“You will thank Mary if you manage to receive the holy Eucharist with dignity and frequently, having Jesus deposited in your heart as in a tabernacle and accompanying a very afflicted Mother in her anguished solitude” (Explicación de la paloma [=Resumen de los principales documentos…]. Barcelona 1848; p. 31).
WHAT WE MOST THANK MARY FOR
The sorrows of Mary, which Claret invites us to remember, begin shortly after the birth of Jesus and end when Mary leaves the body of her Son lying in the tomb after witnessing the crucifixion and holding him dead in her arms at the foot of the cross. In the phrase of Claret, this image of the tomb resonates: Jesus crucified, he who was buried in the tomb, can also lie in our heart.
With the language of his time, (it would have been difficult for him to have used another) Claret exhorts us to receive the Eucharist ‘with dignity and frequently’. A century later, after the immense experience of grace that was the II Vatican Council, the Church, without rejecting ‘receive’, invites us to ‘celebrate’. The other expressions keep their sense: we can celebrate with more or less dignity and do it with greater or lesser frequency. What a beautiful memory of those Christians of the 4th Century who went to their death affirming: ‘without celebrating Sunday, we cannot live’! Their phrase still becomes a reality for thousands of believers who in order to participate in the Eucharistic Assembly at the beginning of the week cover many kilometres or walk a few metres with a great effort. Without the Eucharist we cannot live. Its frequent celebration is converted into our strength and into an exceptional experience of grace.
The most valuable things of life are only fully appreciated when they are gone. Nowadays in countries that have mothballed churches that were full of life many communities have to be content with a monthly Eucharist. We value the possibility of participating frequently in the Eucharistic celebration, the privilege to be able to approach the tabernacle to listen to Jesus and to speak with him.
Does the Eucharist play the role in your life that it should? What does the invitation of Claret to celebrate it with dignity and frequently arouse in you?