On Holy Thursday we celebrated the institution of the Eucharist by Christ in the Last Supper, in what was his last celebration of the Passover. Even though In these extraordinary times of a pandemic most of us are unable to attend Mass, we can still be very united to the Masses being celebrated and so be, in the words of St Josemaria, “Eucharistic souls”. In this meditation we consider how:
The Jewish Passover was a figure of the Eucharist and it has many aspects that were fulfilled and made a reality in the Eucharist
The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist flowed from Christ’s open side as he hung on the Cross
We can be personally united with the four ends of the Mass
We can make the Eucharist the “centre and root” of the interior life, as St Josemaria suggested, and so be “Eucharistic souls”
At the beginning of another year we use texts of Scripture and St Josemaria Escriva to pray about what our goals and resolutions ought to be, especially that most important goal of eternal life with God in heaven. We consider:
The very reason for our existence is to know, love and serve God on earth in order to be happy with him in heaven.
We don’t know how long God has given us to live on this earth and therefore we must struggle to be ready to meet him every day.
Many souls depend on the life of each of us.
Holiness is a struggle, a battle, against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Athletes discipline themselves and train hard to win a crown that fades, whereas ours is imperishable: eternal life.
It has often been said that the quality of our interior life is the quality of our prayer. In this meditation we use especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St Josemaria’s book The Way to consider how we can improve our personal conversation with God in mental prayer through such means as:
Saying slowly and with attention the words of the Introductory Prayer
Responding promptly to the initiative of God, who invites us to pray
Engaging in the “battle of prayer”, whether we feel like it or not
Committing ourselves to regular times for prayer and being faithful to them
Our holy mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus.
When he was about to die on the Cross Jesus gave Our Lady to St John as his mother. The tradition of the Church has always seen in St John the whole Church, and indeed all mankind. In this meditation we consider:
How Mary is truly our mother
How Our Lady’s suffering at the Cross binds her more tightly to all her children
How Mary began to exercise her motherly role in the early Church
In the ups and downs of life there are many events which are not in our control, where we can only put our hope in God. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Saved by hope to put our life on a sure foundation. We consider that:
The foundation of our hope is God, who is always with us.
Our hope in God enables us to find peace and joy even amidst the uncertainties and sufferings of life.
The ultimate object of our hope is eternal life with God in heaven.
Many passages in Scripture speak to us of hope.
We can grow in hope through prayer in its various forms.
Mary, our Mother, is our hope: she brings us hope in the person of Jesus, she lives hope herself in many moments, and she intercedes powerfully for us in heaven.
God is calling all of us to “go out and bear fruit”, to bring the truth and love of Christ into the world. In a word, to change the world for the better. But it is not easy. It is hard enough to change ourselves. For this reason we need the virtue of fortitude, which strengthens the will. In this meditation we consider:
The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:
In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.
They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:
The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.