2nd August 2008
Greetings on the Feast of Our Holy Founder, St. Peter Julian Eymard.
I take this opportunity to reflect with you again, to remind ourselves again of some of the insights of our recent Amplified Provincial Council in Penmaenmawr.
Fr. Bong, in his reflections during the Parallel Eucharistic Congress in Bachelors Walk, told us: “ We do not speak of the Eucharist as something, but as someone. The Eucharist is Jesus himself. To acknowledge Jesus’ presence has consequences
in our lives and societies. In the Scriptures, all encounters with Jesus produced an effect”
The main theme of the meeting offered by Fr. Jim Campbell and I was: “ Do people recognise Jesus in the way we Break Bread in the Eucharist, in our prayer life and in the daily witness of our lives – our physiognomy, as Jim liked to call it? Or to put it another way, are we bringing the presence of Christ into people’s lives in the way we Break Bread? Do our Eucharistic celebrations and lifestyle have an effect on people’s lives.
To do this effectively in our celebrations and our ministry, we must respond to people’s deepest needs, relate to their deepest experiences – otherwise they will not be touched by us. They must be able to find the image of Christ in our liturgies and
So the challenge for us is to do better what we are already doing. We are not looking for exciting new initiatives, but rather to sharpen, refocus, develop our charism.
Can we prepare better, celebrate more effectively, enhance the quality of our Eucharistic celebrations?
Can we build up community, so that people can see that the Eucharist is the centre of our lives?
Can we show greater compassion and understanding to the people we minister to? Can our prayer life be a more effective part of our mission – by being more communal, for example?
One of the decisions of the APC was that each community would organise regular communal adoration in accordance with their schedule.
Again, Fr. Bong tells us in his reflections: “ One clearly cannot consider adoration as a simple private devotion. It is a prolongation of a community act, its purpose is to gather the whole community, even when, for a variety of reasons, others are
unable to attend”.
And he goes on: “Since it is quite impossible for one person, except Jesus Christ, to manifest the totality of his divinity, he distributes his gifts among us. In the differentiation of his gifts, he thus made possible his total manifestation through his
multiplicity of peoples.”
Communal adoration, on particular occasions and circumstances, can give a more powerful and complete witness of the presence of Christ than individual adoration. Rule of Life # 32 tells us: We are attentive in promoting communal prayer; it
manifests the unity of the Church, fruit of the Eucharist.
Let us finish with the words of Fr. Eymard himself in one of his reflections on adoration: “ Fix your mind on Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament and ponder on his love. Let this thought take hold of you; let it enrapture you. ‘Is it really possible
that Our Lord loves me to the point of always giving himself to me without ever growing tired?’ Your mind then adheres to Our Lord; all your thoughts seek and study him; you want to fathom the reasons of his love; you are struck with amazement and are enraptured; and your heart cries out spontaneously: How can I respond to so much love”
Wishing you a joyful and grace-filled feast.