How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 25

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 4 – Confess – Part 1

If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

— ROMANS 1 0 : 9

One night when a group of believers had gathered to pray in a country where such a gathering was forbidden by law, a cry went out when two soldiers burst through the doors. They yelled out that they would give anyone in the room a chance to leave before arresting those who refused to do so.A few of the gathered immediately bolted out of the room.

As soon as they left,the soldiers closed the doors and said,“We are believers too, but we couldn’t trust those who were not ready to be arrested for their faith.”Putting down their guns,they joined the others in prayer.

When you and I hear the word confess we are apt to think of it in terms of our sins, but the word also means to acknowledge one’s belief.The two meanings, when it comes to Christianity,are very related. What we consider to be sinful has a lot to do with how much we really believe in God.

People throw their beliefs about God around quite freely these days,usually prefaced by “Oh,I don’t think God cares about that.”

Christians believe that Jesus has revealed God and what God is like to us. Jesus formed a group of disciples around him and told them that God’s spirit would stay with them until the end of time. This group was to hand down his teaching, baptize other followers, forgive sins, and teach all that Jesus, the Son of God, had commanded them to pass on. Peter had a special role in this group.

Jesus revealed the love of God to us by dying for us and leaving us a memorial of his death in the Eucharist.The word memorial had a special meaning for the Jewish people of Jesus’s time. It didn’t mean recalling the past, as it does for us today, but rather it meant making present a past event. Thus, when we come together at the Eucharist, we are present at Calvary and witness once again what God is like through Jesus.

People who die for any cause care a lot. Jesus has revealed to us that God cares a lot! God desires our salvation.

If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, we need to confess: We must confess belief in God, as we do in the Creed, and confess that we are not always the greatest of followers of Jesus.

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How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 24

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 11

F U R T H E R H E L P S

1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Our Lord rebuked the devil saying, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall  worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’”(Matthew 4:10).

When you are tempted to worship anything else, no matter how lofty it might seem, call to mind this incident from Our Lord’s life.

2. Learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary

When the Blessed Virgin Mary was called “Blessed among women” by her cousin Elisabeth she responded with “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:46–47). She pointed to God and worshiped only him.

Following Mary’s example, we should seek to “decrease” in order that God may “increase” as we adore him above all.

3. Foster an Attitude of Adoration

St. Paul told the Thessalonians to Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God

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in Christ Jesus for you”(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).When we foster this attitude our hearts will be focused on adoring God at every moment of our lives.

4. Developing a Eucharistic Spirituality

A concrete way to prefer the love of Christ throughout the day when faced with countless other “loves” is to hear the words Jesus spoke to Peter addressed to yourself: “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

5. A Prayer for Today

Recite this prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila often:

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid.

All things pass away.

God never changes.

Patience obtains everything.

God alone is enough.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 23

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 10

Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the

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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”

— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2

There has been many a winter morning when I was scraping snow and ice from my car when the words of this prayer have come to my lips, often, I must confess, rather sarcastically.

Too often we forget that God has a plan that doesn’t quite match up to ours. If our plans and possessions dominate us, we can become very ungrateful in life and perhaps even feel cursed. Yet if we die to ourselves and adore God, giving thanks to God in all things, even when we are standing in the flames, or freezing in the ice and snow, we’ll find that God has a reason and purpose for everything. As St.Teresa of Ávila said,“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”

H A N K O D H E A D        O F I M E

There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?

Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.

In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.

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Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.

This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.

The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 22

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 22

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 9

R O B L E M S V E R S U S L E S S I N G S

A prayer that is recited by those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours on every major feast day of the Church is an example of the kind of thanksgiving that should be the prayer of all believers. It is called the Benedicite, after the many times that the word “Bless” is used in it. In this case “Bless” is another way of saying “give thanks and praise.” The setting is found in the book of Daniel,where three young men are placed in a fiery furnace,something I’m sure even the most faithful among us would be tempted

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to think of as a “big problem.” As they enter the fiery furnace to what would seem like a certain death,one of them,Azariah,prays:

Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever. For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true and thy ways right, and all thy judgments are truth.Thou hast executed true judgments in all that thou hast brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers, for in truth and justice thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins. For we have sinfully and lawlessly departed from thee, and have sinned in all things and have not obeyed thy commandments; we have not observed them or done them, as thou hast commanded us that it might go well with us.

— DANIEL 3 : 3 – 7

It is a prayer of thanksgiving, sounding very much like a Eucharistic Prayer that is prayed at the Mass we attend.Those trying to exterminate the three men, hearing the prayer, stoke up the flames, and the three pray a prayer that includes the following:

Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the

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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”

— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 21

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 8

ADORING GOD WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

One of my favorite quotes is from the journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: “God, when creating the world, did not solve problems or pose them.He created what He could call ‘very good.’ God created the world, but the devil transformed the world and man and life into a ‘problem.’ ”10 If we want to adore God with praise and thanksgiving we are going to have to learn to stop seeing everything as a “problem” or “interruption” and begin to be open to seeing God’s goodness and interventions even in the most unlikely of places.

Many of the most horrific sins ever committed by human beings happen because people see problems where they should see blessings. If we do not adore God above all, we risk doing horrible things as we serve whatever else we have put in God’s place.

ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH

Human beings are created for the purpose of praising God.The Lord demands nothing else in the same manner that he requires praise and thanksgiving of us.For that reason he made rational beings and distinguished us from animals by our power of speech so that we might praise and glorify him continually.

— S T. J OHN HRYSOSTOM

 

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 20

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 7

B E I N G L O V E D  B Y J E S U S

In Mark 10:21 in the account of the rich young man, Mark tells us that Jesus,“looking upon him loved him, and said to him,‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ ”

Notice that because Christ loves the rich young man,he points out what the young man lacks. It is out of love that Jesus tells him to get rid of all his possessions.

Christ’s love will reveal similar deficiencies in us. Our Lord looks upon us and recognizes what we really need. However, we often come to him with our own ideas about what we need. If we prefer our own ideas to the love of Christ, we too will join the rich young man who walks away sad, “for his possessions were many.” We may possess the world, but without Christ it is nothing!

L O V I N G J E S U S

In John 8:42, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument with those who oppose him. He says to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” We know, therefore, that Jesus is God, and we should prefer nothing to God and his love, which Jesus has revealed to us perfectly.

How do we know if we truly love Our Lord? He addresses this in John 14:23-24: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” We love Our Lord by doing what he commands us to do.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 19

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 6

“ T R U S T I N G  I N O D    I N LL I R C U M S TA N C E S 

When Our Lord spoke about his Second Coming, an event that every celebration of the Eucharist looks forward to and prays for in a joyful manner,he laid out the signs that will precede that coming, and indeed they are all rather horrible — that is, if all your hope is invested in your 401K.Yet notice the contrast between the unbeliever and the believer:

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

— LUKE 2 1 : 2 5 – 2 8 ( EMPHASIS ADDED )

While one crowd is dying of fear because everything seems to be crumbling around them the other crowd, the believers, stand up and look to the heavens. Why?

If we truly place our faith in God,we will trust in him no matter what happens. In fact, the way that we see will be completely different. Jesus referred to unbelievers as blind and believers as those who truly see. Seeing that God is the “one thing needful” keeps us from putting our trust in anything else.

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St. Benedict, in his Rule, counsels those who want to follow Christ “to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”This means that we must love Christ above everything else, and that being loved by Christ must be our first priority in life.

 

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