Corpus Christi—Taking Jesus public all around the World

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

By Larry Peterson

This Day is for putting Jesus on Display

The Bishops of the United States have proclaimed that 2022 is the year for a National Eucharistic Revival. This revival will launch on June 19, 2022, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. (The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ). It is only fitting that this is the day to launch this campaign.

Pew research has stated that 70 percent of those who say they are Catholic do not believe in the Real Presence. The high percentage is alarming because this is a doctrine of our faith. It states that Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. During the Holy Mass, this change takes place when the ordained priest consecrates the bread and wine. He does this by saying the words of consecration over the bread and wine; “This is My Body; this is My Blood.” This is doctrinal teaching and the very focal point of our faith.

The sum and summary of our faith

We Catholics even have one day a year dedicated to celebrating the Holy Eucharist. That day is called The Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1327 says, this is the sum and summary of our faith). What do we do that is special on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi?  We have processions, and we have had them since the 13th century.

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, processions take place worldwide. Pope Francis leads the primary procession. The Holy Father traditionally processes  from the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the  Pope’s Cathedral,  to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.  This year he will be unable to do that. The Holy Father may follow in his wheel chair).  The Holy Eucharist , will be held aloft in the Monstance by the celebarnt for all to see. People will fall to their knees in Adoration. Processions will take place all over the world, including in the United States.

At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II reinstituted this procession. That was  almost 45 years ago.  When he was Archbishop of Krakow, he had yearly confrontations with communist leaders about restoring Corpus Christi processions. He remembered the processions from when he was a child in Poland. He always wanted to start them again. Once he ascended to the Seat of Peter, he did just that.

Brief Historical background

Pope Urban IV had heard of a  young woman from Belgium named Juliana. Juliana had a deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and received private revelations. Along with the help of her confessor, John of Lausanne, she composed a book of prayers to honor the Blessed Sacrament. The local bishop approved the texts, and word of this reached the Pope. He had none other than Thomas Aquinas investigate.

Thomas Aquinas investigates and approves

St. Thomas Aquinas, the man who defined Transubstantiation (CCC #1376), advised the Holy Father that this devotion was heaven-sent. In 1264, the Pope declared the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It was the first universal feast imposed obligatorily on the entire church by a pope. Aquinas composed many of the texts for Corpus Christi, including the hymns, Adoro te Devote, Pange Lingua (sung traditionally after Holy Thursday Mass, and Tantum Ergo, which is always sung at Benediction.

Ironically, Pope Urban and St. Thomas Aquinas passed away before adding Corpus Christi to the liturgical schedule; Pope Urban IV in 1264 and St. Thomas in 1274. It was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this increased the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began, led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, the church had put detailed instructions for holding Benediction in place. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century, with updated guidelines added in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament.”

from St. John Paul II

In 2004, Pope John Paul II issued Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord). In Number 18 of the document, the Holy Father wrote, “this year let us also celebrate with particular devotion the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with its TRADITIONAL PROCESSION.  Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.

from Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI said, “Corpus Christi processions allow us to “immerse Christ in the daily routine of our lives, so that He may walk where we walk and live where we live.”

Interestingly, there are only five Solemnitys during the year when a bishop is required to remain in his diocese. They are; Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. Maybe it is time to start paying more attention to this essential Solemn Feast.

The Knights of Columbus is spearheading efforts for the National Eucharistic Revival. This Revival will be launched on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on June 19. Many dioceses and parishes around the country are planning celebrations and processions. You can seek information on preparing for this great feast day by contacting  www.kofc.org

from Pope Francis

Pope Francis says, “praising Him and singing in the streets of our city allows us to express our gratitude for nourishing us with His love through the Sacraments of His Body and Blood.”

 


What are the origins of Adoration and Benediction ?

Adoration awash in bright lite   no flash used

By Larry Peterson

Growing up and going to Catholic school, we had religion class every day. One thing we all learned about was the “Real Presence.”  There was no doubt in our minds that inside the church, Jesus was truly present “body and blood, soul and divinity. He was inside the tabernacle, and He was waiting for us to “visit” Him. The phrase, “I’m going to pay a visit,” needed no explanation. So when did “visiting Jesus” start and where did Adoration and Benediction come from?

Adoration is a centuries-old practice that evolved from the earliest Christian days when the faithful, upon leaving Mass, brought the leftover consecrated bread home so it could be distributed to the sick and those who were unable to get to Mass (as an EMHC I do something similar today, but I do not take it home).

However, there were times when some of the consecrated bread was saved to distribute to the faithful during the week. This was a time when there were no daily Masses. This leftover consecrated bread had to be kept somewhere worthy of the Son of God. The people would make special places in their homes to keep the consecrated host in repose.

It appears that after Emperor Constantine stopped the persecution of the Christians in 313 A.D., construction of churches began in earnest. It was during this time that the Holy Eucharist began being kept in the churches for distribution to the sick. The sacristy was the usual place for repose.

Over the next several centuries, the Eucharist was relocated to the sanctuary near or above the altar. An unexpected result of this was that the faithful were drawn to Christ present and began praying to Him privately.

The Middle Ages is when actual Adoration began to take hold. People were receiving Holy Communion less frequently so the church decreed that people only had to receive Holy Communion once a year. The changing customs and attitudes also saw a separation take place between the altars and the congregation. It seemed that the churches were trying to separate the priest from the people.

Being distanced from the actions on the altar during Mass and combining that with the infrequent reception of Holy Communion gave rise to a new phenomenon; the people began staring and/or gazing at the vessel holding the Blessed Sacrament. Since the people could not receive communion as frequently as they wanted to, they began what became known as “Adoration.” Seeing Christ in the elevated Host oftentimes replaced receiving Holy Communion.

People even started coming to Mass extra early so they could get a good spot to watch the elevation of the Host. This was also when the ringing of the bells at the consecration took hold to alert the people to what was happening. People even timed services so they could go from one church to another to witness the elevation again. It was during his time that the idea of the monstrance began to take hold.

In 1264, Pope Urban IV ordered that the Feast of Corpus Christi be enacted throughout the universal church. Pope Urban passed away before it was implemented, so it was not until 1317 that Pope John XXII, added it to the church calendar. Since the laity was still not receiving frequent communion, this added to the practice of Adoration. Corpus Christi processions followed.

Soon the Holy Eucharist, contained in a monstrance, was being carried by the priest in procession. The procession began led by the clergy and followed by the laity. It  ended with a Benediction. By the 1600s, detailed instructions for holding Benediction were put in place by the church. Eucharistic Adoration can now be traced to the 16th century.  Guidelines were put in place in 1973.

In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to priests, Dominicae cenae, Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship.  And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament…”

 


Eucharistic Prayer I—from Daily use to Muted Gem.

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

By Larry Peterson

Before 1970, the only canon used during the Mass was the Roman Canon. Today’s standard missalettes carry six Canons; Eucharistic Prayers I thru IV and two Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation. The altar missal used by the priest has nine;  (the ones mentioned and there are three for children’s Masses). It seems the one most commonly used today is Eucharistic Prayer II.

Used every day for over 1300 years, it is rarely used today. 

The Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) was put in place by Pope St. Gregory the Great  in the seventh century. It remains virtually unchanged to this day. However, since the new versions of the Eucharistic Prayers were included in the Novus Ordo Mass, Eucharistic Prayer I is rarely used. I do not know why this is, but it certainly has withstood the test of time. (In fact, it remains the standard in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass aka the Latin Mass).

(Canon is the word used that refers to the fundamental part of the Mass that occurs between the Offertory and before Communion).

In the Roman Canon, a mystical beauty is portrayed by the words written. These words create visuals that can carry us to a different place. Focus, listen and read quietly along with the priest. You may actually get a tiny glimpse into heaven itself. Just let yourself feel the words grab you, and transport you to a different realm.

When you “arrive” you may be able to peel back the curtain and take a peek behind it. You might watch as the greatest love story ever told is taking place. It is the story of the perfect LOVE that exists within God and among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who is God. This is about the most profound mystery of our faith and how this perfect LOVE is about to be shared with us. It is the greatest of gifts imaginable, and all of us who choose to accept it are about to receive it. But how does the Canon of the Mass take us there?

I have before me a copy of the Breaking Bread Missalette for 2018. I also have a copy of the St. Joseph Daily Missal from 1956. One is post-Vatican II; the other is pre-Vatican II. The Roman Canon is the same in both. So let me share just one of the visuals I have mentioned. First we should all be aware that all canons are directed to God the Father.

The great Mystery of faith is shared with us by God the Father

We believe that through the consecrated hands of the ordained priest, Jesus is going to sacrifice Himself to His Father for us. The Father will accept this Gift of His Son’s human life and return His Risen Son back to us in Holy Communion. This is the Great Mystery of our Faith.

I will only mention a few words from this magnificent, 7th-century document that I believe captures it all. After the words of consecration are said, and the Body and Blood of Jesus are on the altar, we all recite the mystery of faith. Then the priest continues with:

Therefore, O Lord  (referring to the Father) as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, WE, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim,  the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.

We move down and read of Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, and the offering of the priest, Melchizedek. So try to picture what happens next when God the Father hears our prayer:

In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God; Command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your  divine majesty, so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar, receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, and may be filled with every grace and blessing

(Through Christ our Lord. Amen).

As we watch the angel take our gifts up to heaven and then return them to us from our Father, we finish with the following words (how many of us think about them) before the Communion Rite begins:

Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. AMEN.

All the Eucharistic Prayers are beautiful, but I must admit, I do love #1 the most.

There is a crisis in our treasured church consisting of a majority of people claiming to be Catholic not believing in the Real Presence. Ironically, many of these people will attend Mass on Easter, and most will receive Holy Communion. It may be the only Sunday they attend Mass all year. This is not shocking since many do not understand what they are doing or why they are even at Mass. Do they have any understanding of what the Mass is? I think not. Is it their fault?  Again, I think not.

Is it time for  the “old” Baltimore Catechism

There might be a simple solution. Has anyone ever thought of bringing back the “old” Baltimore Catechism? This little book has the core teachings of the Catholic faith written in terms for all to see and understand, from first graders on up. For example; from the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism; copyright 1963:

Lesson 1, First question: “Who made you?”  answer ;  “God made me.”

Lesson 2, First question: “Where is God?”  answer; “God is everywhere.”

Lesson 3, First question: “Is there only one God?” answer “Yes, there is only one God.”

Second question: “How many Persons are there in God.?

Answer: “In God, there are three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Those simple phrases sum up the existence of God and the Blessed Trinity. Simplified explanations follow these questions. Parents could have these little paperbacks at home. Teachers could have them in the classroom. Even high school and college students could do ‘refreshers’ with these little books.

The First Communion Catechism finishes with lessons covering the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Mass. Remember, the lessons used here are for first and second graders. They can also be for adults, it does not matter.

Lesson 11: First question: “What is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?”

Answer: “The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament of the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus   Christ.”

From there, simple explanations are used to explain what this means. These are followed by a beautiful description of the Mass and how it is Jesus’ Act of Love for us.

Maybe it is time to reconsider using the ‘old” catechism or parts of it.

HAPPY EASTER everyone

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2022

 

 

 

 

 


You cannot claim to be Catholic if you do not believe in the Mass and Holy Eucharist

Catholic Mass                                                                                     en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

What follows are quotes about the Catholic Mass. It would be best if you remembered that only within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can the Holy Eucharist become present. That happens by the actions of ONLY an ordained Catholic priest. It is he who stands in the shoes of Christ (in persona Christi) and says the words of consecration over the bread and wine, giving us Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

 

                   A FEW WORDS FROM SOME GREAT SAINTS ABOUT HOLY MASS

The following quotes are from some of the greatest Catholic Saints who ever lived. These quotes are about the Mass in which the Holy Eucharist becomes the REAL PRESENCE.

When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.”  St. John Chrysostom 347-407 A.D.

“If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy.” –  St. John Vianney 1786-1859

The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass.” – St.Augustine of Hippo 354-430 A.D.

It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” – St. Padre Pio 1887-1968

“The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” – St. Gregory the Great 540-604 A.D.

“How happy is that guardian angel who accompanies a soul to Holy Mass!” – St. John Vianney 1786-1859

“I believe that were it not for the Holy Mass, as of this moment, the world would be in the abyss.” St. Leonard of Port Maurice  1676-1751

And from Pope St. John Paul II  1920-2005

From this moment on, live the Eucharist fully; be persons for whom the Holy Mass, Communion, and Eucharistic adoration are the center and summit of your whole life.”  

Let us thank God daily for the Holy Mass and the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist!

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2021

 


Don Ruggero M. Caputo –Apostle of the Eucharist–Recognized for “Heroic Virtue

Adoration Monstarnce no Flash                                                public domain

By Larry Peterson

He now bears the title of Venerable

Ruggero (Roger) Maria Caputo was born on May 1, 1907, in Barletta, Italy, located in the Italian peninsula’s southeastern section. He was born into a humble family with strong moral and religious principles. During his childhood and into his adolescence, he was fortunate to come under the guidance of Don Angelo Dimiccoli, a priest who loved his faith deeply.  Don Angelo had the ability to instill in his young students a strong desire to follow Jesus.. (Father Angelo would become Servant of God Archbishop Angelo Dimiccoli).

Father Angelo’s influence on Ruggero was quite powerful. When Ruggero was nineteen, he felt the call to the priesthood pulling at him. But he had left school in third grade to work in the fields. He now wanted to enter the seminary, but his education was almost non-existent. So he left his work behind him and found himself attending school sitting among third graders. He was determined to do what was necessary to become a priest. He wanted nothing less than to serve his Lord.

He studied hard to qualify for the Pontifical Regional Seminary so he could receive his high school education and move on to his theological studies. He worked intently and even had to squeeze in a year of military service for the province of Chieti. Ruggero never wavered in his quest, and on July 25, 1937, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Barletta.

He was a simple and humble man content with being a shepherd

Don (Father) Caputo began his ministry serving an ongoing role as assistant pastor at many parishes. He was a simple and humble man and never aspired to high office. He was content with doing his work as a shepherd spreading devotion and love for God, and continually working to save souls.

During Don Ruggero’s lifetime, his deep love for God spread out to inspire at least a dozen vocations to the priesthood and over 150 women religious vocations. At the same time, he organized several lay apostolates for teens and young adults. His influence and success in fostering vocations came from his daily devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Next to his love for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he loved Eucharistic Adoration. He spent as much time as he could in front of Jesus.

“He was a soul in love with the Blessed Sacrament.”

One of the women inspired by Don Ruggero to become a nun was quoted as saying, “Don Ruggero was a soul in love with the Blessed sacrament. We girls, if we needed his help, went to church to find him behind the column on his knees, on the ground, in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, absorbed in deep, silent, and mystical Eucharistic conversation. Here was the strength, the energy that he gave to us. This is what he put in our veins; to be all for Jesus.”

On July 1,1951, Don Ruggero Caputo was transferred as an assistant pastor to the Holy Spirit parish. This was the beginning of his moving from parish to parish because his superiors were alarmed at the notoriety Don Ruggero was receiving. The youth loved him and flocked to him, and his success with conversions had lit a fire of jealousy among the higher-ups. They were hoping to quiet the unexpected phenomenon.

“He forgave and consoled more than your own father—”

However, the more he was seen and the more women that heard him speak, the more his following increased. Sister Maria  Antonina said, “as soon as you approached him, you realized that he really loved Jesus and you.” Sister Antonia Distaso said, “He forgave and consoled more than your own father, even when he encountered opposition.”

Towards the end of his life, he was hospitalized with a painful illness that kept him bedridden. One of the nuns who was caring for him quoted Don Ruggero as saying, “Now I have to do my part. As St. Paul says, “I complete in my flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, in favor of His body which is the Church.”

Before dying, he said, “You will bury me underground among the people. Because even after I die, I want to stay a priest to the people.” Don Ruggero Caputo passed away on June 15, 1980.

On January 21, 2021, Pope Francis confirmed the “heroic virtues” of Servant of God Ruggero Maria Caputo. He now bears the title of Venerable, and his cause for beatification is moving forward.

copyright©LarryPeterson 2021


The Last Supper–Jesus Christ, the God-Man, gives us the Heavenly Trifecta

Last Supper                        public domain

By Larry Peterson

Easter Sunday is fast approaching. That glorious day is the focal point of our faith. It is the day that all of us who have followed the Christmas Star have been preparing for. The day of our passing is our personal Easter. It has been promised to us if we lived as asked. On that day, it will not be the morning sun blinding us. We will be looking into a light brighter than the sun, and we will not squint or turn away. The light will be the Risen Christ as He welcomes us home. But we must always remember there can be no Resurrection without the Cross. We all must experience them both.

Lenten Mass Readings—A definite purpose

The Lenten readings for Mass on March 4 seem to sum up where our earthly life is taking us. As God’s children, we all make our choices. Some will take one path and some another. The first reading is from Jeremiah 17:5-10  (these are partial) “Thus says the Lord, cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose  heart turns away from the Lord—

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord, He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream–its leaves stay green–

I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merits of his deeds.

These words are followed by the Responsorial Psalm; “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”

Next is the Gospel. It is from Luke 16:19-31. This is the Gospel that tells the story of the rich man who sits at his table dressed in the finest clothes and eating the best food. Lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, who would have gladly eaten the scraps that fell from the man’s table. He was such a mess that dogs came to him to lick his sores.

When the poor man died, he was taken into the bosom of Abraham. Not because he was poor but because he was kind. When the rich man died, he was not allowed into that place. He begs Abraham to allow Lazarus to dip his finger in some water to touch his parched tongue. His request is denied, and then he asks if he could allow his family to be told how things are? Abraham tells him, “if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

That Mass and those readings were used precisely thirty days before Easter Sunday, which is April 4. This sets the table for the remainder of our Lenten Journey. There are thirty Collects, Epistles, Psalm readings, and Gospels between those two days. They all take us to Easter Sunday. And what is the most profound and deeply mystical thing that takes place as we complete our Lenten journey? Is it not the Last Supper?

Imagining the Last Supper

Have you ever imagined how the Last Supper was? These were thirteen men traveling around Galilee, sleeping under trees or in caves or wherever they may have been invited to stay. There were no showers or laundromats, so they must have smelled pretty bad. Now they all gather in a second-floor room in a building with no amenities to have a Passover dinner. It must have been something. And where did they cook the lamb?

None of that is important. What is important, what is profound, what is mystical and miraculous is what really happened at this Passover celebration. This is the moment in time, a moment carved into eternity, that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, gives us the Holy Eucharist. How? He is God and He takes on the role of the first Priest.  He gives us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Holy Orders. We, His people, have hit the Heavenly Trifecta. The Mass, The Holy Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Holy Orders all initiated at the same time, in the same place—in perpetuity—-forever.

Something deeply spiritual happens during the Catholic Mass that even many Catholics do not understand.   The Mass commemorates the night when Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist giving us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity forever. He did this within the framework of what we call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

We must have the Mass to have the Eucharist. They are inseparable for it is within the Mass that the ordained Catholic priest can consecrate simple bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Make no mistake, my friends, this is not a “remembrance” or a “memorial” or a “tribute.” It is the unbloody sacrifice of the Cross being offered again and again and again to God the Father for all of us, for all time, in perpetuity.

 

The True Presence

 

Our Catholic faith teaches us that Christ is TRULY PRESENT on the altar at Mass. These words are from the Roman canon: “we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation”. Christ is with us, and we, the people, are offering Him to God the Father. Our reward is the Risen Christ given back to us in The Eucharist by our Father in heaven. This is The Mystery of Faith , and this is what we believe. I know this is what I believe.

 

The meaning of this is beyond the pale. It transcends human comprehension. For this was when yesterday became today and tomorrow became yesterday. The Mass enables us to briefly step into eternity and to take a peek at the life within the Holy Trinity and the love being shared inside it. This Holy Sacrifice is being offered somewhere on planet Earth every day, around the clock. Imagine that, somewhere, every day, around the clock. It is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. (Even during the pandemic, priests are offering Mass every day, all around the world, even if they were alone without laity in attendance).

 

I wrote this many years ago and I would like to share it with you.

 

The Answer

By Larry Peterson


Every minute somewhere

Upon this Earth

Amid chaos and pain

Shadowed by greed and pride

Perfection.


While within so many

Silent screams resonate

And fade unheard

Pain unanswered

Yet each minute

A constant Light

Always there for us to share

Somewhere—The Answer

 

But—choices

Perfection unbridled

That tells us why

And will let us understand

If we choose to see

this splendid Oblation

A perfect purity

This gift called The Mass


Ignored yet

Somewhere each minute

For us to share

The Answer there

The Perfect Love

But—choices.

 

The focus of life’s journey is preparation for our transition to and participation in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When our Easter morning arrives, and we sing out, “Alleluia, Alleluia! Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again,” that is what will happen. Eternal life with the Risen Christ becomes ours. All we have to do is follow Him. If you do not know how or where to start, The Answer you are looking for is right here, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

HAPPY EASTER


Loneliness in America—A Growing and Deadly Epidemic spurred on by the Covid-19 Pandemic; where is God in all of this?

LONELINESS                                                                                                                        cs.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Larry Peterson

I have learned that loneliness has no boundaries. It stretches out its tentacles and wraps them around those who may have lost a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, or even a dear friend. I have been widowed twice and know full well how loneliness can create a desolate place in the widowed equation.

Loneliness holds no prejudice. It randomly chooses those it has decided to torment, and once it does, it attacks mercilessly. Its victims include people from every conceivable walk of life,  especially the unsuspecting. Many times the dull ring of the phone or a knock at the door is all it takes to hurl someone into the pit of loneliness. It can attack anyone at any time, and it has become a social condition of almost epidemic proportions.

Incredibly, during early March of 2020, loneliness was gifted with a new victim to feast on: it extended its ravenous appetite into the pandemic known as COVID-19, aka the coronavirus.  Loneliness and the pandemic joined forces with “experts” and began to ravage thousands upon thousands of people with loneliness, especially senior citizens.  One way was to take away their chairs and sofas. Let me explain.

I have been bringing Holy Communion to the homebound on Sundays for over twenty years. It may be the most uplifting thing I do, and I know I have been spiritually rewarded many times over. It was early March when I confronted a new wrinkle among my visits. I have one lady, Virginia (she is 98), who resides in an apartment which is part of a  single person, independent living facility. It is a reasonably long walk from the parking lot to the building entrance. Once there, you use a keypad to gain access. I scroll to Virginia’s name and get her on the speaker. She buzzes me in.

As the sliding doors open, I stop short. No one is there. Every Sunday, there are four or five, maybe six, people in the lobby sitting around chatting and just visiting with each other. They know my name, and I always get a friendly welcome from them.  We exchange a few pleasantries (I usually joke about something), and then I go on my way.

But this Sunday, the lobby was empty. I just stood there because it took me a few seconds to realize that the furniture was gone. There was no sofa, or chairs, or coffee table. Management had decided that “protecting” the residents against COVID-19 was of prime concern. So they had the furniture removed. That simple decision changed the lives of the half dozen people I knew in ways management could not have imagined. It also changed the lives of many others, of whom I was not aware. Management’s action was successful; with no place to sit, the tenants remained in their small apartments—ALONE.

The situation impacted me deeply. I have been visiting the sick and homebound for a long time, and they do not ask for much. However, in their low profile,  quiet world, they look forward to sitting together (if possible) and just talking about whatever it is they talk about. My visit is a big deal for them. I see each of my folks from maybe ten minutes up to thirty minutes, depending upon how much “chatting” is needed. I may be the only visitor they see all week. Yet my visit buoys them up for my next visit, which is a week away.  The folks that gather in the lobby every week are non-Catholic and do not receive Communion. But I do get to say a short prayer with them, and they like my doing it. So do I.

But on this Sunday morning in March of the year 2020, things changed in a way no one could have ever imagined.  The powers that be decided we should be isolated from each other.  They want us to avoid each other, not touch each other, and become individual entities. But we are social beings and like it or not; we need each other. We need to touch and hold and shake hands and hug, especially among family and friends. Mandated loneliness could prove to be, in some cases, more deadly than the actual virus.

The headline for this piece used the word epidemic in referring to loneliness. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the loneliness factor, not just in America, but around the world. Cigna referenced a ‘Loneliness Index,” which shows how loneliness is an actual epidemic in the United States. This worldwide health service company used the UCLA Loneliness Scale (yes, there is a loneliness scale) in a questionnaire used to determine a person’s social isolation and their subjective feelings. What follows is from their report of May 1, 2018.  

  • 47 percent of Americans sometimes or always feel alone
  • 27 percent of Americans feel no one understands them
  • 40 percent think that their relationships have no meaning and feel isolated
  • 20 percent feel they feel close to no one and have no one to talk to
  • AMAZINGLY—the Generation Z people (18 to 22) are the loneliest generation. How scary is that?
  • Social Media users have a 43.5 percent loneliness factor which was comparable to the 41.7 percent for those who do not use social media.

If we think about the actual numbers, these percentages refer to it is mind-boggling. In a nation of almost 330,000,000 people, 20 percent is 66.000,000 of us. When we say 47 percent, we are almost at 150,000,000 people. How can close to half the population of the United States of America, feel alone? How can 66,000,000 people feel close to no one or have no one to talk to? And all of this is prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and its forced isolation.

Over the past 25 years, there is a 58 percent drop in attendance at club meetings, a 43 percent drop in family dinners, and a 35% drop in having friends over. Children have regulated play-time while deprived of social development. We reach in our pockets and pull out electronic devices that allow us to instantly reach each other day or night anywhere in the world, but how many of us are talking to each other. This behavior is fertilizing the seeds of future loneliness.

Is our primary mode of communication now email? How many young people can even write a letter or address an envelope? Job applicants interview over the phone or skype, couples break up via text message. Families are also having birthday parties for a loved one on ZOOM. Is this a GOOD thing?  Where is the hugging, the handshaking, the cheek kissing, the eye contact? We need that—it is who we are. Are we teaching the younger generation how to be lonely? How many families are holding hands as they thank God for the food they are about to eat, together, as a family?

Loneliness is brought upon us by things we have no control over, such as death, injury, accidents, and natural disasters. This, we understand, because this makes sense. Why are so many, especially among the young, feeling so alone with no one to turn to? This must count as one of the saddest commentaries of our era. This does NOT make sense.

The remedy may be right in our face, but the secular world will never factor it in. You see, nowhere is the name of God mentioned in these findings. In fact, nowhere is the importance of the  God-based, family even considered.

Regarding our faith, often called the One, True Faith, we have this incredible gift of The Holy Eucharist. Our core teaching is that Transubstantiation occurs when the priest says the words of consecration over the bread and wine during the celebration of Holy Mass. The bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ Himself. It is NOT symbolic. Yet 70% of professed Catholics reject this dogmatic teaching. This leads back to the loneliness factor.

We have this beautiful tradition of having Eucharistic Adoration.  Christ, truly present in the consecrated Host, is placed in a monstrance and put on the altar. We believers can come and visit with Him, sit with Him, talk to Him, even simply just look at Him. On First Fridays, we have all night Adoration at my parish, which ends with  8 am. Mass on Saturday morning.

During the night, there will be those of us who will come and sit with the Christ present in the Eucharist, and just “hang out” with Him. For you lonely Catholics who do not believe, you are missing so much. You do not need to be alone. Jesus is there for you—and for all of us—all the time. If you are feeling lonely, why not call your local parish and ask them when they have Adoration. Then go over and sit with Jesus. You will not be alone.

Getting back to God and family would be akin to putting the lynchpin back into the hub of life. Then, people, kids included, might be taught that they can turn to Jesus and think of His words from Matthew 28:20   And behold, I am with you always, until the end of this age.

Interestingly, the first three words of the Bible are; “In the beginning—” Could the Bible or an app for the Bible be the beginning for someone to believe that they are NEVER alone?

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

Copyright©LarryPeterson 2020

 


The Catholic Church—Saying “NO” to a World Screaming “YES”

St. Peter’s Balcony; Vatican pixabay

By Larry Peterson

How did the precepts of ethics and morality, based on the Ten Commandments and the “Golden Rule”, become a pariah to so many? How did these principles ever become inverted?  Why have they seemingly been tossed by many into the dumpster of the outdated and irrelevant?

There is one critical aspect that drives this onslaught, and I think we do not pay close enough attention to it. Those that are flailing away at our religious heritage and freedoms are not committing these attacks on their own. They have a brilliant, diabolical, hate-consumed leader inspiring them onward. Their leader’s name is Satan, and he is the lover of evil and the master of deceit and deception.

I believe we do not pay enough attention to God’s first creation, the angels. These were the spirit beings that God created, endowing them with knowledge, abounding love, and happiness. They lacked nothing and were to spend eternity in the presence of their Creator, the Triune God.  But God, as he did to His human creations, had given the angels free will.

Unlike humankind, the angels had one choice to make. They could return the love given to them back to God or refuse. Some, led by Lucifer, the greatest of angels, turned on God believing Lucifer’s prideful boast that they could become like God.  This choice caused the creation of Hell, and the newly “fallen angels” became Hell’s permanent residents.

This takes us to knowing and believing that which comes from 1 John 4:16,  “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is Love, and whoever remains in Love remains in God and God in Him.” Satan and his followers are consumed with anti-love, commonly called hate. And their biggest and most hated enemy after Jesus Christ is the church that Jesus founded, the Catholic Church.

Satan’s hatred for the true Church of Christ is unimaginable. It fills him and his minions with an inconceivable rage, a force so powerful if we could hear the sound it makes we would turn instantly deaf as our ear drums start exploding.  But, no matter how fierce and intense the onslaught, Holy Mother Church still spits in his evil eye and says NO!

Over the centuries, the Church has withstood Satan’s evil attacks even when they came from within. It also rejects today’s “liberation theology,” the perverse philosophy that suggests, “Jesus wants you to be happy, so just enjoy yourself.” The fact is, Jesus wants us to be happy with him in heaven. God’s creation, Mother Earth, is the testing grounds where we can earn the “right’ to join Him there. While we live out our lives on earth, we do not get to decide what that right might be. We have the commandments, the Magisterium, and the Tradition of the Church to guide us on our life’s journey. As did the fallen angels, we get the right to choose whether to follow or not

The Church has teachings that have been in place for two thousand years. But secularists maintain that the Church has “nerve and audacity” to use the words, SIN, and MORALITY. In today’s self-indulged, secular world, it seems anyone who might suggest that a particular behavior is “immoral” or “sinful” is branded and vilified as intolerant, hateful, racist and even uncaring. How pompous and pride filled this is. Only the new age secularists would have the audacity to suggest that their reversed “virtue” is GOOD and the concept of self-denial is SINFUL.

My favorite comic book character was, Superman. Occasionally, Superman would get stuck in an alternative universe called “Bizarro World”. It was a place where everything was backwards. Up was down, hello meant good-bye and yes meant no. Even the planet, Htrae, (Earth backwards), was shaped like a cube. It is the same with the folly of reversed secular virtue. I call this world “Novis,” which is Latin for the word “reverse.”

On Novis, killing is “Good” and if you stand against it you are evil. For instance, take abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and partial-birth abortion. The Church says NO! On Novis, the Church is now bad. Fornication and people “hooking up” for one-night stands is heralded as “Good”. The Church says NO!  On Novis the Church is told to mind its own business. Divorced and remarried Catholics want to receive the Holy Eucharist. The Church, as it always has done, says NO!  On Novis, the Church is called intolerant. On Novis, if it makes you “happy”, ENJOY!

In this new world, the Church is deemed intolerant and insensitive and is out of touch with the “times” and needs to get into the 21st century. Homosexuals demand to be married in the Church. The Church says NO!  Marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY. Satan screams from his evil world to his followers, Say “YES! YES! YES!” Holy Mother Church says “NO!” In the alternative universe, the Catholic Church is evil.

On Novis the Novitians unwittingly listen to Satan’s message and pound on the dogmatic doors of the Catholic Church. They demand that they be opened to personal wants and desires. Unlike Bizarro World, where things are just ‘crazy’ on Novis, things are mean and vindictive. Novis is ruled by hate. Satan is Hate.

There are other Christian denominations that have succumbed to outside pressures and reworked their “teachings” to accommodate the demands from the people of Novis. They have been praised as “progressive” and “in touch” with the needs of the citizens of Novis. The reality is, they have failed their followers. But the Catholic Church has not caved into the demands and pressures and it never will. We all know that there re those within the church who would dare to destroy it. They have cast their lot with the unholy one who hates anything Catholic in unimaginable ways.

The Catholic Church still teaches that there are Seven Deadly Sins. They are pride, greed,  lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth aka laziness. Note the key word in describing these sins is the word “deadly”. The Church teaches that these sins can destroy the soul of anyone who might indulge these human appetites. The Church also offers forgiveness for falling prey to these sins. This forgiveness is available 24/7.

On the reverse world of Novis, the Church is mocked and laughed at for suggesting these actions offend God. These acts are acceptable because an individual committing one of these sins is just being human and God made us that way and wants us to be “happy”. So–sin away. Just remember, if you subscribe to that concept the victory in the fight for your soul goes to Satan.

Both the clergy and the laity need to be more protective of the faith we love. Many worry about being “PC” and not offending anyone.  We might start by going to St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. Chapter 6: 16-17.

In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,

To quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit,

which is the word of God.

copyright© Larry Peterson 2020


Satan tried to give us The Darkest Sunday Ever —Once again He Failed Miserably

St. Joseph Calasanz–Patron of Catholic Schools                 public domain

By Larry Peterson

It is Sunday morning, March 22, 2020. What follows is simply this man pondering a  morning that he never in a million years could have imagined happening. It is a Sunday morning without Mass. Yes, the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is nowhere to be found. Nowhere in my town, my county, my state, or my country is Mass being offered. Or is this just more “fake news?”

This unimagined directive was ordered by each of the Bishops and Archbishops and Cardinals, who oversee the 177 dioceses that occupy the entire United States of America. They did it to save us from a virus, known as COVID-19.  They were worried about us getting sick and were trying to protect us.

So today, Sunday, March 22, 2020, as the secular world rejoices, its best friend and biggest cheerleader, Satan, does not. He outsmarted himself. The Master of Darkness simply used the smallest weapon in his arsenal to halt the thing he hates more than anything else on this planet,  Christ present in the Holy Eucharist.  He used a virus; tiny, invisible, yet deadlier than the dreaded AK-47. But he failed because hate gets you nothing but more hate, and that is what Satan once again achieved, stuffing more hatred into his blackened spirit.

You see, Satan, shrouded in his hate-consumed black spirituality, forgot one thing; he forgot about the Catholic Priesthood. He may have been influential in having the churches close down, but he was unable to stop the celebration of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ’s thousands of ordained priests will still be celebrating Mass in the churches.

Along with a few attendees to assist, the Most Holy Sacrifice will go on in individual parishes all over the United States and throughout the world. The faithful Catholics that attend Sunday Mass will not be present. They may be watching the Mass live-streamed or on TV. It will not be the same for them. They will be unable to receive Christ in the Eucharist. Maybe it is good for the laity to be deprived of this great gift anyway. A few weeks being told “NO” may help many of us appreciate a bit more what a great gift this is.

We must remember that the primary purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to continue offering  Himself to His Father, in heaven, for all of us here who are sinners. Calvary lives on in perpetuity through the power of the Holy Priesthood and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  The priest stands in the shoes of Christ and changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself. Upon completion of the consecration, God’s angels escort the precious Gifts to God the Father Who, after accepting them, asks the Holy Spirit to give the now Risen Christ back to all of us  as His great gift of Salvation. We  are then able to receive HIM within our very selves, sharing in the life of God.     (See Eucharistic Prayer #1 The Roman Canon).

We should not worry because, on this day, March 22, 2020, there are still Masses being offered all around the world. We also might remember that a Mass being offered by a missionary alone in a cave in some faraway place has the same intrinsic value as the Holy Father offering a Mass St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter Sunday. Satan tried again and once more, failed to stifle the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He will never quit trying. He will always fail. But we all must always be vigilant because Satan and his minions never rest.

From the Roman Canon:

With deep reverence we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be carried by the hands of your holy angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty. And for all who will receive the most holy body and blood of your Son in this communion at the altar, let them be filled with all the blessings and gifts of heaven. (Through Christ our Lord, Amen.)

copyright ©Larry Peterson 2020


The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is embodied in the Mass: The two are inseparable and it is an ongoing Miracle that is always occurring

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist                    public domain

By Larry Peterson

The United States has a population of close to 330 million people. Of those, there are more than 74 million people who claim to be Catholic. 70 million are registered (signed in with a parish as members). That means that Catholics comprise more than 22% of the entire population of the USA. Approximately 38% of the 70 million attend weekly Mass (roughly 26.5 million).

Of those claiming to be Catholic, many do not practice their faith, and among the millions who do attend weekly Mass, many do not even believe in one of its most fundamental teachings. This teaching is known as the Real Presence. The Real Presence means that Jesus Christ becomes truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine, on the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (note the word—Sacrifice). Pew Research did a recent survey and found that 7 out of 10 people who say they are Catholic do not believe this.

That finding is hard enough to comprehend, but this is the one that seems hardest to fathom; of those Catholics who attend Mass once a week, 63% know the church’s teaching, but 14% of those attending  do NOT believe it, and 23% say they “do not know of it.” That means that 37% of those going to Mass has no clue what is going on. Why are they coming to Mass? What’s the point?  Why not just go to a revival meeting in a tent? What happened to all the “believers?”

We must have the Mass to have the Eucharist. They are inseparable for it is within the Mass that the ordained Catholic priest can consecrate simple bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Make no mistake, my friends, this is not a “remembrance” or a “memorial” or a “tribute.” This is the unbloody Sacrifice of the Cross being offered again and again and again to God the Father for all of us, for all time, in perpetuity.

Something deeply mystical happens during the Catholic Mass that many Catholics do not seem to even be aware of, no less understand. When the Catholic priest bends forward over the bread and wine and says the words of consecration, “This is My Body—This is My Blood”  the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

From the catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1376) “—this holy Council (The Council of Trent  1545-1563) now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called Transubstantiation.”  

The Last Supper was the very first Mass celebrated, and it was offered by Christ Himself. Jesus instituted the priesthood at this moment in time, and the Apostles became the first priests (Judas had already left). This was when Jesus empowered them to do as He did.

Our Catholic faith teaches us that Christ is TRULY PRESENT on the altar at Mass. Pick up your missalettes in church and go to the Roman canon. See the wording after the consecration:

“—we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.—“

“—In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel; to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty,So that all of us, who through this participation at the altar Receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, May be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen

 Christ is with us, and we, the people, are offering Him to God the Father. Our reward is the Risen Christ given back to us in the Eucharist by our Father in heaven. This is the Mystery of Faith, and this is what we believe (or are supposed to believe). I know this is what I believe.

The meaning of this is beyond the pale. It transcends human comprehension. This is when yesterday becomes today, and tomorrow became yesterday. The Mass enables us to briefly step into the “eternal now” and to take a peek at the life within the Holy Trinity and the love being shared inside it. And never forget that this Holy Sacrifice is being offered somewhere on the planet every day of the year, round the clock. Imagine that, somewhere, every day, round the clock. It is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

It is time for the clergy to lead us all forward in an ongoing offensive bombarding their worldwide flock with the truth of the Holy Eucharist. Then it is up to the laity to carry this fact forward. It is fundamental to the Catholic faith, and somehow, somewhere, this miraculous truth has been cast aside. Maybe a different kind of Resurrection is now needed, the Resurrection of Christ in the Eucharist.  (See tangible proof at this link  Eucharistic Miracles)

CHOICES

Perfection unbridled
That tells us why
And will let us understand
If we choose to see
this splendid Oblation
A perfect purity
This gift called
The Mass Ignored yet
Somewhere each minute
For us to share
The Answer there
The Perfect Love
But—choices.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019