser or greater degrees, but will successfully hold them at bay; some by making a point of not dwelling on such potentially troubling ideas, while others will remain aware of them and pray frequently for help with their recognized levels of unbelief. Some may never stop to consider what they actually believe, returning to the communion queue week and month and year after year, with little genuine awareness other than that they are maintaining the routine that became their norm years before.

I do not make these assumptions with any sense of disapproval, disappointment or despair, but merely as part of what I take to be the real world; the world in which there are people like myself, who declare – without any shadow of doubt – that they are Catholics, and yet find it impossible to deceive themselves where such belief is concerned.
We sit, kneel and pray with others, each with his or her own degree of acceptance or otherwise of something in which we all share. We are not separated by these unrevealed differences; we are even, perhaps, bound together more closely by our silences on the subject, in much the same way as we are bound by our sharing of the knowledge that each one of us is a sinner. We know (if we do not, then we shall one day learn) that we do not all share the same weaknesses; what is regarded as being nothing at all by my neighbour may be a seemingly undefeatable temptation to me, while his or her lifelong struggle or barely noticed natural but sinful trait, may leave me puzzled as to how anyone could possibly live that way. All these differences and the potential disruption and fragmentation that is prevented by our not telling all to everyone around us are part of the reality in which we live, and until we are ready to be completely honest with each other – not with everyone, but with the smaller number of people we regard as our closer spiritual friends – it is best that we remain, for the most part, silent.

Venturing only part-way into our personal truths invites misunderstanding, and shared misunderstandings are always fuel for distancing, non-cooperation and separation; enemies of fellowship, ecumenism and of Christ’s Church itself. Going deeply and honestly into our personal doubts and certainties may be a frightening prospect, but its practice will teach each one of us that our spiritual path leads into an “all or nothing” situation.
And this is precisely the lesson  we all need to learn. It is our all that is being asked of us.
Learning it, believing it, and longing to give it, has the power to change us utterly.

Again I find myself referring to those same words of Cardinal Newman; while not applicable only to this subject, in the present context they express that going beyond a merely partial honesty with each other is one of the risks we are called to take.

‘Perhaps the reason why the standard of holiness among us is so low, why our attainments are so poor, our view of the truth so dim, our belief so unreal, our general notions so artificial and external is this, that we dare not trust each other with the secret of our hearts. We have each the same secret, and we keep it to ourselves, and we fear that, as a cause of estrangement, which really would be a bond of union. We do not probe the wounds of our nature thoroughly; we do not lay the foundation of our religious profession in the ground of our inner man; we make clean the outside of things; we are amiable and friendly to each other in words and deeds, but our love is not enlarged, our bowels of affection are straitened, and we fear to let the intercourse begin at the root; and, in consequence, our religion, viewed as a social system is hollow. The presence of Christ is not in it.’ (‘Christian Sympathy’.) 

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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