Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, St Thomas Aquinas and Carmelite Saints, part 2.

Because Holy Sacrament contains Christ Himself and the Passion of Christ, it has in itself the power to forgive sins. But the sinner himself must be considered. If a sinner, in the state of mortal sin, should receive this sacrament while intending to remain attached to his sin, then he will not be forgiven. On the contrary, he will commit a sacrilege in profaning in this way the Body and Blood of Christ. But if he is ready to give up his attachment to sin, and if he approaches the sacrament in forgetfullness of his sin, then his sin will be forgiven. The sacrament will give him charity, which will protect his contrition and bring forgiveness of sin. Of course, if he remembers his sin, he ought first obtain the forgiveness of his sin in the sacrament of penance. No one should approach the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood while still conciously in the state of mortal sin. Since the effects of this sacrament are grace and charity, it will forgive venial sins and restore the fervour of charity. The Eucharist can also release man from the punishment due to sin. It is both a sacrament and a sacrifice. As a sacrament, it unites a man to Christ through charity. But it is by the fervour of charity that a man obtains the forgiveness of the punishment due to his sins. The degree of fervour will determine the amount of punishment which is forgiven, as a sacrifice, the Eucharist can also forgive the penalty of sin. In itself, the Eucharist is powerful enough to forgive all the penalty for all the sin of all men. But, in matters of satisfaction, the disposition of men must be taken into account. The Eucharistic sacrifice will remit their punishment according to the measures of their devotion. The Eucharist produces these wonderful effect when it is properly received...But not everyone will receive the effect of the sacrament, grace. The unbeliever and the Catholic in mortal sin will receive the Body and Blood of Christ. But they will not receive the grace of the sacrament. They are said to receive the Eucharist sacramentally, but not spiritually. On the other hand, it is possible to receive the grace of the sacrament spiritually by desiring it. Lastly, the man in the state of grace who receives Christ in Communion also receives grace, the spiritual effect of the sacrament. In this case he receives the Eucharist both sacramentally and spiritually. The reception of this sacrament is an expression of a man's union with Christ and with the members of His Church in faith and charity. But the sinner is not united in charity to Christ. In receiving this sacrament he is guilty of lying. He uses the sacrament to lie. This is a grave abuse of a sacred thing, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

St Therese of Child Jesus: Prayer to Jesus in the Tabernacle:
O God hidden in the prison of the tabernacle! I come with joy to You each evening to thank You for the graces You have given me. I ask pardon for the faults I committed today, which has just slipped away like a dream...
O Jesus! How happy I would be if I had been faithful, but alas! Often in the evening I am sad because I feel I could have corresponded better with Your graces....If I were more united to You, more charitable with my sisters, more humble and more mortified, I would feel less sorrow when I talk with ou in prayer. And yet, O my God, very far from becoming discouraged at the sight of my miseries, I come to You with confidence, recalling that "those who are well do not need a doctor but the sick do." I beg You, then, to cure me and to pardon me. I will keep in mind, Lord, "that the soul to whom You have forgiven more should also love You more than the others"!...I offer You every beat of my heart as so many acts of love and reparation and I unite them to Your infinite merits. I beg You, O my Divine Bridegroom, to be the Restorer of my soul, to act in me despite my resistance; nd lastly, I wish to have no other will but Yours. Tomorrow, with the help of Your grace, I will begin a new life in which each moment will be an act of love and renunciation.
Thus, after coming each evening to the foot of Your Altar, I will finally reach the last evening of my life. Then will begin for me the unending day of eterninty when I will place in Your Divine heart the struggles of exile! Amen.

When Christ instituted this Sacrament, He commanded His Apostles to administer It as He did. This means that both the Apostles and their successors, the priests of the Church, must consecrate both bread and wine and receive Christ under both species. The priests of the Church must, when they celebrate Mass, receive Christ under the appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine. But , since Christ is wholly present under both species, a man can receive the whole Christ under either species. Since the Church has grown so greatly, and since so many of the faithful receive Communion the Church gives this sacrament to the faithful only under one species, the species of bread. The chief reason for this is the great respect due to the Blood of Christ in this sacrament. When so many people receive Communion and many of them are children, there is a serious concern that the Precious Blood of Christ might be spilled on clothing, on the altar rail, or on the ground, if It were administered to all.
As we have already said, in this sacrament, bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ Himself. The man who performs this rite acts s in the name of the person of Christ Himself. Now no one can act in the name and person of someone else, unless the power to do so is given to him. Christ has given this power only to His priests. Only the ordained priest can change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the name of Christ. Ordinarily, too, only the ordained priest can dispense this sacrament to the people in Communion. The priest does what Christ did at the Last Supper. Christ consecrated bread and wine and He distributed His Body and Blood to the Apostles. The priest consecrates bread and wine and distributes Communion to the people. By office a priest is intermediary between God and the people. He offers the people's gifts to God and God's gifts to the people. Again, the Eucharist is a sacred thing. It can be touched only by consecrated or sacred things. The linen cloth - the corporal - on which the Body of Christ rests on the altar, the chalice in which the Blood of Christ rests are consecrated for this purpose. So too, the hands of the priest are blessed and consecrated so that they may handle the sacrament worthily. The priest consecrates bread and wine in the sacrifice of the Mass. But whoever offers sacrifice must share in the sacrifice. The outward sacrifice is a sign of the inner sacrifice by which he offers himself to God. By sharing in the external sacrifice he shows that he is making the internal sacrifice. For this reason, the priest who celebrates Mass must receive the Eucharist in Communion at that Mass. Moreover, he dispenses this sacrament to others in Communion. He himself ought to receive first. In this way, he proves to the people that he is the dispenser of divine gift.
The priest who approaches the altar to offer the sacrifice of Mass, to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, ought to be a spiritual man, a holy man. He ought to be united to Christ in faith and charity. But Christ remembers the weakness of men. In His great desire to give Himself to the faithful, he has not linked either the reality or the power of this sacrament to the changeable disposition of men. As long as a man is a validly ordained priest, he can validly perform and administer this sacrament. He may even be a heretic, or a schismatic, or excommunicated by the Church. Still, if he consecrates bread and wine, they become the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, such a man is guilty of grave sacrilege in celebrating Mass. But his Mass is a Mass, and he does change bread and wine into Body and Blood of Christ. Since Christ Himself is the chief Priest in every Mass, and the Victim of every Mass, then even the Mass celebrated by a wicked priest is fruitful for the Church. Obviously, the great devotion of a good priest will make the Mass he celebrates much more fruitful than the Mass of a sinful priest. But the essential fruitfulness of the Mass can never be lost, for even the sinful priest offers Mass in the name and by the power of Christ.

St Teresa of Jesus (from Meditation of the Song of Songs, 4:6):
Great is this favour, my Spouse; a pleasing feast. Precious wine do You give me, for with one drop alone You make me forget all of creation and go out from creatures and myself, so that i will no longer want the joys and comforts that my sensuality desired up until now. Great is this favour; I did not deserve it.

You say: Come to me all who labour and are burdened, for I will comfort you. What more do we want, Lord? What are we asking for? What do we seek? Why are those in the world so unhappy if not because of seeking rest? (Soliloquies 8:2)