The Holy Eucharist and Pro-Life Formation
This article first appeared on the website Faithful Catholics, and is reproduced here with kind permission of the web-manager, Maureen Ward.
It was written by the late Fr. Jim Whalen in 2004, and is posted here with minor corrections.
Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed a Year of the Holy Eucharist from October 2004 to 2005. He once again showed us a way to grow in true devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus, so that all who accept and receive Him can be formed and transformed. This is especially true in terms of pro-life formation. The Holy Eucharist is God with us, Emmanuel (Mt 1:23), the unique way Jesus chose to stay with us and nourish us, His brothers and sisters. He is really present; Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Eucharist is the main weapon of strength and defense for pro-life disciples. He is present as daily food, preparing us for pro-life evangelization, enabling us to build a culture of life and love.
Pope Pius X left as a clear message, “Devotion to the Eucharist is the noblest of devotions, because it has God as its object.” Our work as pro-lifers is to present the Eucharist as a sacrament of life and love: a life and love that is crucified; a life and love that unites; a life and love that adores; a life and love that contemplates; a life and love that prays; a life and love that satisfies; a life and love that shares; a life and love that forgives; a life and love that heals.
God has truly given us all when He gave us the Eucharist. St. Augustine explains: “Although God is omnipotent, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.” (Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, p4.) Whereas St. Bernard reminds us the Eucharist is love that surpasses all love in Heaven and on earth, and St. Thomas emphasizes that the Eucharist signifies and produces love, St. Peter Eymard tells us that the Eucharist is the supreme proof of the love of Jesus.
Pope John Paul challenged youth in his message for World Youth Day 2005: “Make courageous choices … come and worship Christ. He is the rock on which to build your future and a world of greater justice and solidarity.” (Aug 26, 2004)
To find the riches of the Eucharist involves exercising the mind, the heart and the will. We must exercise our minds by reflecting, praying and pondering on the mystery of love, before the Blessed Sacrament, the gift of God Himself. We must exercise the heart, so that we will long for unity with the heart of Jesus. We must exercise our will through acts of self-sacrifice, so as to become humble and self-effacing.
The value of the Holy Eucharist, the value of Holy Mass, is so great that even martyrdom pales in comparison. The Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, helps us to understand by pointing out the infinite value of the Mass: “Martyrdom is nothing, in comparison with the Mass, because martyrdom is a sacrifice of man to God, whereas the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.” (Ibid p18)St. Pio of Pietrelcina states that when one understands the unlimited value of the Mass, great effort will be made to attend and participate as often as possible. “If men were to understand the value of the Holy Mass, for every Mass, such crowds would come to church that police would be needed to keep order.” (Ibid p19)
As pro-life disciples, let us make the Eucharist a priority in our lives. There is no better way than daily Mass and daily reception of Communion. In this way, we will be prepared for whatever we have to do whenever we are called upon.
Footnote: Jesus Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, FI, published by Immaculate Mediatrix, New Bedford, MA 1996, pp147