Category: Catholic Articles

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Eucharist

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Eucharist

Probably, there’s so much you know about the Eucharist — the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion.

Here are the four things you need to understand about the Eucharist:

1. Feast day

The solemnity of Corpus Christi — the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — is a holy day of duty. While it’s prescribed as such in the general law of the Church, it’s not seen as one in the United States. It, along with the Epiphany, is transferred to a Sunday. (Also not observed as holy days of duty in America are the solemnities of St. Joseph, March 19, and Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29).

2. Consecration customs

It was during that period that the priest started elevating the host and chalice at Mass after the purification. Back then, people received Holy Communion inconsistently but at least they could see the host and cup. And, yes, that seems to be when the custom of ringing a bell at the elevation came into practice. At some churches, it was the tower bell that was rung. The use of a handbell actually started in England.

One more item from the 13th century. That was when churches started placing the host in a monstrance to be exposed on the altar. And they started carrying it in a procession in the church or out through the streets as part of the Corpus Christi celebrations.

3. Names

The Eucharist has a lot of other names, too. The breaking of the bread, Eucharistic assembly, memorial of the Lord’s passion and resurrection, Holy Sacrifice, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Holy Mass, Sacred Mysteries, Most Blessed Sacrament and Holy Communion.

And, probably recently in our own parish, we refer to as “the Saturday evening” or “the 9 o’clock.” As in, “This weekend I’m going to … ”

There’s no mention of those in the Catechism.

Nor is there a paragraph about coffee and donuts following in the parish hall.

4. Parts of the prayer

The Mass’ Eucharistic prayer is divided into different parts:

A prayer of thanks, including the preface. The proclamation (the Sanctus; Holy, Holy, Holy). The epiclesis, an invocation of the Holy Spirit. (Here the priest puts his hand over the bread and wine.) The institution narrative and consecration.

The memorial proclamation. (For example, one begins “When we eat this bread …”) The anamnesis, focusing on Christ’s passion, resurrection, and ascension.

The oblation, an offering from us: “Therefore as we celebrate the memorial of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the bread of life and the chalice of salvation, expressing gratitude that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you” (Eucharistic Prayer II). Intercessions, when the priest, in our name, prays for and with all the Church.

And the ending doxology (“through him, with him, and in him) to which the audiences reply “Amen.”

Comprehending The Spiritual Works Of Mercy

Comprehending The Spiritual Works Of Mercy

It used to be required that all young Catholics memorize the Works of Mercy as an ever-present mandate for how we are to live. But recently, memorization is forgotten and most people only know a couple of the Corporal Works. Can you recall—feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, bury the dead? Yet, our world is in desperate need of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, so probably we should bring back that memorization practice to our Sunday School programs. Do you accede?

The Corporal Works talks about poverty and the physical needs of our neighbors. But the Spiritual Works of Mercy are equally relevant and these works call us to love souls. They are:

  • Admonish the sinner (Colossians 3:16)
  • Instruct the ignorant (Jude 1:23)
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful (Isaiah 66:13)
  • Bear wrongs patiently (Colossians 3:12)
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead

Assuredly Jesus instructed, counseled and comforted. He also admonished sinners, calling some “vipers” and telling the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”  When Jesus was mocked and tortured, He was forgiving.  And He often withdrew to quiet places for prayer. The Church admonishes that these acts of mercy are partnered with the Corporal Works because these acts steer others toward heaven.

There has been a lot of conversation in Catholic blogging circles about if it is ever right, in the modern world, to “judge” others. The most often quoted Scripture is, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”  But judgment, properly understood and practiced, is an essential part of love and prudence.

Every parent knows it is unloving to let a child have their way at all times. It is not right to allow a teenager to get drunk. It is wrong to smile when one child hits another child.

The same comprehension of love is true in the world. It is unloving to know someone who wants to get an abortion and never to say a thing about “other options.” It is immoral to hear dirty jokes and laugh as if that was just fine. It is unloving to let our entire society slid into immorality without ever raising a cry.

The first three of the Spiritual Works need study and preparation. But first-time parents know the relevance of preparation. They read parenting books and watch how other mothers and fathers give instruction and correction. So why do we as Catholics not do a better job preparing young people for how to live in the world, but not be sucked down by it?

The works of mercy are not optional; they are crucial for a good Christian living.

5 Awesome Things About Being A Catholic

5 Awesome Things About Being A Catholic

Here is a list of “5 Really Awesome Things About Being Catholic.”

1.) Confession

One of the great things about being a Catholic is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, as it’s popularly known. Confession is a spiritual powerhouse. It gives an opportunity for us to accept our faults and failures, hear the words of forgiveness, and then set out on a new start. Saying we’re sorry and commencing again – it’s something we all need to do once-in-awhile.

2.) The Rosary

Saint John Paul said that the Rosary “is a prayer of great relevance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness,” and indeed it has. A prayer unique to Catholics, the Rosary combines meditation on the lives of Jesus and Mary with the recitation of familiar prayers. Through the centuries the Rosary has strengthened Christians going into battle, brought families together, and comforted devout Catholics in times of crisis. The Rosary – so simple, so powerful, and so Catholic!

3.) Saints

Catholics embrace their saints, as favorite, if sometimes eccentric, members of our spiritual family. We turn to the saints for motivation and we turn to them for assistance. Looking for a lost item? Call St. Anthony. Worried about your sick puppy? St. Francis is there to help. Trying to sell a house? Bury St. Joseph. (And then scarf down a zeppole for good measure.) Any Catholic worthy of the name has a favorite saint or two.

4.) Blessings

“The celebration of blessings holds a privileged place among all the sacramentals of the Church for the pastoral rewards of the people of God.” (The Book of Blessings) In other words, Catholics love their blessings. We bless people, pets, homes, cars, meals, religious items and just about anything else. A blessing doesn’t change the nature of the item. It simply shows that it’s dedicated to a religious purpose. It just makes us feel better.

5.) Music

Catholics have a rich tradition of liturgical music. It begins with the heritage of Gregorian chant, a gift of the Church to the world, and moves on to beloved Catholic hymns that many of us grew up singing – the Salve Regina, “Holy God We Praise thy Name,” Tantum Ergo, “Jesus, My Lord, my God, my All.” Catholic congregations aren’t known to be great singers, but when we do, we have an extensive songbook to select from.

The Necessity Of Purgatory And How God And The Holy Souls Look At Each Other – St. Catherine Of Genoa. 

The Necessity Of Purgatory And How God And The Holy Souls Look At Each Other – St. Catherine Of Genoa. 

Of The Necessity Of purgatory. How Terrible It Is.

When I look at God, I see no gate to Paradise, and yet because God is all mercy, he who wills enters there. God stands before us with open arms to receive us into His glory. But well I see the divine essence to be of such purity, greater far than can be imagined, that the soul in which there is even the least note of imperfection would rather cast itself into a thousand Hells than find itself thus stained in the presence of the Divine Majesty.

Therefore the soul, understanding that Purgatory has been ordained to take away those stains, casts itself therein, and seems to itself to have found great mercy in that it can rid itself there of the impediment which is the stain of sin. No tongue can tell nor explain, no mind understand, the grievousness of Purgatory. But I, though I see that there is in Purgatory as much pain as in Hell, yet see the soul which has the least stain of imperfection accepting Purgatory, as I have said, as though it were a mercy, and holding its pains of no account as compared with the least stain which hinders a soul in its love.

I seem to see that the pain which souls in Purgatory endure because of whatever in them displeases God, that is what they have willfully done against His so great goodness, is greater than any other pain they feel in Purgatory. And this is because, being in grace, they see the truth and the grievousness of the hindrance which stays them from drawing near to God.

How God and the souls in Purgatory look at each other.

The saint acknowledges that in speaking of these matters she cannot express herself. All these things which I have surely in mind, in so much as in this life I have been able to understand them, are, as compared with what I have said, extreme in their greatness. Beside them, all the sights, sounds, justice and truths of this world seem to me lies and nothingness. I am left confused because I cannot find words extreme enough for these things.

I perceive there to be so much conformity between God and the soul that when He sees it in the purity in which His Divine Majesty created it he gives it a burning love, which draws it to Himself, which is strong enough to destroy it, immortal though it be, and which causes it to be so transformed in God that it sees itself as though it were none other than God unceasingly. He draws it to Himself and breathes fire into it, never letting it go until He has led it to the state whence it came forth, that is, to the pure cleanliness in which it was created.

When with its inner sight, the soul sees itself drawn by God with such loving fire, then it is melted by the heat of the glowing love for God, its most dear Lord, which it feels overflowing it. And it sees by the divine light that God does not cease from drawing it, nor from leading it, lovingly and with much care and unfailing foresight, to its full perfection, doing this of His pure love.

But the soul, being hindered by sin, cannot go were God draws it. It cannot follow the uniting look with which He would draw it to Himself.

Again the soul perceives the grievousness of being held back from seeing the divine light, the soul’s instinct too, being drawn by that uniting look, craves to be unhindered. I say that, it is the sight of these things which begets in the souls the pain they feel in Purgatory. Not that they make account of their pain; most

great though it be, they deem it a far less evil than to find themselves 
going against the will of God, whom they clearly see to be on fire with 
extreme and pure love for them.

Strongly and unceasingly this love draws the soul with that uniting look, 
as though it had nought else than this to do. Could the soul who understood 
find a worse Purgatory in which to rid itself sooner of all the hindrance 
in its. way, it would swiftly fling itself therein, driven by the 
conforming love between itself and God.

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