The Source and the Summit
First we received a note from Cross Catholic Outreach who sent a priest to cover for me at Immaculate Conception and St. John while I was on vacation: “Cross Catholic Outreach wishes to thank you for the welcome you extended to Fr. O’Brien on our recent visit to your parish. On behalf of the poorest of the poor, we thank you for having shared in their lives. May our Lord continue to bless all of you and your love and support.”
This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which is commonly called by its Latin title Corpus Christi. In a special way we focus on the gift of the Eucharist and the Sacred Liturgy. The Eucharist is such an incredible gift from God that we could never say enough about its glory or majesty.
In the Second Vatican Council document on the Sacred Liturgy, the Council reminded us that the Liturgy is the “Source and Summit” of all Christian life. The Council said that the liturgy “is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font (source) from which all her power flows.”
The fact that the liturgy is the source and summit is something we all need reminded, whether we are new Catholics or priests. Sometimes we run out of gas. We are running on fumes and we don’t know how to keep going. The liturgy, the Mass, and the Eucharist are the font of life for us! It is from the Eucharist that we are nourished to live our Christian life. Jesus says, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life within you.” And he means it! The Eucharist gives us life. From the Mass we derive natural and supernatural energy. If we think, we are running out of time, draw strength from the Eucharist and the Lord will give us all the time we need.
The Mass is also the summit toward which all activity flows. As we go through our days we hear of so many problems: kids misbehave, work is stressful, a family member has cancer, the weather isn’t cooperating, or the bank account is low. Sometimes we wonder what to do with all our needs and concerns. We have to put them on the altar. All our life is directed to the Mass and we should take time before Mass to bring the Lord all of our activity, offering up to His Mercy!
These days I find myself bringing a lot to the altar: Catholics aren’t practicing their faith, sick parishioners, people have broken hearts, couples are preparing to enter into marriage, children are sick, or families grieving the loss of a loved one. All of these I try to remember at the altar.
Additionally, I try to remember our staff at the altar. Over these past few months I have asked a lot of them. In the office merger there is a laundry list of concerns: rearranging desks, sequence of the move, phones, internet, furniture, storage space, copy machine contracts, working between two campuses to name just a few. With the recent audit, there will have to be some changes in how things happen behind the scenes also. In short we are in the midst of some change and I am extremely grateful toward our staff. I am sure that it hasn’t been an easy few months, but I know they are people of great faith. They have been nourished by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
If there is one thing that I have learned in my almost 30 years on earth, it is the importance of the Eucharist. The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is the center of our life. May we trust in this source and font of strength! May the Mass be the summit toward which our actions are oriented.
Sincerely in Christ,