General Theme of the Meditations for the Jubilee Year
“Alive to the Spirit of Fr. Claret: Remember, Rejoice, and Rejuvenate”
General Objective for the Monthly Recollections
“Remembering the blessings of the Lord for the fifty Years, being grateful for the growth achieved through pioneers and contribution of all the members, we rejoice in the Claretian vocation and move forward with strength and renewed vigour to face the emerging frontiers after the example of Claret.”
Particular Theme for the month of August 2019
Eucharist: Our Source of Life and Communion
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life and as religious it is the center of our life and mission. We are people privileged to celebrate or participate in the Eucharist every day. In his Apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domini, St John Paul II, says “The Eucharist is a mode of being which passes from Jesus into each Christian.” We celebrate the Eucharist, over all, to unite ourselves with the Lord. We welcome his word, we join with his sacrifice and praise to the Father, through him we build up a community of brothers. The Eucharist goes beyond the actual celebration: it extends throughout the day. Holy Father Benedict XVI, once said to the youths, “Bread and wine become his Body and Blood. But it must not stop there; on the contrary, the process of transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own flesh and blood. We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. God no longer simply stands before us, as the one who is totally other. He is within us, and we are in him. His dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outwards to others until it fills the world, so that his love can truly become the dominant measure of the world.”
1. Constitutions, 35: “In the first place, every day we should wholeheartedly celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist, keeping close to Christ our Lord as he proclaims the words of life, offers himself for his brothers and sisters, honours his Father and builds up the unity of the Church. We should cherish conversation with Christ our Lord by visiting and worshipping him in the Holy Eucharist …. Through our celebration of the Eucharist and our praise of God, we will receive the strength we need in order to grow in Christian life and become more productive in our ministry.”
2. John 6:56-58 “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
1. The Constitutions invite us to celebrate the Eucharist daily and to receive the strength necessary for our life and mission. Living our religious vocation and remaining faithful is a daily challenge. Where can we receive the strength to face the challenges? The Eucharist gives us “the necessary strength to grow in the life of Christ.” The Eucharist helps us to see reality as God sees it. It widens our point of view. Celebrating together helps us live from a Eucharistic perspective, to be encouraged by the Word of God and to become “bread” for others in the “existential Eucharist” of our daily life. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God: “Give us each day our daily bread.” The Eucharist is the only bread that we need and receiving this bread daily, with our own brothers and sisters, helps us to become more productive in our life and mission.
2. Eucharist is an encounter with the risen Lord. He is recognized in the breaking of the word and the sharing of the bread. As every encounter with the Risen Lord, Eucharist also leads to an experience of being sent on a Mission. Hence the Eucharistic celebration is popularly called the “Holy Mass,” a variant of the Latin word Missa, which is derived from the word missio meaning mission. It is mission because the faithful are sent forth, after the celebration of the mystery of salvation, to fulfil God's will in their daily lives. Hence, everyone who participates in the celebration of the Eucharist is sent forth to preach the good news of God's Reign that God loves every person, to create communities of Jesus' disciples that live the contrast values of God's Kingdom, and to bring repentance and reconciliation to the sinful and violently fragmented world. In short, it is to build a new humanity where God reigns in love, where justice and equality flourish, and freedom and fellowship blossom.
3. Eucharist played a pre-eminent role in the mystical experiences of Claret, both as a source of illumination and as a means of mystical transformation. He was given a number of his mystical graces by way of the Eucharist. The Mass and visiting the Blessed Sacrament were the spiritual high points of his entire day, and it was during these visits that he received many of his inner locutions. He says, “When I am before the Blessed Sacrament, I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me. I kiss his wounds continually and embrace Him.” The Eucharistic Lord blessed our founder with a great Eucharistic grace to preserve the Lord in his heart continuously. About this experience he says, “On August 26, 1861, at 7.00 in the evening while I was at prayer in the church of the Rosary at La Granja, the Lord granted me the great grace of keeping the sacramental species intact within me and of having the Blessed Sacrament always present, day and night, in my breast. Because of this I must always be very recollected and inwardly devout. Furthermore, I must pray and confront all the evils of Spain, as the Lord has told me….” cf. Juan Maria Lozano, Mystic and Man of Action (Claretian Publications, Chicago 1977), pp. 289, 291
4. In the tradition of the Church and in the practice of our Founder there are two practices which help us continue a Eucharistic tone in our missionary life: visits to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Constitutions ask us to develop these practices with “great devotion”. The daily encounter with the person of Christ, through visits and adoration to the Blessed Sacrament can direct our life towards God and –like Claret– impel us to work so that God may be known, loved, served and praised. The Eucharist makes this possible in our lives. Communion with the Lord will help us to develop communion with our brothers and will produce in us fruits of new life and our mission will have a new vitality. Jesus tells us: “As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
5. As priests we are privileged “to act in Christ’s person” whenever we celebrate the Eucharist. We should not fall into the temptation when presides over the Eucharist that we are the ones who preside, bless and send. It is Jesus who blesses, breaks and gives us his Body and Blood. The celebration of the Eucharist signifies a double commitment for priests: on one hand, to share in the death and life of Christ and, on the other hand, to awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence. The one who blesses the bread and the wine becomes food for others, accepts to be broken and given in the ways of life. Only those who become bread, servants like Jesus, can awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence. Deeds are always more eloquent than words.
Questions to Ponder
Do I enjoy celebrating the Eucharist with my community?
Do I joyfully believe that the Lord gives us the gift of living as brothers whenever we share his word and his body and blood?
How is the Eucharist helping me to face the challenges of life to grow personally?
In what way is the Eucharist making my ministry more fruitful?
Do I live the Eucharist as the most important moment of my union with Christ?
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