Eucharist

Corpus Christi – 2013

Corpus Christi, (Year C) ‘Jesus made the crowds welcome …… we are in a lonely place here.’ (Lk (:11-17) It seems strange to put those words together: to speak of welcome and loneliness almost in the same breath.  JESUS in the midst of it all.  And so, what can it mean?Loneliness is a peculiar ‘friend’ – always somewhere on the horizon and sometimes much more nearly present to us.  When  we are small we can be too busy learning and growing to be conscious of it.  But then life begins to settle down … into ‘maturity’ and we discover that we are a mystery to ourselves; that we misunderstand and are in turn misunderstood, and thus we are exposed to this loneliness – never far away and often too too close to bear.JESUS.  Yesterday was the feast of the Body and Blood of JESUS.  The Feast of thanksgiving to our bounteous Father and His co-eternal Son, for leaving us this gift.  Strange that it should call to mind welcome and loneliness.  JESUS gives Himself to us in a lonely place.  He welcomes us here to loneliness.  Seems strange … what is it that He wants us to see?In St Matthew’s Gospel, while on the Cross, we read that JESUS ‘yielded up his spirit:’ in the loneliness of the Cross, having surrendered everything to the Father in love, He even had to give up, surrender His very breath, the Holy Spirit – so that it might be ours.We are never alone.  Loneliness after all is a divine gift that we are invited to welcome.  What happens when we cannot?  It seems as though the consequences are potentially destructive.  By denying or trying to run away […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 7

On this 7th day of our Novena, I would like to share an extract from “The Life of St. Catherine of Siena by Raymond of Capua”.  Blessed Raymond was St. Catherine’s Confessor and Spiritual Director. It illustrates St. Catherine’s love of the Blessed Eucharist and her frequent reception of it at a time when that was not common practice in the Church.“All who knew Catherine were well aware of her profound and characteristic reverence and devotion towards the Blessed Sacrament of the Body of our Lord.  She received the Sacrament so frequently that it was popularly reported that the “maiden Catherine receives Holy Communion every day,” and that she lived and kept up her strength on it without taking any other food.  Although in saying this they were not quite correct, still I believe they spoke in good faith, and to the honour of God, who always shows himself wonderful in his saints.  The fact was that Catherine did receive Holy Communion with heartfelt devotion, not indeed every day, but frequently.  For this reason certain people whom I must refer to in the biblical phrase as “satraps of the Philistines” rather than as Christian believers in this regard, murmured against the frequency of  her communions.  But I took up her defence against them and they could not rebut the arguments I gave.  I routed them with the words and the actions of the holy Fathers and of holy Church herself.”“So great sometimes was her longing for Communion that, on occasions on which she had to go without it, her frail body went through more suffering than if she had been suffering intense pain or fever for days at a time.   All that bodily distress […]

50th International Eucharistic Congress

The 50th International Eucharistic Congress opened in Dublin on Sunday the 10th June – Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  Three of our sisters were privileged to be among those who had been invited to represent the diocese of Armagh at the entrance procession – Sr Natallia, Sr Mary Teresa and Sr Mary Cathy returned home all sun burnt!  What a change in weather from last week when  one would think that we were in the midst of winter  – not approaching mid summer.  The photos we share here speak for themselvesWaiting for the bus – with our Pilgrim Bags Arriving at the RDS  Srs M Cathy, Teresa and Natallia holding banner with image of St Oliver Plunkett  Waiting to Process inOur Patron Saint speaks to the CongressWith the ‘Red Nuns’ and Sisters from CanadaAt the end of the day – with our Dominican Brothers  

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 3

Thoughts on the Eucharist (from the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, No. 112; the Father speaking)Dearest daughter, contemplate the marvelous state of the soul who receives this bread of life, this food of angels, as she ought. When she receives this sacrament she lives in me and I in her. Just as the fish is in the sea and the sea in the fish, so am I in the soul and the soul in me, the sea of peace. Grace lives in such a soul because, having received this bread of life in grace, she lives in grace. When this appearance of bread has been consumed, I leave behind the imprint of my grace, just as a seal that is pressed into warm wax leaves its imprint when it is lifted off. Thus does the power of this sacrament remain there in the soul; that is, the warmth of my divine charity, the mercy of the Holy Spirit, remains there. The light of my only-begotten Son’s wisdom remains there, enlightening the mind’s eye. is left strong, sharing in my strength and power, which make her strong and powerful against her selfish sensuality and against the devil and the world.

Feast of Corpus Christi

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (6:51-58) for this Corpus Christi Sunday, what struck me forcibly was the word ‘life’ and ‘living’. In the Gospel this word appears 11 times. The opening line contains it:I am the living bread which has come down from Heaven. And the last line contains it:anyone who eats this bread will live foreverIn his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Bl Pope John Paul II takes up this theme of life:The Church draws her life from the Eucharistand again:Proclaiming the death of the Lord ‘until he comes’ entails that all who take part in the Eucharist be committed to changing their lives and making them in a certain way completely ‘ Eucharistic’. Each day and every day we are privileged to receive this ‘living bread’. I ask myself am I truly and consciously aware of the ‘life’ that should be growing in me, that should be changing me? If I am receiving this ‘life’ what growth is taking place in me? These questions have challenged me over the last couple weeks. Jesus himself encourages us to draw life from Him in this Gospel:As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father,so whoever eats me will draw life from me And to quote Bl Pope John Paul II again:From this living bread the Church draws her nourishment (7) When referring to ‘life’ I have to keep reminding myself that it is supernatural life we are speaking of – the life of grace and not natural physical life.St. Thomas distinguishes and compares these two types of ‘life’ – the life of the body and the life of the spirit in his […]

Feast of Corpus Christi

“Where do you want us to go …?” (Mk 14:12f)In today’s Gospel, according to Mark, the disciples asked Jesus ‘where do You want us to go to make the preparations for You…?’ Jesus answers them ‘Go into the city…’ and further, when they do what he has told them, they will discover that everything is ‘all prepared’.When I am in doubt about where the Lord wants me, wondering how it is that He wants me to love Him – how to follow Him – how to know Him – these are statements that it would be well for me to remember.Where do You want me to go to prepare?Go into the city. … all preparedIf I ask the Lord in faith for the gift of being able to listen to Him, I believe that somehow He will give me the answer I seek, because what I ask is only Him – I want Jesus, because in Jesus is everything. I want Him to show me the way, so I must have the humility to hear what He is saying to me, and the courage to accept His word.He says to me – ‘go into the city’ – a bit difficult, because I’m here in a monastery, living as a nun, and I’ve left all things to follow Him, so how can I go into the city? But, maybe the ‘city’ is the place where I am, a city built on a hilltop – whose population is the sisters with whom I live and work and pray and learn to love and follow the Lord. And it’s a busy city. Busy enough at times to distract […]