E-mail, it seems, is here to stay. Trouble is, most of us get more of it than we wish. And sometimes we're inclined not to open all our e-mails - especially when we're not sure who may have sent them.
But there's one e-mail all of us should open weekly, maybe even daily. Although we have never met the sender face-to-face, we know Him. And the e-mail He sends us is of the very highest priority.
The sender is God the Father, whose only and eternal Son came into the world as man to redeem us from our sins. The most important e-mail that God the Father sends us is the Eucharist (the Mass), and the "content" of that e-mail is Jesus Himself. Unlike all internet communications, Jesus is not only virtually present in the Eucharist. Rather, He is really and truly present and so are the great and wonderful things Jesus did to save us, especially His death and resurrection.
Imagine yourself clicking on to an e-mail that makes the Savior of the world present to you and to billions of other subscribers throughout the world. Imagine an e-mail that is life-changing, joy-giving, unifying, and nurturing. That is the "e-mail" we call the Eucharist.
With your kind indulgence, I'd like to take this analogy a bit further. If you want to receive an e-mail, you must be connected to a server. In the case of the Eucharist, the "server" is the Church. The Church was founded by Christ and empowered by the Spirit to broadcast the Good News of salvation everywhere and to distribute the Lord's "e-mail" - that is the Eucharist - to all dioceses, parishes, and other worshipping communities throughout the world. And the system administrator can be thought of as priests whose specific ministry is necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist and who lives are at the service of all.
Now in order to receive e-mail, one must be able to "log on." To do that, the proper program must be installed and the user should have a password. This happens in our life of faith when, in the Sacrament of Baptism, we are given a Christian name and our identity as adopted sons and daughters of God is established. Through Baptism we are also linked to God's worldwide network, the Church, and called to participate actively in its life and mission. As a result, God the Father will continually send our consciences e-mails, persistently inviting us to share in the Eucharist and calling on us to remove whatever hinders our participation.
It is worth pausing over the amazing content of God's Eucharistic e-mail. It is a communication that truly makes Christ present - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It enables us actually to share in His death and resurrection and to apply its power to our lives as individuals and as a community of faith. It challenges us and nurtures us to grow and be sustained in discipleship and to serve the Church and wider community. It also looks to the day when, with all the redeemed, we will communicate directly, face-to-face, with the living God.
But there can be obstacles. For example, in the virtual world, the e-mails we really need to receive are sometimes blocked by too much "spam" and/or junk mail. In our actual lives we also get bombarded with spam and junk mail. These come to us as temptations to "click on" to sites that lead to destructive, self-centered, and ungodly behavior; or to go to other sites that encourage us to waste our time on trivialities or cause us to become distracted and self-absorbed. Such spam and junk mail are mixed in with our legitimate daily responsibilities and concerns - and so must be carefully identified and promptly deleted.
The way we do this in real life is by daily examining our consciences and by worthily and regularly receiving the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. When combined with daily prayer and a graced striving for virtue, the Sacrament of Penance becomes a powerful "spam-blocker" and really opens our eyes to the centrality of the Eucharist in our lives and in the life of the Church.
So how do we respond to the Eucharistic e-mail we receive from God? With apologies to Mother Elisabetta Patrizi (from whom I am borrowing the following phrase), I would suggest that we respond to God through "kneemail." You and I respond to the gift of the Eucharist by laying aside our worries, preoccupations, and leisure long enough to give the Lord an hour or so of our undivided attention at Sunday Mass each week.
But that's the barest minimum. If we really want to open our hearts to the Eucharist, we will also get down on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacles of our churches, and offer God heartfelt praise and adoration - knowing that He loves us more than we could ever ask or imagine.
As the Diocese of Bridgeport begins the second phase of its 50th Anniversary celebration, I hope that God will receive a lot of "knee-mail" from all of us. In each of the 87 parishes, a day for Eucharistic Adoration has been set aside, so that as One Family of Faith we can be renewed, refreshed, and re-invigorated by times of extended prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. For scheduled times and places of Eucharistic Adoration, turn to page 11, or visit the Jubilee page of our website (www.bridgeportdiocese.com), and visit there as long as you like!
While you're there, be sure to click on to the Holy Father's beautiful Holy Thursday letter on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Contrary to some press reports, you will find it is a profound and refreshing reflection on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.
E-mail will someday soon be replaced by other amazing means of communications, but nothing should ever replace or supplant our "Eucharistic amazement." May this amazement always fill the Church assembled to celebrate the Eucharist and the heart of each one of you!
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