PATH TO COMMUNION (continued)
Prayer ~~ "Come Spirit of Love! Come that we may be one, as the Father and You are One. One united with You!
One united through our Baptism in FAITH and in LOVE!"
Christian initiation and communion
True communion with God, the Church and one another comes through the very first sacraments that we receive. They are the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
| Baptism is the "beginning of life in Christ" because
it removes Original Sin and we enter into union with Him.
It is our first step into faith because through this sacrament we are saying 'YES, WE BELIEVE IN GOD,' through our godparents and parents. They are our witnesses to the the faith that will be nourished through through other sacraments. Remember, serious sin is the only thing which separates us from Christ and it is the removal of serious sin which brings us together again.
|In Confirmation, through the Holy Spirit, we become joined more fully to the
Church. Through the gift of the Holy
Spirit, we renew our faith
and belief in Christ. For this reason, this sacrament also requires that we become more committed to spread
the faith (to evangelize) and to defend the
It is extremely important that we should be true witnesses of Christ through our words and deeds.
Through the Eucharist, we we are able to reach the highest point of our life with Christ, when He comes to us ~~ In His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Remember, it is through the Eucharist that we all become united into the BODY OF CHRIST. What this means is that through the Sacrament of Baptism we are joined with Christ and share his divine life. This also relates us to everyone else who has been baptized in the entire Church.
We are joined together forming one large body as the people of God (THE BODY OF CHRIST), living by the one spirit!
Because these Sacraments of Initiation, as they are called, are so vital to our communion with Christ and one another, the Bishops and our Pope stress the importance that proper and complete teaching be given to those who are preparing to receive these sacraments. We accomplish this for the adults through the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults Program (RCIA) which is mandated by the Church, itself. It is the official way for people to be instructed and given formation in order to be received into the Catholic Faith.
|The Synod Fathers feel that some children and adults may not be given this proper
Our Holy Father encourages us to do a better job in preparing everyone who is going to receive these vital sacraments.
The Eucharist as center of communion with God and with each other
The sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation can only be received once in our lifetime.
The Eucharist, because it is the "living and lasting center around which the
entire community of the Church gathers," we are blessed to be able to receive Jesus' Body and Blood, under usual circumstances, daily!
It is a sacrament of "SACRIFICE ~~ COMMUNION and PRESENCE"
It is our very own personal encounter with the "Living" Jesus Christ!
The Eucharist is the source (the beginning) and summit (the highest point) of the Church's life!
Pope John Paul II and Synod Fathers stress the importance of "..renewing in the faithful the sense that the Eucharist is an IMMENSE GIFT."
Our Holy Father exhorts us "...to give the Sunday Eucharistic celebration new strength, as the source and summit of the Church's life, the safeguard of communion in the BODY OF CHRIST and an invitation to solidarity, expressing the Lord's command: "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)
In other words, the Eucharist protects us from becoming divided from one another and unites us as a Church!
The Eucharist is what makes us solid in our unity and able to love one another as Christ has, and continues to love us.
|We must come to realize that the Eucharist
is a precious gift and Christ's
greatest ongoing miracle
of LOVE. Pope John Paul II strongly encourages us to remember that our
and active participation in the Celebration
of the Eucharist
(Holy Mass) is an exercise of
the "common priesthood"
received by all of us through Baptism.
Let us take a moment to explain what is meant by the term, "common priesthood." The term priesthood has a two-fold distinction.
The first is the ministerial priesthood which was instituted by our Lord through the Sacrament of Holy Orders and is given to men who are called by God to serve Him and the people of God ~~His Church. Under this sacrament the priest receives the power to celebrate and consecrate the Eucharist and grant forgiveness of sin in the name of Jesus Christ. This sacrament also gives the priest the ability to administer all of the other sacraments of the Church and its liturgical life for the benefit of the faith community.
The second is the "common priesthood." This is the "priesthood" of the faithful, which means all of us who have been baptized and confirmed in our faith and share the life of Christ, especially through the Holy Eucharist.
We are all gifted through the Holy Spirit to help and assist the Church in her mission of caring for the eternal salvation of all of God's people ~~our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are called and gifted by the Lord to do this BUT our positive, loving response is necessary to accept this "priesthood" of the faithful!
Once we come to realize this fact, we will want to do all we can to participate actively and worthily at Mass, at least on Sundays and Holy Days.
Our Holy Father ends this very important section with a reminder that "THERE IS A DIRECT LINK BETWEEN THE EUCHARIST AND CHARITY."
He reminds us that the early Church had the tradition of the faithful gathering for a feast of material food to feed their bodies. This gathering and sharing of food linked them together in a very familial way. Later they celebrated the Eucharistic Feast which spiritually nourished them. It was at this great Eucharistic Feast where they could give thanksgiving and love to God.
Today The Woman Clothed with the Sun and the Moon under Her Feet invites us to this same Eucharistic Feast!