Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Feast of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Good morning. This past Lenten Journey and our present Easter season erupts in me a new energy and appreciation for life; and the Eucharistic celebrations which have been a part of the journey have awakened in me a clearer understanding of the relationship Blessed Pope John Paul speaks of regarding the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Matrimony. As we look at the Eucharist today we are reminded of the words spoken by Jesus in today’s Gospel, “"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." Life, everything we live for is contained within the Eucharist. Jesus, the Eucharist, the Bread of Life is the Sacrificial Gift which gives us life.
Pope Paul VI described the Eucharist as being “the fount and apex of the whole Christian life”, the source and summit of all that we live for as Christians. And, Blessed Pope John Paul II notes in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem that the Eucharist is “the sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.” We see reflected in the sacrament of marriage the Sacrificial Gift of the Eucharist. In the sacrament of marriage a man and woman are called to a life of selflessness, a sacrificial giving of ourselves to one another. This self-giving progresses as the marriage journey progresses, as the couple open themselves to life and accept God’s gifts of life they come to likewise make further sacrifices not just to themselves but for their children. The love between married couples serves as yeast toward ever increasing their love, and it increases and expands in the love they come to share with and through their children, and their children’s children.
Bread in our lives tends to be fairly ordinary. We routinely prepare a sandwich without giving any thought of what actually goes into the making of bread and we tend to not give much consideration for the nutritional benefits found within a slice of bread. Bread is so ordinary and humdrum to us that we seldom give it much thought at all. The Eucharist can likewise be like this sometimes. How often do we really, I mean really consider what awaits us at the Eucharistic table? As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, partaking in the Eucharist is “a real foretaste of the final banquet foretold by the prophets.” We read in the Book of Isaiah:
“On this mountain* the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations. He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: “Indeed, this is our God; we looked to him, and he saved us! This is the LORD to whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” Is 25:6-9
These verses from Isaiah praise God for carrying out His plan to destroy the enemy and to save the poor, and they announce the victory banquet that is being prepared for and awaits us in heaven. So too we celebrate a marriage between a man and a woman as they prepare to venture forth on a journey together toward that heavenly wedding banquet. But in the same way we become lax in our relationship with the Eucharist we sometimes allow ourselves to become ordinary in our marital relationship. This is why it is important to make a deliberate effort to celebrate each day with our spouse. We should make a point to deliberately do something each day to make it special. Too often there is a disconnect between the meaning of things in our lives and how we participate in these things. With both our participation in the Eucharist and each day with our spouse we should participate as if we are entering the banquet hall for the very first time. As Saint Fidelis reminds us we should not approach things halfhearted. Let’s celebrate our marriage daily. Make a great day!
Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen.
"Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn crowned Captain." ~Saint Fidelis
Posted by Donald Gatwood at 6:49 AM