Cement Truck Principles

As I begin this new process of posting frequent commentaries on aspects of Catholic life, I want to briefly mention what I call my "cement truck principles." By this I mean the issues at the top of the list of my personal mission, the ones I would want to focus all my attention on if I knew I was going to get run over by a cement truck later in the day.

While I will be addressing a wide range of issues in this blog, the two core issues for me are 1) the dynamics and the power of our participation in the Eucharist, and 2) the reality that God communicates to each of us all the time, that God is a micro-manager in our lives if we are truly attentive to His communications. I'll start with comments on the Eucharist.

Most of us would agree that the world and even the Catholic Church are going through a very confused and uncertain time. While we can hope and pray that there will be some dramatic supernatural event which will bring clarity to the chaos, there is already available one feature of the Catholic faith that has the potential to bring about a powerful transformation of humanity almost overnight.

I'm talking about the Eucharist. With all that is available today in terms of media resources, think what would happen if the tremendous, infinite power of the Eucharist were to be fully experienced and effectively communicated to the world.

I think of it this way. The power of Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, has no limits. Jesus, with one snap of His fingers, could make the entire universe disappear. The most powerful event in the history of the world took place when the Son of God allowed Himself to be rejected and crucified by the very people that He brought into the world out of love. His sacrifice is the absolute, foundational source of all energy, all power that exists in creation.

Catholics have access to this power when they become united with Jesus Christ most intimately and most intensely in the Eucharist. I'll talk about the dynamics of this in a few days, explaining how this works.

For now, I just want to say that the reason this power is not fully experienced by us is that our expectations in our experience of the Eucharist are so low. Satan has used all sorts of tricks and deceptions to mask the great gift of the Eucharist, to put around the Eucharist a veil of obscurity and casualness. It's as if there is a great fog hovering over the Catholic Church around the world, and this fog is especially effective in robbing the Eucharist of its magnificence and power.

There is one event in particular which stands out in my mind as a sign of hope. Our former bishop in my diocese attended the funeral of Pope Saint John Paul II. When he returned to our diocese, he spoke very beautifully about a special moment during the funeral. He said that there were approximately 1 million people at the funeral Mass. Not all were Catholic. Many were tourists. Many were there just out of curiosity. But the bishop said that at the moment of the consecration of the bread and wine, the moment that the gifts were transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, 1 million people were completely quiet. There was absolute, perfect, total silence. Even those with the smallest amount of faith knew something special, something sacred, was taking place.

In future postings, we'll see what we can do to help lift the fog.