October 28, 2009

Wherein H1N1 Reveals and I Rant

I'll develop this post more later, but I have to go preach to kids in a few minutes. I don't want to risk taking anything out on them, so I just have to get something posted now because I'm so upset.

I've had several conversations with folks lately regarding their concerns about Holy Communion and the H1N1 virus. The conversation starts like this:

"Father, I have concerns about the flu. When are we going to stop giving out the wine?"

To which I immediately respond, "We don't give out wine."

"But Father...the wine is given out at every Mass!"

Then I go for it: "Perhaps you mean to say that we minister the Precious Blood at each Mass?"

Having pointed out the telling error, I usually get a response like, "Ok, you know what you mean," or even a "whatever" from otherwise observant Catholics!

No, I don't think I know what you mean. No, not whatever! Do we really believe that this is not wine but the Precious Blood of Christ poured out from the Cross in the ratification of the New and Eternal Covenant?

Stop wondering why people don't come to church. Here's your answer. Catholics have ceased to believe in the Real Presence. I wouldn't bother either. Even more disturbing, most of the people with whom I have had this conversation have been older Catholics who were taught better. Who has untaught them the doctrine of the faith? Who?

And woe to us friars too! This is why we forsake our own chapel where we might pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and with images of the Capuchin saints on the windows to recite our office around a fake fireplace. It is an intense privilege to live under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament! People go out of their way to pray in the Presence! But for us it is 'too far away' even though it's the same building!

Who has untaught us the faith?

< /rant >

Extra credit to someone who caught the Merton quote.


Unknown said...

I don't remember who said it, but to the effect that if we truly believed in Jesus' Real Presence in this sacrament, we would crawl on broken glass (and H1N1) to get there.
"I believe, help my unbelief."

Adoro said...

Well said! *applause*

People DON'T believe! And we sing "hymns" at Mass that call it "bread and wine"...not what it IS!

Of COURSE they leave the Catholic Church to go to the emotional mega-church down the road...because if the Blessed Sacrament is just a piece of bread, and the wine is just wine, what DIFFERENCE does it make where you go to worship?

I'm frustrated, too. I heard the same thing. All the time. :-(

Oh, and Father, the same people who ask you that question don't understand why the Sign of Peace is "optional" and can be removed. But they want to remove the Holy Water from the fonts to prevent the spread of disease...yet still cough into their hands and then shake with people around them.

OK, sorry, that's MY rant...

Brother Charles said...

No trouble, Adoro. Ranting is always for sharing.

Julia said...

Good rant, Father!

I had to remind my mother of this just this morning.

"It is an intense privilege to live under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament!"

As weird as it may sound, this was the first thing that drew me to consider religious life. :)

A Bit of the Blarney said...

I have to agree with Karinann. If we all believed in the Real Presence "we would crawl on broken glass to get there." It seems the reverence for the Blood or Christ was also missed in the teaching. People seldom reverence the cup that holds the blood of Christ. They walk by it, as if ignoring it would deny it is present. It's like walking by a beggar and supposing that ignoring him makes him invisible. Oh, not so! H1N1 is not the disease here.

Thank you for this post! Cathy

pennyante said...

If I didn't believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, I would not bother being a Catholic.

Tom said...

Rant but continue to witness! We are sowers of the seed by word and deed and hopefully, by God's grace, if we give good example of reverence it will have an effect.

pennyante said...

BTW, one reason old folks like me might not find it easy to speak of the Precious Blood, was because we were NOT exposed to it. Only the priest drank from the chalice. We never saw the Precious Blood. Our Communion (with the Lord) was only through the consecrated Bread. This was even though we were taught that the wine became the Precious Blood. The consecrated Host was both Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

for narnia said...

this is a great post, Fr. C! i agree with a lot of what has been said by you and the others who have commented, too. more people would come out for adoration, too, if they truly understood the real and true presence of Jesus. PEACE! ~tara t~

Viator Catholicus said...

I sympathize with your rant. But, I'd like to make an observation.
At the coffee hour, after the extraordinary form Mass I sometimes attend, I've never heard the Precious Blood referred to as "wine." It is at this Mass that we receive the Body, Blood, soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread while on bended knee with a communion plate under the chin lest a particle of our Lord's Body fall to the ground.
At the ordinary form Mass I sometimes attend and the Chalice is offered, we seem to rush forward in a constantly moving line with barely a moment to make a reverence. Some people receive on the tongue, some revrently on the hand, and others try to snatch the Host away from the priest as if he's giving out candy. After Mass at gatherings, I've heard people from this Mass wonder, "Why doesn't Father give out the wine in little disposable cups," to prevent the spread of germs. Others piously but erroneous believe that a miracle will prevent the spread of germs when their lips touch the chalice.

Errors of faith about the Eucharist have a basis in poor catechesis. But, as someone else pointed out, heretical hymns are chosen. (Even at one of the Pope's Mass in the US, I remember hearing, "Let us break bread together on our knees.") Finally, we must re-examine the liturgical practice of the ordinary form which does not seem to bespeak the devotion due to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Adoro's rant. Look at the lyrics of many of the contemporary hymns we now sing (e.g, "eat this bread, drink this cup"). I am coming to believe that it is called the Ordinary Form of the Mass because it is just that ... ordinary. I scan the hymnal we use at Church and, while there are some of the traditional hymns, the vast majority are the vapid contemporary tunes that are now so prevalent today. Now, when we are inflicted with "We are Called' or "City of God" almost every other Sunday, I close the missalette and stand silently. I can honestly but sadly say say that more of than than not I do not feel the real presence of God at Mass.

Julia said...

I agree that there is a sad lack of reverence, orthodoxy, and catechesis today; however, there are some very reverent, mystical, and beautiful Masses celebrated in the Ordinary Form. Masses said by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate come to mind.

The Ordinary Form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is in no way "ordinary," if by ordinary you mean unremarkable or something similar.