The Holy Eucharist is the outpouring of Jesus’s life on the cross for our eternal salvation, Cardinal Raymond Burke stated in a reflection on the Feast of Christ the King at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, North Dakota, “In truth, the entire good of our salvation is contained in the most Holy Eucharist for it is the most holy body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, does not partaking or not believing in something that contains the “entire good of our salvation” matter? Uh, yes. In the biggest way.
Cardinal Burke—essentially, the Chief Justice of the Roman Catholic Church–was in Bismarck on the feast of Corpus Christi as a favor to his friend and former seminary classmate, Bishop David Kagan. He currently serves in Rome as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which is the highest judicial authority in the Roman Catholic Church. Burke agreed to lead the annual retreat for 45 priests during the week. As long as he was in town, he also agreed to say Mass at the Cathedral and lead a Eucharistic procession in which several hundred participated. After a parish lunch, Burke then offered his reflections during adoration at 3:00 p.m.
He was surrounded by the Knights of Columbus honoring and protecting our Lord under an embroidered canopy as he held the Blessed Sacrament encased in a gold monstrance. They processed under mostly sunny skies, filing by neighborhood houses and passing traffic. The throngs followed behind in song with stops at three outdoor altars for the Rite of Benediction.
Prior to the procession, during the homily, Cardinal Burke looked out into the congregation and spoke in a strong clear voice. “Our Lord truly gives us himself under the species of bread and wine as the spiritual nourishment that can sustain us on our earthly pilgrimage,” he said. “St. Paul reminds us that each and very time we eat the Eucharistic bread and drink the Eucharistic wine, that we receive into our very being the Body and Blood of Christ. How fitting it is then, to extend our worship of the Body and Blood of Christ by carrying the most Blessed Sacrament in procession in our city with the Eucharistic Lord himself blessing the city and diocese through the Rite of Benediction through the most Blessed Sacrament.”
Cardinal Burke reminded us that through the Blessed Sacrament, we can come to an ever-deeper love, and satisfy our deepest hunger with his body and blood for the transformation of the world until he comes again. “Let our hearts be always filled with love and wonder of his Eucharistic sacrifice,” he said.
Later, during adoration, he stated that all the other sacraments and even all the other works are bound up in the Eucharist. “For in the Blessed Sacrament is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our master and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh.”
It is through the Eucharist that we have true communion with our Lord, Jesus Christ, given to us by his great act of pure and selfless love, the Cardinal explained.
He quoted Blessed John Paul II as reminding us in his last encyclical that, “Our life in the Church has it’s foundation and wellspring in the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord which is fully contained in the Eucharist mystery.”
Cardinal Burke noted that Jesus has made himself present to us in this way through the centuries.
“We celebrate the mystery of God’s unceasing and immeasurable love for us perfectly expressed in this gift of the Holy Eucharist,” he said. “It is a love which indeed embraces all space and time, the entire world and all its’ history.”
And yet, some people do not bother to get out of bed to receive this love. Or they receive it and think it is just bread. Surely, they do not understand. Those of us who do, must renew our faith and thanksgiving in Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, and testify to this truth. Because, it does matter.
Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is a writer with Teresa Tomeo Communications, an award-winning author, and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. She has appeared on TV and radio stations across the country. Her latest books, Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and children’s book, Dear God, I Don’t Get It (available for pre-order now!) will both be released May.
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