Sunday, January 11, 2015

Struggling for Perspective - Holy Communion

"2. Thou commandest that I draw near to Thee with firm confidence, if I would have part with Thee, and that I receive the food of immortality, if I desire to obtain eternal life and glory. Come unto Me, sayest Thou, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Oh, sweet and lovely word in the ear of the sinner, that Thou, O Lord my God, dost invite the poor and needy to the Communion of Thy most holy body and blood. But who am I, O Lord, that I should presume to approach unto Thee? Behold the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, and yet Thou sayest, Come ye all unto Me. 

3. What meaneth this most gracious condescension, this most lovely invitation? How shall I dare to come, who know no good thing of myself, whence I might be able to presume? How shall I bring Thee within my house, seeing that I so often have sinned in Thy most loving sight? Angels and Archangels stand in awe of Thee, the Saints and just men fear Thee, and Thou sayest, Come unto Me! Except Thou, Lord, hadst said it, who should believe it true? And except Thou hadst commanded, who should attempt to draw near?" [Kempis, Thomas A.; The Collected Works of Thomas A Kempis (2007-11-17). The Imitation of Christ (Optimized for Kindle) (Kindle Locations 2658-2667). Kindle Edition.

Why do we not find it mind-boggling that people clamor for admission to Holy Communion as if life preparation were not needed to draw so close to the living God? I'm beginning to fear more each day that the virtue of faith is a terribly rare commodity in our world today. We really need to go back to singing Dies Irae at funerals and fasting at least three hours with a good Confession when preparing to receive Holy Communion on our knees. The fear of the Lord is born of love for the One Who first loved us and was lifted up upon the Cross for our salvation. Life is a preparation for Liturgy and Liturgy is an encounter with Him Who alone is holy and just.

St. Charles Borromeo was indeed one of the great reformer bishops of the Council of Trent. First and foremost he helped his priests of Milan to reform their lives, to recollect and to be beacons for others. He taught and he lovingly led his people on the path of Catholic Reform. We have an urgency today for reform grounded in sound teaching.

For all of my adult life, I have been witness to people in places high and low who have sought to undermine the Tradition; they did it out of willfulness with scarcely a thought for the One Who is higher than the angels. Too much has been vulgarized and for too long. Yes, it is indeed so for lack of faith.

I think, to use a figure from St. Charles, it is time to close the stove to protect that last ember of faith and devotion before the contrary winds of a relativist society snuff out what still burns though faintly within our hearts. We need to become beggars before God, confident in His will to draw us to Himself.


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