The Second Vatican Council proclaimed that the holy sacrifice of the Mass is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, n. 11). It is in this sacrifice that we behold the sacrifice of Our Lord on the Holy Cross on Calvary, and what was given then is made present to us now on the very altars of our churches. On these sacred altars the bread and wine offered becomes truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and from these sacred altars we receive in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Sacraments. So profound is this truth that we are beholden to honour and revere, body and soul, this Most Blessed Sacrament from which pours forth grace upon grace.
So that we as Holy Cross Parish may grow in our devotion to this most precious Sacrament, and so that we may be a witness to the truth amongst our neighbours and to the world, the year from this Corpus Christi (2022) to the next (2023) is declared to be the Year of the Blessed Sacrament.
In a world that has forsaken the truth and has given so much of itself over to the pride of humanity against the will of almighty God, and which has forsaken the Blessed Sacrament, we are moved to make known ever more boldly the enduring love of Our Lord who came so that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10).
As human beings we are used to valuing those things which we must pay for, those things which are expensive, those things which are rare, but the Blessed Sacrament is none of these things. None of us is asked to pay to receive the Blessed Sacrament, and the Blessed Sacrament is not expensive nor is it rare. Instead, it is free, it is readily available and is given without question. And this is the great risk that Our Lord took in instituting the Sacrament of the Eucharist; that He would give of Himself so easily that we would easily forget Him. As He did in His life and at His death, Christ is vulnerable and is vulnerable in the Blessed Sacrament because He places Himself again in the hands of sinful men and women. Yet He asks us to still come to Him, to seek His divine mercy, so that we will know His grace, and in knowing His grace receive eternal life, which is Christ Himself.
Our world has lost a sense of the transcendent, of the things beyond for which we were created and to which we are called, and has abandoned itself to that which is only ever immediate. We are, each of us, created in the image and likeness of God, and have been created to live in communion with God—that is the meaning of life. Separated from God, however, we suffer the pains and struggles that come with being fallen creatures and look for that which can give us meaning and fulfillment.
In the Sacraments of the Church, most especially the Blessed Sacrament, is the pledge of meaning and fulfilment for which each of us longs. For only when we turn our eyes away from the gutter and look upward to the altars of the Church do we see the beauty of all that we were created to be. That we, who have abandoned Our Lord time and time again, are still held by Him to be worth the sacrifice of His life. For even if only one man were to have sinned, God would still have given His life for that man’s salvation.
Through this Year of the Blessed Sacrament, may the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Eucharist, carry us to her Son, Our Lord and Saviour, so that we may honour Him really and truly present —Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity— in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
Reprinted from the Granville Catholic Church Record – 19th June 2022