The Catholic Mass

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

 

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From chapter 1 – Serve. Part 2

H E O R D

Jesus told his followers that when they had done all that had been commanded of them they should say:“We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10).

Our lives often are like a field of weeds with pressing concerns that can seem to take priority, but indeed the weeds are not as powerful as they might seem, and remembering who is Lord, Master, and God can help us put everything into perspective.

LE S S O N S LE A R N ED F RO M A H REE -Y E A R -O L D

Anyone who has a young child has a built-in reminder that coming to the Eucharist requires servitude. Preparations have to be made so that the child will be taken care of during the celebration. Sometimes this means making sure that a child’s prayer or Mass book is in his or her possession. At other times it simply means having tissue for a runny nose or having an extra dose of patience to deal with any outburst that might occur. One thing is certain: any parent who has a young child is already bringing the attitude of a servant to the Eucharist. If I get a little too comfortable in the pew and lean back in the posture of a spectator, my three-year-old will pretty quickly remind me that I’m not there to relax but to serve.

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

— LUKE 9 : 4 8

Having a young child in our midst, whether it is our own or someone else’s in the next pew, is a great reminder to us to humble ourselves, that in serving the child we may serve the Lord himself.

Ash Wednesday is March 6, 2019

Here’s a free book that you can use for daily devotions during Lent, which begins on March 6, 2019.

The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel

Here you may download a free .pdf copy of The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel.

Just click here.

You can read it on Scribd, here,

Also: Michael Dubruiel recorded a series of interviews with KVSS radio based on the book. You can find those interviews here.

Here is a link to the first episode

Understanding the Catholic Mass

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

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I was giving a talk at a Catholic parish in rural Ohio a few years ago about the topic of this book.When I had concluded my presentation someone asked,“Why do people care so little about their faith today?”

I told them of a man, a non-Catholic, I had known who cared little about his faith but attended Mass every week with his Catholic wife because he wanted to make her happy. He did this for years, to the point that several priests tried to convince him that he should convert to the Catholic faith since he had been attending the Eucharist for so many years. He refused.

Then he was diagnosed with bone cancer. His condition deteriorated rapidly. In a few months he went from being robust and strong to bedridden and totally dependent upon others.He called for a priest, who heard his first confession and then offered the Eucharist at his bedside, where he received his First Holy Communion. In the last months of his life, his Catholic faith was all that mattered to him.

This led a woman in the group to recall an incident when a tornado had wiped out her family’s farm and the family had sat huddled together in the storm cellar, praying the Rosary. At that moment their faith had mattered more than anything else in the world to them.

Someone else mentioned that in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on this country he had noticed more people in the Church and more fervency in the way people seemed to pray.

Our faith is a matter of life and death and our faith is totally centered on Jesus Christ.The Scriptures reveal that Jesus did not leave us as orphans but founded a Church. He made the very human apostle Peter the first leader of this Church. He left a memorial of his saving death in the Eucharist and commanded his disciples to perform it.

Getting the most out of the Eucharist is an urgent task, then, because our very life depends upon Christ, and Jesus comes to us in the celebration of his passion, death, and resurrection at every Eucharist. Jesus said that he is the vine and that we are the

branches. In the Eucharist we receive the very life that connects us to Christ the Vine.

Jesus told a parable about what happens when a storm comes that lashes out against our very lives (see Matthew 7:24–27). He said that the wise person builds his house (his life) on solid ground,on rock (the image that he used to speak about his church and Peter). The foolish person builds on sand and is destroyed by the storms of life.

The work of building the foundation on which our lives depend takes place every time we participate in the Eucharist. While I was putting the finishing touches on this book I traveled to Florida, right after Hurricane Frances had made a direct hit near Stuart, Florida. I had been scheduled to give a talk in nearby Palm Beach Gardens two days after the storm had hit.The talk was canceled because the church, St. Patrick’s, was without power, but I had the opportunity to meet with the pastor of the parish, Father Brian Flanagan, and some of the parish staff. In the midst of much devastation what remains vivid in my mind is how peaceful everyone there was. I know Father Brian to be a man whose deep faith is rooted in the Eucharist, and what I experienced in those days immediately following Hurricane Frances was a literal exposition of Jesus’s parable — the storm had come,but because the lives of the people I met were built on solid rock, they were not destroyed.

Isn’t this what we all want, a joy that the world cannot take away, no matter what might happen? Our Lord offers it to us at every Eucharist. It is my hope that this small book will help you to better experience this joy, and to discover the richness the Lord’s Eucharistic presence can add to your life.

How to “Offer it Up”

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

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A  N O T E      O F C A U T I O N

N ow, I want to be clear that what I am proposing in this book is not the “victim-ism” that was sometimes prevalent in the older spirituality of “offering it up.” In every situation we are free to choose how we will respond to an event: we can blame someone else for what is happening, or we can feel powerless and do

nothing. It is my contention that neither of these responses is Christlike.The experience of “offering up” our lives to God needs to be a positive and co-redemptive act.Thankfully, with God’s help we are all capable of freely choosing to respond in this fashion.

Those who promoted the spirituality of “offering it up” in a previous age often quoted St.Paul’s words to the Colossians:“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). In offering our sacrifice at the Eucharist, in the same way that we offer up any suffering we endure in life, we take whatever is negative and turn it into a positive, life-giving force both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. We make up for what is “lacking” for the sake of  “his body,”the Church — that is,ourselves in communion with all Christians with all of our imperfections and all of our failings. “The miracle of the church assembly lies in that it is not the ‘sum’ of the sinful and unworthy people who comprise it, but the body of Christ,” Father Alexander Schmemann remarked.This is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ,taking what appears to be weakness and allowing God to transform it into strength!

Sunday Mass Reflection

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

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T H E  E U C H A R I S T     A S   A  S A C R I F I C E

The solution to this modern dilemma is simple — put Jesus back at the center of the Eucharist and you immediately change all of this. In his encyclical Pope John Paul II says, “In giving his sacrifice to the Church, Christ has also made his own the spiritual sacrifice of the Church, which is called to offer herself in union with the sacrifice of Christ.This is the teaching of the Second Vatican Council concerning all the faithful: ‘Taking part in the Eucharistic Sacrifice,which is the source and summit of the whole Christian life,they offer the divine victim to God,and offer themselves along with it.’ ”2

As we participate in the Eucharist, not only do we participate in Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary but we are called to share in that sacrifice.Just knowing this should change how we view everything that irks us at Mass. Are you:

  • Suffering mental anguish — like a crown of thorns isupon your head?
  • Weighed down by worldly concerns — like the weight ofthe cross is on you?
  • Feeling powerless — like you are nailed to a cross?

If we take away a sacrificial attitude toward the Eucharist, we are likely to fail to see the connection between our lives and what we do at Mass.We are apt to sit in judgment, waiting to be entertained (whether we are conservative or liberal, what we want to see differs but the attitude is the same). When we fail to bring a sacrificial attitude to the Eucharist, our participation seems at times to be modeled more after Herod’s banquet, where Simone’s dance cost the Baptist his head, than after the Last Supper of Our Lord, where there was every indication that partaking in this banquet was likely to cost the disciples their own lives. (Indeed, ten of the twelve were martyred,Judas took his own life,and John survived being boiled alive in a cauldron of oil.)

When was the last time that you celebrated the Eucharist with the thought that you were being asked to “offer yourself” — to give your very life? Chances are,you haven’t thought of it,but you may have experienced it …

  • By thinking “I could be doing something else.”
  • By asking “Why am I here?”

Yet you weren’t doing anything else and you were there — what was missing was the free offering of “your sacrifice,” the choice to offer your suffering along with that of the Passion of Our Lord.

Participation in the Eucharist requires that we die to ourselves and live in Christ. If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, then sacrifice is the key.This is what has been lost on many of us, and if we want to reclaim all the spiritual riches that are available to us we must relearn what it means not only to “offer it up” but indeed to offer ourselves up.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel

The genesis of this book was inspired by a set of talks that Father Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R., gave several years ago in the Diocese of Manchester, NH. At the time while researching material for a project I was working on I came across an advertisement for the talks and found both the title and topic striking. The topic seemed to fit Father Benedict’s lifetime of working among the poor and raising money to help their plight. I approached him, shortly after listening to the tapes and asked him to consider doing a book version. He liked the idea but was reluctant to pursue the project alone due to the shortage of time available to work on it.

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Unwilling to let go of the project, I approached another friend of the poor, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Charleston. I knew that Bishop Baker’s priestly ministry had been devoted to finding Christ in the poor and with a wealth of experience he had in this area that if I could join his thoughts with Fr. Groeschel’ s we would have a book that would be of great benefit to the rest of us. After approaching Bishop Baker with my request he agreed and then Father Benedict agreed to collaborate on this book.

While the Bishop and Father Benedict were working on the written text of the book I came across a stunning work of iconography one day while visiting an Eastern Catholic church. On the back wall of the church was an icon of the Last Judgment taken from Matthew 25. I found that the great iconographer Mila Mina had written the icon. I immediately contacted Mila and asked if the icon might be used as an illustration for this book, her response was “anything to make the Gospel known!” Thanks to Mila and her son Father John Mina for allowing Joyce Duriga and David Renz to photograph the icon at Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, Clairton, PA.

Fr. Groeschel has written the introductory text that begins each section as well as the final “What Should I Do?” at the end of the book, and Bishop Baker has written the individual meditations and prayers contained in each of the six sections.

While this book was being written, Father Benedict was involved in a horrific accident that nearly took his life. At the time of the accident the text he was working on was in his suitcase. He had just finished the introduction to “When I was a stranger…” as you read over the text for that section you might sense that he was having a premonition of what was about to happen in his life-where he would soon be in an emergency room under the care of doctors, nurses and as well as his family and religious community.

You will find that this book provides you with keys to finding Our Lord in the poor, and to overcoming the fears and obstacles (represented by the seven deadly sins in each section) that prevent you from responding to His call.

Lent Stations of the Cross

Two weeks today, many people will begin praying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent.

You can get John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn here.  

In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.

Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O’Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.

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