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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Church Unity Week: The Eucharist at the Heart of Unity


This week we are in the midst of the worldwide Church's prayer for unity. With the level of divisions and threats of factions, everyone seeming to do what is right in one's own eyes, obviously calls for a lot of prayer. Unity is only to be found in the Spirit of the Liturgy where the Presence of Christ in the corpus mysticum becomes a reality in the corpus verum. In his book on the Spirit of the Liturgy (I received in this morning's post from a friend in the US!) Pope Benedict XVI writes,
Again, the Eucharist is not aimed primarily at the individual. Eucharistic personalism is a drive toward union, the overcoming of barriers between God and man, between "I" and "thou" in the new "we" of the communion of saints. People did not exactly forget this truth, but they were not so clearly aware of it as before. There were, therefore, losses in Christian awareness, and in our time we must try to make up for them, but still there were gains overall. True, the Eucharistic Body and the Lord is meant to bring us together, so that we become his "true Body". But the gift of the Eucharist can do this only because in it the Lord gives us his true Body. Only the true Body in the Sacrament can build up the true Body of the new City of God.
The scriptural text for this week's prayer for unity is selected from Mark 7.31-37. It reads,
Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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