A letter to a frequent communicant
I AM GLAD you have moved to a parish with a daily Eucharist and I hope it is well attended. It seems to me that there is so much that such parishes can offer to the whole church.
Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion several times a week, to meet Him in > this extraordinary and intimate way, should surely be unable to do anything other than to live joyously and to grow in love for God and our neighbour.
Those of us who have received Catholic teaching know with our minds that He is truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Eucharist, but do we know it sufficiently in our hearts?
If we really think about what was given to us at the last Eucharist and what we will receive at the next, then the periods in between must surely be lived in thanksgiving and joy and eager anticipation? And in increasing love towards all the baptised - not just those we find easy to love or to starving children whose pictures on our television screens arouse so much compassion - but towards those too whom we dislike, who have hurt us, whom we distrust or with whom we disagree.
Our Lord died for them too, did He not? And He loves them just as much as He loves you and me.
We believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist but perhaps there is a danger with that. We must not allow our concentration on the real presence in the Eucharist to cloud our awareness that He is present in all the baptised or allow our love of the Sacrament of the Eucharist to diminish our awareness of the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism. We must not forget that all the baptised are members of the Body of Christ, and that all men and women are made in the image of God.
We seek God in the scriptures and know that Jesus is the Word of God who took flesh and dwelt amongst us. He speaks to us directly in the Bible and perhaps above all in the Sermon on the Mount.
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" He taught us. It seems to me that there is a particular demand here on parishes with a frequent Eucharist. Surely the principal effect of this great sacrament should be our increasing love for all members of His body, not just those we like anyway?
It is not enough just to love those who love us; we must set no bounds to our love, just as our heavenly Father sets no bounds to His. If we truly grow in love and generosity towards those with whom we disagree on important questions, then we really will be going FORWARD.
If we can believe with our hearts as well as with our minds that our hands become a manger when the host is placed in them and that our lips touch His body as Our Lady's did the Child she kissed as He lay in her arms, then we cannot fail to live and pray in love and joy and increasing generosity of spirit.
Indeed is it not a failure of trust in God if we find it difficult to pray for those with whom we disagree? If we pray in the spirit of Thy Will Be> Done then we can pray for anyone and everyone.
With good wishes and my prayers.
Jane Gore-Booth is married and the mother of two children.
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