In the spiritual theology of our
charism (our charism is 'to live Jesus and his cross') we speak of an
intercessor as becoming a "sacrament". We can only use the word, sacrament, in
this way because we speak first of the Church as being "sacrament". One may
recall the words of Pope St. Paul VI cited in an earlier teaching. He says that
the Church prolongs and continues Jesus Christ. This is the language of
sacrament. "The Church's first purpose is to be the sacramentof the
inner union of men with God" (CCC 775). The Church is a sign of the
presence of God, and is in the word's of Pope St. Paul VI, "the visible
plan of God's love for humanity" (Paul VI, June 22, 1973). When we do speak of
an intercessor as becoming a "sacrament", it is in reference to Jesus
prolonging his sacrifice on the cross through us, and mediating his life and
redemptive love to the rest of humanity through us. We use such words as
'prolong', 'perpetuate', 'continue', 'extend' and 'connecting' to articulate
It is always as an analogy that we
speak of an intercessor as being a "sacrament". We are now the visible flesh
and blood humanity through which Jesus--who is now hidden within us in mystical
union--can communicate his divine life to others. We are "sacraments of his
saving love", united as one with the Lamb: We are the vessels through which his
divine life 'reaches' other human beings. We become "sacrament" of the New
Covenant of love only because the Lamb, himself, is at work within us: "I am at
work" (John 5:17). It is his divine life that flows through us for others. We
become "living sacraments", perpetuating the sacrifice of the cross in union
with the Lamb who was slain.
The goal of our charism is the
communion of humanity with the Lamb and in him with the Father and the Holy
Spirit (see John
Paul II, "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" Encyclical letter # 25). We become
"sacrament" so that the infinite love present in the pierced Heart of the Lamb
may be extended to others. As we are made one with Jesus he continues through
us to bring people into a living contact with, and hence offers them an
experience of, the freedom and victory of his saving cross. For an intercessor,
becoming a "sacrament" is both the fruit of a changed life (a transfigured
existence), and also a commitment to allow the Lamb of God to continue to
transform the world through us.
Of all the seven sacraments of the
Catholic faith, it is the Eucharist that best expresses this language of
'mediation', 'prolonging', 'perpetuating' and 'extending' that we use in an
analogous sense to describe the intercessor as a "sacrament". As intercessors
our lives are to become so "Eucharistically imbued", so transformed by the
sacred liturgy of the mass, that we become "extensions" of the Eucharist:
We are to live the mass and make Jesus Christ (in an analogical sense) "present
now" through our intercessory lifestyle and prayer. We are to live Eucharistic
communion: Through our communion with the Body and Blood of the Lamb, we come
to be ever more profoundly:
"In Christ in the nature of a
sacrament, that is, a sign and instrument of intimate unity with God and
of the unity of the whole human race" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen Gentium, # 1).
the death of the Lord "until he comes" entails that we be committed to change
our lives and make them in a certain way completely Eucharistic.
As we accept the invitation of Jesus
in the Eucharist to "Take and eat,", "Drink from it, all of you" (Mt. 26: 26,27),
he "involves" us in the offering of his life that we celebrate in every mass.
We enter into sacramental communion with him. Now, he in a sense says to each
intercessor, "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cr. 11:24): Let me extend my
life-giving offering through your humanity. Allow the Holy Spirit to transform
you into a "sacrament of the Father's love" for others:
"By its union with Christ, the People
of the New Covenant...become a "sacrament" for humanity, a sign and an
instrument of the salvation achieved by Christ...for the redemption of all"
("Dogmatic constitution on the Church" Lumen Gentuim, # 1).
what area of my life do I find the process of self-emptying difficult?
do I live as "an extension of the Eucharist" (how do I live the mass) outside
of mass time?
Any scripture from the text; Mt. 28:20B; John 15:5; 2 Cr.
TIME TO EXPIATE"
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Remember that we must be a praying Church: Am I praying for our Church
and our world?