But he mentioned the true gift we have in embracing Jesus, as real on the altar in the host as he was at his birth. What an extreme gift we have in the Eucharist and the Holy Mass. I think it complimented Dr. Howell’s presentation last night at St. Charles very nicely.
Yet despite the amazing gift of the Eucharist, we all too often think too much about the “how” instead of the “what”. We all have liturgical preferences. And we all like our priests one way or another. We even, from time to time, think (or worse, say): “That priest should never have been ordained.”
But let’s take a step back. We have quite a gift in the Eucharist. We ought not get too caught up in petty grievances we have with our clergy or some custom in practice in our parish that we are at odds with. (Unless, of course, it differs from Church teaching. Then we are justified in our disagreement; but we must act on it with prudence.)
What’s necessary for Jesus to become present is a duly ordained priest (whether he spent the previous night in adoration for five hours or in a brothel), bread and wine (no matter the brand), and an approved Eucharistic prayer (the Canon or a short one).
That’s it folks. And Jesus, the God of the Universe, becomes present to us–present to nourish us, strengthen us. And bring us into communion with him and the Church. We end up with peace.
But we certainly don’t get peace fretting over the priest’s habits and other petty things that, in the long run, don’t matter as much.
This is not to say that form and “smells and bells” don’t matter; they do, and there is theology behind it all. That’s why we use them: they do bring us to a more profound meeting with Christ.
But it is to say that we ought not focus too much on “the way we want it,” and focus more on the profound gift God extends to us. God comes to us even if there is no organ, even if the altar is a card table, even if the priest spends his free time in sin. And THAT is something to be grateful for, and THAT is what we come for.
I need to remember this.