Thursday, July 03, 2008

Eucharistic Thursday (also feast of St. Thomas)

So I was finally one of the white-clad girls who made their first communion in third grade. I resolved on that day that I would never, but really never, again offend God, to whom I wanted to belong until I died.

Such were the sentiments of Maria von Trapp. (As noted in a previous post, she subsequently lost the Faith, when still a child was put under the guardianship of a committed atheist, but regained it in her late-college years.)


Commentary from our parish bulletin from our pastor (and sometimes Requiem Press author) Fr. John O'Holohan, S.J., who is home in Ireland for a bit:

In a second hand bookshop I came across a little book that delighted me. Its title is Ireland's Loyalty to the Mass by Father Augustine, O.M.Cap., published in 1933. It describes the fierce attempts to abolish the Mass in Ireland after Henry's defection from the Catholic Church. Henry VIII died in 1547. Although he rejected the supremacy of the Pope, he never faltered in faith in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In spite of colossal vanity ans selfishness he remained steadfast to this great "Mystery of Faith". The destruction of the Holy Sacrifice was the main object of the Anti-Catholic Reformation, but Henry remained loyal to the Mass to the last hour of his life.

In Henry's will was the following request: "We do earnestly require and desire the Blessed Virgin, God's Mother , with all the company of heaven, to pray for us ... and that there be provided, ordained and set a convenient altar honourably prepared and appareled with all manner of things necessary for daily Mass (for my soul), there to be said perpetually while the world shall endure."

It is therefore ironic that it is Henry's own break with the Church which set the wheels in motion to outlaw the Mass, and therefore make impossible Henry's own last request.

Father John goes on:

In spite of the savage persecution the Irish people remained loyal to the true Faith. They knew no theology or Latin, yet they instinctively knew that the Mass was the central act of our Redemption. They were ready to die for it. Why?

It was not, therefore anything merely human, but something really Divine that caught their eyes and gripped their souls. It was the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrifice that drew the Irish people, and caused them to pour out all the wealth of their hearts in the miserable hovels which He deigned to visit even for a fleeting hour or less.

Interesting that Thomas (whose feast is today) is known for wanting to see to believe-and yet the Eucharist requires believe without seeing. Thomas is a great saint of the Church.

Another Thomas, Thomas More wrote this prayer:

O sweet Saviour Christ, by the divers torments of Thy most bitter Passion, take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion or rather key-cold meditation, and this dullness in praying to Thee. And give me Thy grace to long for Thy Holy Sacraments, and especially to rejoice in the Presence of Thy blessed Body, sweet Saviour Christ, in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, and duly to thank Thee for Thy gracious visitation therewith.

Finally, a spiritual Communion which I learned high school: I wish my Lord to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion, with which your most holy Mother received you; with the spirit and the fervor of the saints.

Oremus pro invicem!

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