Last Thursday we shared with readers: 1) the evidence presented by Harvard alum Michael Pakaluk (an Ave Maria resident and professor at Ave Maria University) that the leaders of Harvard face a conundrum of their own making when it comes to what shall henceforth be known as Harvard’s black mass; 2) a beautiful rendering of one of Satan’s most powerful enemies, Saint Michael the Archangel, painted by the talented Cornelius Sullivan, a former art instructor at Harvard University who is an Ave Maria parishioner; and 3) the homily AMU’s Father Robert McTeigue, SJ, delivered as he led a public act of reparation and love.
On Friday Father McTeigue delivered another wonderful homily – another public act of reparation and love – joyfully proclaiming the “veritas” the Church has always vouchsafed: that the Eucharist is the Truth of Christ and the Church. He asked me to include his forwarding remarks, which are in italics:
As a priest, I am a servant, steward and guardian of the Eucharist. Consequently, the sacrilege to be hosted at Harvard on Monday is especially painful to me. You know that on Thursday, when I first learned of this outrage, I changed my plans for the Mass I was scheduled for that day, along with the homily I had planned. I offered the Votive Mass of the Precious Blood. On Friday, I was scheduled for the noon Mass here. With the impending Harvard scandal still on my heart, I offered the Votive Mass in Honor of the Holy Eucharist. Here is the homily I preached that day. Again, I must say how grateful I am as a priest to be of service to a community with such a deep reverence and love for our Eucharistic Lord.
When I was a boy, I grew up hearing stories of my Italian grandfather, Guido Formisano. On Sundays, your Sunday obligation was only partly fulfilled by going to Mass. Your obligation was completed by eating Sunday dinner, with Papa at the head of the table. These were great and grand dinners. Papa would be all the leaves into the table in order to extend it. And when they ran out of chairs, they would put ironing boards between stools in order to seat everyone. The homemade food and homemade wine appeared endless. Everyone enjoyed the dinners Papa presided over, but few really knew what those dinners cost him.
Papa supported his family by working at a scissor factory. His job was to take blunt pieces of newly-pressed metal, and then grind them to sharpness. Every day, he would spend hours and hours hunched over a spinning whetstone, grinding scissors. At the end of each work day, Papa would take out his pocket knife, and gouge out the steel splinters he got in his hands. Those Sunday dinners, which everyone enjoyed, were paid for in flesh and blood.
I think of these things as I dwell on the amazing gift of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist was first revealed at the Last Supper. The tragedy of the poor catechesis that so many have received is the Last Supper has been separated from the sacrifice of Calvary. As a result, there is no connection between our sin and the atoning death of Jesus on the Cross. In this light, the Mass becomes just a “Happy Meal.” After all, no one ever says, “We’ve sinned—let’s eat!” Our love for the Holy Eucharist will be renewed when we recall what we see at this altar during Mass.
At this altar we a window through time opens. At this window see at once the past, the present and the future. Looking at the past, we see the Last Supper and Calvary. But we see those events not as memories, but as realities of the past made present again. In that present we can join Christ on Calvary as He offers Himself to the Father. And from here we can see the future—we can catch a glimpse of the consummation of creation in Heaven, the eternal banquet of perpetual praise.
Let’s consider the present again. At this Mass, we can take our fallen, little lives, including whatever good and grace we have, with all of our faults and needs, and place them in the hands of Christ, Who will unite our imperfect offerings to His perfect sacrifice.
Our Heavenly Father receives the perfect sacrifice of His Son, along with our offerings, and He takes them into His heart. Once our lives enter the heart of the Father, it is inevitable—inevitable—that we shall be changed. And the Father will see and love in us what He sees and loves in His only begotten Son.
If you are in a state of grace, as you approach this altar to receive the Living Bread come down from Heaven, I ask that you take a look at yourself, and see that you are covered in blood—the Precious Blood of our Savior Who washed away your sins. It is only that cleaning in the Blood of the Lamb that permits us to receive Holy Communion worthily, without bringing condemnation upon ourselves.
There will never be enough time in this life to speak and live our gratitude for our Eucharistic Lord. But we should surely try to live guided by and driven by gratitude. How shall we begin to be grateful? We might begin by committing to memory the word, “FATHER.” After each Mass, and whenever you are in Eucharistic Adoration, recall the word “FATHER.” F-A-T-H-E-R.
F: make an act of faith.
A: make an act of adoration.
T: make an act of thanksgiving.
H: make an act of humility.
E: make an entreaty (ask Jesus for something).
R: make a resolution (make a promise to Jesus).
And then let’s do what the psalmist directs us to do, and, “Go out to all the world and tell the good news.”
May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.