How to Be Eucharistic (and so much more than a consumer)

1
Consuming Eucharist is a call to go out toward others

Consuming Eucharist is a call to go out toward others

During the 2015 Catholic New Media Conference my good friend, Lyn Francisco, @lynfrancisco tweeted a quote from Patrick Padley @ppadley, regarding evangelization, “We shouldn’t be consumers of Christ,” he said, “It isn’t just about putting information out; it is about engagement and understanding.”  His quote inspired me to post this question on Twitter, “What is the first thing you would do to begin evangelization in your local neighborhood?” Marika Donders @oneeyedsmiley, Evangelization Director for the Diocese of Ogdensburg, New York, answered, “Buy a cup of coffee and make a friend, find a way to connect and build trust first. Make them curious and then tell a story.” Another response I received via Twitter quoted Mother Ann Marie Karlevic, O.P., “Receptivity to grace is the first task of the new Evangelization.” The responder, @LeoniesLonging added, “Time in adoration and I would start (visiting people) at my local hospital.” Good point. After all Pope Francis said the Church is ministering in a field hospital.

In both of these responses I thought of Padley’s insightful statement, “We are not just consumers of Christ.” Consumption is not an end in itself. Consuming Eucharist is a call to go out to others as Fr. John Jay Hayes explains:

“When we eat the heavenly food of the Eucharist…we become what we eat. ‘What material food produces in our bodily life,’ the Catechism says, ‘Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life’ [No. 1392]. We, who have been made members of Christ’s body in baptism, become his members afresh in the Eucharist. The Catechism says: “Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ … preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism.” [No. 1392]. Through the Eucharist we become people through whom Jesus continues today the works of love and compassion which he accomplished during his earthly life through his physical body. United with him in the Eucharist, we are united too with one another. That is why, before coming to the Lord’s holy table, we share with one another the greeting of peace. “Those who receive the Eucharist,” we read in the Catechism, “are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body – the Church” [No. 1396]. Our continual eating of the food God gives us is corporate.” [i]

When we consume Christ in Eucharist, becoming what we eat, we are not just consumers. In our consumer society it is easy to regard receiving Communion as a personal gift. In Holy Communion, as we receive the true body of Christ, we also receive all of the members of the body of Christ. We are called to go beyond consuming. The message of our society tells us that there is scarcity – if you don’t get to this sale now you miss out! If you don’t have this item, food, car, house, you don’t fit.  The message of the Eucharist tells us “There is always enough!” When we consume Eucharist and become what we eat our message is “You are enough because God loves you freely.” Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI clearly explains,

“Molded by the Eucharist, the parish will become a beneficial ferment amidst the widespread consumerism and individualism of our time, reawakening solidarity and opening, in faith, the eye of the heart to recognize the Father, Who is gratuitous love and Who wishes to share his own joy with His children.”

Paulines celebrating the Liturgy

Paulines celebrating the Liturgy with Alberione in the background.

Blessed Alberione, founder of the Pauline religious family, wrote uniquely Eucharistic prayers to help us live this reality as we fulfill our call to evangelize. Here are some of my favorite prayers inspired by him, from the book Live Christ! Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization.[ii]

Prayer to Incarnate Christ in Our Culture
Jesus, you are the Way, the place where we meet the Father;
no one can come to the Father except through you.
You are the always new and living Way. To see you is to see the Father.
You are the Truth; to know you is to know the Father, because you are the Word of God.
Your truth sets us free.Your spirit leads us to the whole truth.
You are the Life, given to us by the Father for the life of the world.
This life is nourished with your living Bread.
Jesus Way, Truth, and Life, I want to live in you with my entire being.
As I respond to the needs of others, help me incarnate you in the culture and in society.
Based on Jn 14:6, 14:9, 8:32, 16:13, 6:33
 
Make Me Life for the World
Knead me, Lord Jesus, into the world of communication,
as eucharistic bread that will nourish others.
Teach me the new media languages that will give your message the best paths to reach minds and hearts.
Guide me as I send words into cyberspace;
inspire my choice of activity in social media.
Your word is alive and active,
like yeast in the dough of our world.
Thank you for calling me to participate
in your plan of peace.
Grant us the grace to welcome your word
and allow its message to find a home in us.
May our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and in the word always be our light and strength.
We offer ourselves with him to you, Father.
May we, too, become bread broken for the life of many. Amen.

Prayers inspired by Pauline Eucharistic spirituality for the New Evangelization

Prayers inspired by Pauline Eucharistic spirituality for the New Evangelization

May My Life Be a Liturgy
O mystery of the Father’s incomprehensible
love for his children, made known in Jesus
through the gift of the Spirit!
I contemplate the total gift of yourself to us.
I ask that I may respond with a total gift of self through
full participation in the Eucharistic liturgy.
Participating in your mystery,
may I be a living communication of your love
to my sisters and brothers.
May my life become a liturgy
offering glory to you and peace to all men and women.Amen.

Becoming Bread Broken for the World
Heavenly Father, we desire to enter fully
into the mystery of your covenant with your people,
in the life and mission of the Church.
Grant us the grace to advance toward the fullness of charity,
so that we may seek only your glory and peace to all people.
Thus we can truly become a sign of your Risen Christ in the world.
Grant us the grace to welcome your word
and allow its message to find a home in us.
May our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and in the word
always be our light and strength.
We offer ourselves with him to you, Father.
May we, too, become bread broken for the life of many. Amen.

[i] John Jay Hayes,Now You Know Media, Homilies
[ii] Live Christ; Give Christ – Prayers for the New EvangelizationPauline Books & Media

Recommended books on Consumerism and Eucharist:
John Kavanaugh, Following Christ in a Consumer Society
William Kavanaugh, Being Consumed.

Copyright Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp.
Artist: Eucharist by Aridth L. Coughlin. Photo by Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp. Used with permission of the artist. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Eucharistic Liturgy Celebrated by Paulines in India. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Cover of Live Christ; Give Christ. Pauline Books & Media. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.

Order your copy of Live Christ! Give Christ! and support CatholicMom.com with your purchase! You pay nothing extra!

Share.

About Author

A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization. [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. Sr. Margaret Obrovac on

    What an insightful way of looking at consumption, too. It begs the question: Why do we consume anything? So we can consume more? Or so we can keep on giving? Thanks for the reflection, Sr. Margaret.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.