How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 5

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

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Chapter 1 – Serve, Part 1

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”

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In my home parish, St. John the Baptist in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the words Parate Viam Domini are inscribed over the front doors. The two years of Latin that I had in college and my knowledge of Scripture are enough for me to figure out that the message greeting me each Sunday are the words of St. John the Baptist in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” It is an excellent message to set the tone for the mystery that is about to be celebrated.

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P R E PA R AT I O N

I remember how differently I approached the Mass when as a young man I began to serve at the Eucharist as an altar boy.Before I could serve for the first time, I had to attend training sessions so that I knew what gestures and movements I was to make, and had to study the Latin responses so that I could answer the prayers of the priest at the appropriate time.Sometimes school was sacrificed so that I could serve a funeral mass,or a Saturday afternoon so that the priest could be attended to as he witnessed the marriage vows of a couple celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The thought and preparation that went into serving at the Eucharist required a sacrifice on my part but kept me focused on why I was there. Adults who serve as lectors, ushers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist,and choir members often mention feeling similar sentiments when they first take on these acts of service. Yet with time we are all apt to find ourselves going through the motions without much preparation and indeed without much thought about the fact that we are serving God in our respective roles at the Eucharist, and this inattentiveness is to our detriment. Making preparations is the work of a servant, and in the celebration of the Eucharist it is the work of every disciple of Christ.

T H E WAY

“The Way” is one of the oldest names for the first followers of Christ. Jesus often told his disciples that he came to show them “the Way” to the Father, that God’s ways were not our ways, and that He was the Way. The routine that we can fall into at the Eucharist happens precisely when we stop seeing what is taking place as “different”from everything else that we experience in life. Not only is it different, but if we truly enter into the Eucharist with a spirit of sacrifice,it will change the way that we view everything in our lives. The tension between Christian beliefs and the beliefs of “the world” is understood only when we come to embrace “the way” of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Most converts to Christianity have a clear sense of the saving power of Jesus as “the Way.” Faithful, lifelong Catholics may not have as keen an understanding until they experience the difference their faith has made to them in contrast to the rejection of that faith in one of their children.Yet understanding that “the way” of Christ is not business as usual can keep us from thinking that we have nothing to prepare for when we celebrate the Eucharist. Once we realize that God’s ways are not our ways, we will always see the need to “prepare ourselves for these Sacred Mysteries” we are about to celebrate.

LIVING THE UCHARIST

Throughout the day,when the events of the day do not go your “way,” before frustration has a chance to set in, stop and ask yourself what God’s way might be for what the day has given you. Try to think of a similar incident in the life of Christ to the one in which you find yourself — how did Our Lord handle the situation?

New Year’s Eve Meditation

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Octave of Christmas-Seventh Day

Two readings that fit for the last day of the secular year. In the first reading John tells us that this is the “last hour” and that many antichrists have appeared. He tells us that they came from “our number” but they really didn’t belong. As we close out this year we might think of the “antichrists” that we have listened to in the past year. What gospels have we accepted that have moved us further from Christ?

The Gospel reading is from the Gospel of John and is the same as the Gospel for Christmas Day–“In the beginning was the word…” As we begin a new year we should seek to align ourselves with the “Word,” Our Lord.

So in the midst of our celebrations, let us be out with the old false gospels and in with the ever new gospel of Our Lord who speaks to us in the events of everyday.

More from Michael Dubruiel

Here’s an excerpt:

The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.

Also, check out this post from 2003, in which Michael Dubruiel narrates the events of one of his “rosary walks.”.

Daily Advent Meditation

Friday of the Second Week of Advent

When I hear the Gospel reading for today, I’m stopped in my tracks by the phrase “the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm” and necessarily I’ve had to spend some time canvassing the great minds of the church to figure out just exactly what Jesus meant by this.

Well, it turns out that the Greek word that is translated “violence” above is probably best rendered “forceful” but that doesn’t change the overall passage that much, yet it does give us some indication of what is meant by violence. The early Fathers of the Church felt that the passage was best understood by thinking about who was entering the kingdom of heaven–sinners, namely people who did not belong there. They were intruders, outsiders who had been let in through the violence of the cross.

Taking this a step further, if our sins are really what nailed Jesus to a cross then we see that the violence we have done to the Son of God in some way have been our ticket to the kingdom of heaven.

It is only those however, who are desperate to enter that get in. One imagines the crowds that surrounded Jesus and John the Baptist (a modern example might be Pope John Paul and the crowds that surround his visits). Only a desperate person would get close enough to touch Our Lord.

So it is today. Are we desperate in our desire to enter the kingdom of heaven or is it somewhere way down the list of things to do today?

More from Michael Dubruiel:

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:

  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond” Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.

Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Wednesday First Week of Advent Reflection by Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

“How many loaves have you?” is Jesus’ question to us today. Daily Advent Devotional by Michael Dubruiel

It is easy in life to concentrate on our lack in the face of the problems that arise daily. But Our Lord’s response is to take what we have, give thanks to God and throw what we have at the problem. There is a lesson in this for all of us. The disciples when confronted by Our Lord’s question mouth our response, “but what is this for so many?” and Jesus ignores this objection.

Today take what you have and give it. Give it for others. Take the words that are buried in your mind and share them with those you meet. Take the loose change you have in your pocket and throw it into the Salvation Army bucket. Whatever you have it is enough, share it.

Some years ago when the city of Berlin was divided but before the Berlin wall had been built. Some Berliners from the Soviet side sneaked over late at night to the American side and dumped all of their trash into the street. A few nights later the Americans retaliated by sneaking over with a truck load of food and provisions and leaving them in the street…along with a sign “One gives what one has to give..”

Give what you have today asking God to bless it as you do.

More from Michael Dubruiel

How to Receive Communion as a Catholic

When our Lord gave the disciples on the road to Emmaus the bread that He had blessed and broken, “he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31). It was then that they recognized Him. We receive the Lord as they did in receiving the Eucharist. Now, at the moment that He is within us, we too should reflect, as they did, on the Scriptures that He has opened to us during this Mass, especially on what has made our “hearts burn.”

In our consumer-minded society, we can miss the treasure that we receive if we treat it like one more thing to “get” and then go on to the next thing. Our Lord is not a “thing.” He is God, who has deigned to come intimately into our lives. We should reflect on His Presence within us and ask what He would have us do.

More on The How to Book of the Mass here. 

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Catholic Mass Prayers

Eucharist means…”thanksgiving”

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

Excerpt

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.

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.

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God – 37

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 37th step:

(37) Not to be drowsy.

Several years ago, Amy and I attended the Easter Vigil Mass at a monastery. We arrived at the Abbey Church on Holy Saturday night at 9 when it began. The Blessing of the Fire was done, the Easter candle carried in procession, the Exsultet sang, and the readings began. Then they stopped after the fourth one.

There was an announcement. The readings would resume at 4 A.M. We both looked at each other. We were staying at a hotel about a half hour away. It was already 10:30. We rushed out the door and headed back to the hotel and after leaving a wake up call for 3 A.M. at the desk went to sleep.

Like zombies we took are place in the Church again at 3:45 A.M. The monks were all there, psalms were being read. They looked well rested, alert-awake. I was not, I was drowsy.

Monks get up at 4 A.M. every morning. Most of us do not but sleep is essential for all of us. St. Benedict’s counsel reflects the rigors of monastic life but applies to us as well. We need sleep in order to give our full attention to life’s demands.

There also is the memory of the Apostles and their failure to stay awake at the crucial moments of Our Lord’s agony, “And he came and found them sleeping,” (Mark 14:37). And of course the warning that he is coming again and how will Our Lord find us, “Watch therefore-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch,” (Mark 13:35).

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