Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pauline Eucharistic Spirituality and the New Evangelization

Image of St. Paul on the Liturgical altar
circled by Paulines.
Patrick Padley, a speaker at the 2015 Catholic New Media Conference, made this insightful statement, “We are not just consumers of Christ.” Receiving communion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are not an end in themselves. Consuming Eucharist is a call to go out to others. Father John Jay Hayes writes:
“When we eat the heavenly food of the Eucharist…we become what we eat. ‘What material food produces in our bodily life,’ the Catechism says, ‘Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life’ [No. 1392]. We, who have been made members of Christ’s body in baptism, become his members afresh in the Eucharist. The Catechism says: “Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ … preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism.” [No. 1392]. Through the Eucharist we become people through whom Jesus continues today the works of love and compassion which he accomplished during his earthly life through his physical body. United with him in the Eucharist, we are united too with one another. That is why, before coming to the Lord’s holy table, we share with one another the greeting of peace. “Those who receive the Eucharist,” we read in the Catechism, “are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body – the Church” [No. 1396]. Our continual eating of the food God gives us is corporate.[i]
When we consume Christ in the Eucharist, becoming what we eat, we are not just consumers. In our consumer society it is easy to regard receiving Communion as a personal gift. In Holy Communion, as we receive the true body of Christ, we also receive all of the members of the body of Christ. We are called to go beyond consuming. The message of our society tells us that there is scarcity – if you don’t get to this sale now you miss out! If you don’t have this item, food, car, house, you don’t fit.  The message of the Eucharist tells us “There is always enough!” When we consume Eucharist and become what we eat our message is “You are enough because God loves you freely.” Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI clearly explains, 
“Molded by the Eucharist, the [community of believers] will become a beneficial ferment amidst the widespread consumerism and individualism of our time, reawakening solidarity and opening, in faith, the eye of the heart to recognize the Father, Who is gratuitous love and Who wishes to share his own joy with His children.”
“In Pauline Spirituality there is also an intimate connection between the Word and the Eucharist.
In Pauline Spirituality there is an
intimate connection between the
Word and the Eucharist.
Blessed James Alberione asks that the same devotion to the Eucharist be given to the Gospel. ‘The Divine Master, in order to unite to himself the whole man, gave us his teaching and himself: the Gospel and the Eucharist.’ The Gospel and the Eucharist, which are organically united, are tremendous expressions of Christ’s self-revelation and self-giving. This intimate connection or ‘nexus’ between the Word and the Eucharist is like the pair of rails on a train track, or the two hands of a mother supporting a child in his first steps. Our Founder has an organic vision of the Divine Master, synthesized in the binomial Gospel-Eucharist. He asserts: ‘The Divine Master, in order to unite to himself the whole man, gave us his teaching and himself: the Gospel and the Eucharist.’ The Gospel and the Eucharist are tremendous expressions of Christ’s self-revelation and self-giving."

“In his mystical experience at the cathedral of Alba, the sixteen-year-old seminarian, James Alberione, contemplated both the Sacred Host and the Gospel words of Jesus: ‘Come to me, all of you …. in Jesus Host is to be found light, nourishment, comfort and victory over evil. The Eucharist and the Gospel would always dominate the thoughts, prayers, interior work and aspirations of the ‘apostle’ Alberione. As God’s chosen instrument of the new evangelization, Blessed Alberione felt obliged to serve the Church, the people of the new century, and to work with others. ‘Born from the tabernacle the Pauline Family finds its nourishment, its life, its way of working, its sanctification, everything – holiness and apostolate – comes from the Mass, Communion, and the Eucharistic Visit.’ He reminds us: ‘The Pauline Family has a sole spirituality and that is to live the Gospel in its entirety.’” [ii]

As the Church prays, so she believes. In order to help us live this reality and fulfill our call to evangelize, Blessed Alberione wrote uniquely Eucharistic-Scriptural prayers. Here are some of my favorites, inspired by him, from the new book Live Christ!Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization.

Prayer to Incarnate Christ in Our Culture
Jesus, you are the Way, the place where we meet the Father;
no one can come to the Father except through you.
You are the always new and living Way. To see you is to see the Father.
You are the Truth; to know you is to know the Father, 
because you are the Word of God. Your truth sets us free.
Your spirit leads us to the whole truth.
You are the Life, given to us by the Father for the life of the world.
This life is nourished with your living Bread.
Jesus Way, Truth, and Life, I want to live in you with my entire being.
As I respond to the needs of others, help me incarnate you in the culture and in society.
Based on Jn 14:6, 14:9, 8:32, 16:13, 6:33

Make Me Life for the World
Knead me, Lord Jesus, into the world of communication,
as Eucharistic bread that will nourish others.
Teach me the new media languages that will give your message 
the best paths to reach minds and hearts.
Guide me as I send words into cyberspace;
inspire my choice of activity in social media.
Your word is alive and active,
like yeast in the dough of our world.
Thank you for calling me to participate
in your plan of peace.
Grant us the grace to welcome your word
and allow its message to find a home in us.
May our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and in the word
always be our light and strength.
We offer ourselves with him to you, Father.
May we, too, become bread broken for the life of many. Amen.

Prayers of Bl.Alberione, Ven Mother Thecla,
Bl.Giaccardo, Ven. Sr.Scholastica, and
 Pauline Sisters and Brothers
May My Life Be a Liturgy
O mystery of the Father’s incomprehensible
love for his children, made known in Jesus
through the gift of the Spirit!
I contemplate the total gift of yourself to us.
I ask that I may respond with a total gift of self through
full participation in the Eucharistic liturgy.
Participating in your mystery,
may I be a living communication of your love
to my sisters and brothers.
May my life become a liturgy
offering glory to you and peace to all men and women.Amen.

Becoming Bread Broken for the World
Heavenly Father, we desire to enter fully
into the mystery of your covenant with your people,
in the life and mission of the Church.
Grant us the grace to advance toward the fullness of charity,
so that we may seek only your glory and peace to all people.
Thus we can truly become a sign of your Risen Christ in the world.
Grant us the grace to welcome your word
and allow its message to find a home in us.
May our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and in the word
always be our light and strength.
We offer ourselves with him to you, Father.
May we, too, become bread broken for the life of many. Amen.

June 29: The solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul; June 30: the solemnity of St. Paul the Apostle (Pauline Family)

[i] John Jay Hayes, Now You Know Media
[ii] Cf. A Pauline Centenary Pastoral Tool: Pauline Spirituality and Mission, 2.
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Photo: Eucharistic Liturgy; Paulines in Italy. All rights Reserved.
Photo: Stain Glass Window; Jesuit Retreat House. Sr Margaret Kerry, fsp. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Cover of Live Christ; Give Christ. Pauline Books & Media. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.

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Sr. Margaret Kerry celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.

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