The Eucharist: the Source and Summit of Evangelization
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
You and I have all we need to be the most joy-filled people on earth. As I shared last month, Pope Francis has challenged us to see that it is by “attraction” that the Church will grow. This happens through our ability to reflect Divine love in all the circumstances and realities of our daily lives. Where do you and I encounter the Divine?
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting “Lumen gentium” from the Second Vatican Council, we are reminded that “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian Life” (CCC 1324). Bishop Medley reminded us in his recent pastoral letter, “I Will Go to the Altar of God,” that Jesus expressed his desire “that his followers continue the sacred meal as a place of encounter with the Divine!”
We encounter Jesus at Mass in four ways as taught through the documents of Vatican II: in the gathered assembly; the Priest; the Word; and in the Bread and Wine that is the Body of Christ. Through these, we participate in the greatest prayer in our Church and the fruit is communion with God. Hopefully, we walk out of Mass with a powerful experience of an encounter that fills us full of light and love and it is reflected through us all week.
During the pandemic, our experience of the Mass has been greatly changed. Watching Mass is certainly not the ideal, but we can still have regular encounters with God. We practice this in the prayer of Spiritual Communion while watching Mass and throughout the week when we turn to classic spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, study, and prayer. How we live our lives seeking to be in union with God daily really matters.
I recently went on retreat to the White House, a Jesuit retreat center in St. Louis and the theme was “Finding God in All Things.” This is a core belief for the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, and Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope in history. This central theme captures an important aspect of our faith that can help us realize more deeply the absolute gift of the Mass.
This Lent, be especially aware of how you are encountering God in your daily life. Look for the movement of the Holy Spirit, spend time each day in quiet prayer with the Father, just as Jesus regularly did, and talk to Jesus as you would a best friend. As you cultivate this relationship daily, your disposition to encounter the Lord at Mass will be much more prepared and open to be filled with awe and the love of your Creator.
God longs to be in communion with you and I daily and as we receive this love, especially in the Eucharist, we are sent forth as evangelists to share this amazing news with a desperate world.
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to email@example.com.
Originally printed in the March 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.