Last Saturday, we celebrated a day of Eucharistic Revival with our “Inspiring Presence” event at Bishop Noll Institute. The Holy Spirit was truly in our midst throughout the day, and I am confident the Lord will bring much fruit from this day of renewal.
One means that the Lord can use to revive our faith and participation in the Eucharist is to join our own lives more fully to the sacrifice offered at Mass. The sacrifice offered is the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. Yet, we are given the amazing privilege of joining our own sacrifices to that one sacrifice.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes how we can offer ourselves in sacrifice at the Mass:
The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church, which is the Body of Christ, participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering. (CCC 1368)
I find great comfort in the truth that we can offer our lives to the Lord along with the offering of Jesus. The Catechism refers not only to the offering of praise and prayer, but also included in our offering are our lives, our work, and our sufferings. This means that whatever is troubling you, whatever suffering and labors you are currently enduring, can be turned over to the Lord.
We can pray, “Lord, these are difficult days full of suffering – and I join this suffering to your holy sacrifice in the Eucharist.
“Lord, let my work today be offered up with your sacrifice made present on the altar.” When we do this, those offerings “acquire a new value.” (CCC 1368)
Sometimes in my own prayer, a situation that is troubling or difficult will come to mind, perhaps a person in need or a situation that is causing suffering. I then envision placing those persons and situations on the altar. That results in an experience of great peace as I know these are not just my sufferings or those of other individuals, but they are joined to Jesus. He is in charge and His love can penetrate any situation. My offerings, so meager compared to His, can nonetheless be joined to His and acquire a great value.
At the same time, this offering means that all generations of Christians may be united. What an amazing concept – we are joined with all the Christians over the ages. Let’s fully enter this season of Eucharistic revival by joining our entire lives with the Eucharistic sacrifice. In doing so, our lives will acquire a deeper meaning and value as we are united with the offering of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary