Posted by: fvbcdm | July 30, 2014

Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus (30 July 2014)

What is a Christian? That may sound like a silly question to which the answer is obvious, but actually the answer is not all that obvious. From the point of view of our theology, a number of elements go into the definition of a Christian. Pope Pius XII took up the matter in his encyclical “Mystici Corporis” back in 1943. He pointed out that there are gradations in the answer.

Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ is our divine redeemer is a Christian at the most basic level of Christianity.  One step higher would be anyone who has received Christian baptism.  A step higher than that is one who has been baptized in the Catholic faith. And at the top of the ladder is a baptized Catholic who maintains him- or herself in the state of grace, or union with God. Thus we see that the Eucharist enters very importantly into our definition of a Christian. Our Divine Lord tells us the same thing when he says, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.” In this year of the Eucharist, we should think of this often, and do our best to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the altar as frequently, hungrily, and devoutly as we can.

There is an old saying in Spanish: when you are really hungry, no bread is stale. If we really hunger for Our Divine Lord in the Eucharist, we will delight in receiving him and do so with great profit for our souls. And one of the means necessary to remain in the state of grace is to receive Holy Communion worthily, at the very least, once each year, and then to avoid mortal sin so as to live in union with God the rest of the time. Of course, we might well wonder about a Catholic who receives Holy Communion only once a year, as the Easter duty requires.  Since we must attend Mass every Sunday and holyday of obligation, why would anyone not receive the Eucharist at each of those sacramental celebrations? Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This Message was composed some years ago.

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