dimanche, juin 18, 2006

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Sermon for Corpus Christi
Bonum est diffusivum sui. This old philosophical adage shows the nature of goodness to propagate itself. Saint Thomas Aquinas sees here the fitness of the Incarnation. God wanted to become a man because He wanted to communicate to us His goodness. Since His very nature is goodness, God communicates Himself through the Person of His Son, true God and true Man.

But before to communicate Himself to men, God, first, communicates Himself…to Himself. Father Marie-Vincent Bernardot writes: God is an Ocean of life, and this Life, which is Light and Love, is thirsty for the spreading and giving itself. From all eternity, the Father gives Himself to His Son. Together, the Father and the Son give Themselves to the Holy Ghost, communicating to Him their unique divinity.

So, the communication of His Life to men is like a continuation and a prolongation of the intimate life of God into his creatures. Jesus is the Way, chosen by God to communicate His Life. Father Bernadot says again that the whole Divine Life flows in Him. The sacred authors give evidence of this truth. Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell, as Saint Paul attests (Col 1,19). And you know well the verse by Saint John that we hear during the last gospel: we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus, as a man, has received all from His Father and His mission is to communicate all that He has and even more; I would say all that He is. The Life of God is now given to us by and through Jesus Christ and here appears the fundamental and essential necessity of Divine grace. I am sure that you know your catechism very well and that it is not needed to remind you what the sanctifying grace is. Nevertheless, just in case your memory is faulty, let us recall that the sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift from God that makes us children of God by allowing us to participate in His nature. This one sentence involves so many consequences that I have to encourage you to meditate on it and to read about it, because it is impossible to explain all in one sermon. At least, I hope that your are aware that, if you are in state of grace. If this is not the case you have the opportunity to confess right after Mass. In this, you are participating in the Divine Nature of God and you can be called his children.
The Sacrament of Baptism incorporates us into the Mystical Body of Christ and gives us the grace. In this Mystical Body, Christ is the Head from which we, the members, receive all graces. In his very remarkable Encyclical Letter, Mystici Corporis, Pius XII shows how the Church can truly be called the body of Jesus Christ because He is the Founder, the Head, the Support and the Savior of this body. The Pope points out how the unity of the Body is strengthened by the Eucharist which is the physical Body of Jesus under the species of the bread and of the wine. This Sacrament is really the Sacrament of the Unity. Listen to Pope Pius XII:
"By means of the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ our Lord willed to give to the faithful a striking manifestation of our union among ourselves and with our divine Head, wonderful as it is and beyond all praise. For in this Sacrifice the sacred minister acts as the vicegerent not only of our Savior but of the whole Mystical Body and of each one of the faithful. In this act of Sacrifice through the hands of the priest, by whose word alone the Immaculate Lamb is present on the altar, the faithful themselves, united with him in prayer and desire, offer to the Eternal Father a most acceptable victim of praise and propitiation for the needs of the whole Church. And as the Divine Redeemer, when dying on the Cross, offered Himself to the Eternal Father as Head of the whole human race, so "in this clean oblation" He offers to the heavenly Father not only Himself as Head of the Church, but in Himself His mystical members also, since He holds them all, even those who are weak and ailing, in His most loving Heart. "

Dear brethren, I would like to insist on the communal character of the Eucharist. Certainly, there is an intimate and very personal relation between Jesus and every single soul, but we cannot deny the communal and even the social aspect of this Sacrament. The procession we will have after the high Mass will help us to keep this truth in our minds. It is a public recognition of the Majesty of God and a public act of Faith in the real presence of Our Lord. In a Catholic country, the authorities pay tribute publicly to the Sacrament and the militaries salute and present arms before the Sacrament. In the old days, the entire community was involved and everybody participated in the procession: Officials, guilds, confraternities etc… A procession was very a social event. Of course, this is not the most important thing, but it is an indicator of the vitality and influence of Catholicism in a society.

As the Head of the Mystical Body, Our Lord have influence on all the members. He is the source from whom we receive grace and life. When someone is united to Jesus, he acts under the motion of the divine grace and his being is transformed. What is true for a person is also true for a community of persons. If there are enough people in a society who live united to Jesus, then this society itself is marked by Jesus. Grace changes not only the person but also societies.

The Eucharist brings the Divine Life of God into our souls. Then, full of grace and truth like Jesus, we become a light for the world and a way of conversion. I have already told you many times: the way we behave in front of the Holy Sacrament reflects our feelings toward God. Nonchalance and immodesty have no place in a church. And what about your inner feelings that only God can know? Do you think that jealousy or resentment are the right attitude for a Christian who is about to receive his Lord?

The Eucharist brings the Divine Life of God into our souls, yes, but we have to be well disposed to receive it. God wants to communicate Himself, but sadly too many people are not well disposed to welcome Him. Now, God is not forcing us. If we are not ready to welcome Him, He will not come by force. Then His grace will decline, and finally the Catholic religion will give way because so many Catholics are weak and half-hearted.

Dear brethren, it is now the time to stir up ourselves. It is the right time to return to your Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the time to renew your devotion and your fervor for such a Sacrament. It is the time to give yourself to Jesus as He gives Himself to you.

May Our Lady give us the love of the Eucharist which will make us ardent and zealous apostle of Her Son. May she help us to receive the Divine Live of Jesus in our souls for our greatest joy and the highest glory of God.

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