I MUST come to both the defence and further explanation of Fr David Nugent.
I heard all his homilies and reflections during his mission with us in our parish.
I can testify to the solid doctrine of his message concerning the Blessed Sacrament and the Real Presence of Christ.
His comment about the DNA of Christ being present within us when we receive Christ in Holy Communion (People, CL 22/7/12) has suffered from misinterpretation out of context.
He was not offering any dogma or interpretation other than what the Church presents to us.
I found his statement a new way, using the scientific language and common understanding of this age, of expressing what has always been the Church’s belief and teaching, namely, that Christ, whole and entire, his body, blood, soul and divinity, God and Man, is present in a sacramental way under the eucharistic species. (cf Compendium of the CCC §282)
The presence of Christ’s DNA is neither provable nor disprovable and, I would suggest, is a side issue.
What is crucial is that the complete and glorified human body of Christ, with all that means and implies, is present.
Language that helps us access the enormity and mystery of that can be helpful.
I disagree with Gerard Hore (Opinion, CL 12/8/12) in his statement that eucharistic adoration is not connected with the liturgy being “the summit toward which the activity of the church is directed; (and) the source from which all its power flows”. (Sacrosanctum Concilium §10)
One of the erroneous ideas that arose after Vatican II was that we did not need to worship Christ present in the consecrated bread and wine because he said he was there for us to eat his body and to drink his blood.
Thus, the worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass through Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction fell away.
This has proved to be a great weakening of the life of the Church and has left the Church bereft of one of its great strengths and an effective weapon against evil.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI followed the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist with his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Love).
In paragraph 66, he said this idea that we didn’t need to look at Christ but to consume him was a false dichotomy.
Quoting St Augustine he noted that the experience and tradition of the Church has always been that “no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it”.
Thus the Holy Father points out that eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration, which is in itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration.
The act of adoration outside of Mass prolongs and intensifies what takes place during Mass.
Another false dichotomy, I suggest, is to place eucharistic adoration, and prayer, in opposition to works of charity, mercy or the apostolate.
I quote the Holy Father: “It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est #37)
Pope Benedict also recalls the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who demonstrated in her life that time devoted to God in prayer (and I am told before the Blessed Sacrament) does not detract from effective and loving service of our neighbour but is, in fact, the inexhaustible source of that service.
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