with Paul Ray
The Sacrament of Charity: The Eucharist and the Lay Faithful
Forging ahead in our study on Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist (¶ 79) we come to the topic of the Holy Eucharist and the lay faithful.
St. Peter says that the lay faithful are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own, to declare His wonderful deeds (1 Peter 2:9)”. This is our role as Christians, and we need the strength (grace) to be able to live out this command. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, therefore, is the source by which we receive this grace because it provides us with the Living Bread from heaven. Each Holy Mass we prayerfully assist at becomes the bedrock of living out our faith and manifesting what St. Peter describes in our daily lives.
The Mass, moreover, “commits us, in our daily lives, to doing everything for God’s glory.” Through reception of the Eucharist our supernatural lives impact our natural lives. We can better “bring Jesus with us” to the workplace, and in the public square. We cannot please God without cooperating with His grace and each Mass gives us that opportunity; the opportunity day-by-day to make a difference in the lives of those to whom God has placed in our paths.
The lay faithful are the sowers of the seed of the Word of God. By virtue of our baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist, we can be a powerful tool against evil in our fallen world. The Holy Father says, “The Eucharist meets each of us where we are, and make our concrete existence the place where we experience daily the radical newness of the Christian life.” In other words, the Eucharist changes us into the person God created us to be and through that we can change the world and bring people to His love and saving grace.
Pope Benedict stresses the importance, especially, for families, husbands and wives, to pay particular attention to Eucharist and the Liturgy because the family is the pillar of society. The Eucharist holds families together and provides the means to be able to live out this difficult call in life, especially in modern secular society. The Catholic family needs to be the model for the rest of the world and the Blessed Sacrament is the way to make that possible. - Paul A. Ray
NEXT WEEK: The Eucharist and Moral Transformation