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Mary’s Touch  

August 2000 Newsletter

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Christ becomes present in the Sacrament of the Altar by the transformation of the whole substance of the bread into His Body and of the whole substance of the wine into His Blood. (Council of Trent – DS #1641; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1376)

Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. (Council of Trent – DS #1642; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1377)

The Body and the Blood of Christ together with His Soul and His Divinity and therefore the Whole Christ are truly present in the Eucharist. (Council of Trent – DS #1651; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1374)

The Worship of Adoration (latria) must be given to Christ present in the Eucharist. (Council of Trent – DS #1656; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1378)

The chief fruit of the Eucharist is an intrinsic union of the recipient with Christ. (Council of Florence – DS #1320; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1391)

For the worthy reception of the Eucharist the state of grace as well as the proper and pious disposition are necessary. (Council of Trent – DS #1667; Catechism of the Catholic Church #1385)

Also, Canon Law #919 (1): One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.




Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, FFI 

On the Holy Eucharist

The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion

"Approach the Sacred Banquet," said St. John Baptist de La Salle, "with the same dispositions that you would desire to have in order to enter Heaven. One should not have less respect in receiving Jesus than in being received by Him."

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina used to repeat with trepidation to his brethren, "God sees stains even in the angels. What must He see in me!" For this reason he was very diligent in making his sacramental Confessions. So too St. Teresa of Jesus, when she was aware of having committed the least venial sin, would never receive Holy Communion without first going to Confession. . .

St. Anthony Mary Claret illustrates this fact very well: "When we go to Holy Communion, all of us receive the same Lord Jesus, but not all receive the same grace nor are the same effects produced in all. This comes from our greater or lesser disposition. . . For this reason St. Francis de Sales taught his spiritual children, "Go to Confession with humility and devotion. . . if it is possible, every time you feel in your conscience any remorse of mortal sin."

Holy Communion must be received only when one is in the grace of God. Therefore, when one has committed a mortal sin, even if one has repented of it and has a great desire to receive Holy Communion, it is necessary and indispensable to go to Confession first before receiving Holy Communion. Otherwise one commits a most grave sin of sacrilege, for which Jesus said to St. Bridget, "there does not exist on earth a penalty great enough to punish it sufficiently!"

With the hands of Our Lady

The Saints had uncompromising faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in even the smallest visible fragment of a Host. It suffices merely to have seen Padre Pio to realize with what conscientious care he purified the paten and the sacred vessels at the altar. Adoration could be read on his face!

Once when St. Thérèse of Lisieux saw a small Particle of a Host on the paten after Holy Mass, she called the novices, and then carried the paten in procession into the sacristy with a gracious and adoring comportment that was truly angelic. When St. Teresa Margaret found a fragment of a Host on the floor near the altar, she broke into tears because she realized what irreverence might be shown to Jesus; and she knelt in adoration before the Particle until a priest came to take It and put It in the tabernacle. . .

What shall we say of St. Francis Xavier who at times when distributing Holy Communion felt so carried away by a sense of adoration toward Our Lord who was in his hands, that he got on his knees and in that position continued giving Holy Communion? Did that not present a spectacle of faith and love worthy of Heaven?

Something still more beautiful has been the thoughtful care of the Saints, who were priests, in handling the Blessed Sacrament. Oh, how they would have liked to have the same virginal hands as the Immaculate! The index fingers and thumbs of St. Conrad of Constance used to shine at night on account of the faith and the love which inspired the use of those fingers to hold the most Sacred Body of Jesus. . . At times Padre Pio of Pietrelcina quite plainly experienced great difficulty in placing the Sacred Host between his fingers, judging himself unworthy to allow his hands, which bore the stigmata, to have contact with the Host. . .

"You are my Son"

We know that in the Eucharist, together with the Divinity, are the entire Body and Blood of Jesus taken from the body and blood of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore, at every Holy Communion we receive, it would be quite correct, and a very beautiful thing, to take notice of our holy Mother’s sweet and mysterious presence, inseparably and totally united with Jesus in the Host. Jesus is ever her adored Son. He is Flesh of her flesh and Blood of her blood. If Adam could call Eve when she had been formed from his rib, "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23), cannot the holy Virgin Mary even more rightly call Jesus "Flesh of my flesh and Blood of my blood"? Taken from the "intact Virgin" as says St. Thomas Aquinas, the Flesh of Jesus is of the maternal flesh of Mary, the Blood of Jesus is of the maternal blood of Mary. Therefore, it will never be possible to separate Jesus from Mary. For this reason at every Holy Mass celebrated, the Blessed Mother can in truth say to Jesus in the Host and in the Chalice, "You are my Son, today I have begotten You" (cf. Ps. 2:7). And St. Augustine correctly teaches us that in the Eucharist "Mary extends and perpetuates her divine Motherhood."

St. Bernadette Soubirous replied very beautifully to someone who put this tricky question to her: "What would please you more, to receive Holy Communion, or to see Our Lady in the grotto?" The little Saint thought for a minute and then answered, "What a strange question! The two cannot be separated. Jesus and Mary always go together."

(From Jesus Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.F.I. published by Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, 1996)



The Blessed Mother’s essential role 
for our salvation

The Co-Redemptrix

The title: Co-Redemptrix, which has been current since the fifteenth century, and which also appears in some official Church documents under St. Pius X and Pius XI, must not be conceived in the sense of an equation of the efficacy of Mary with the redemptive activity of Christ, the sole Redeemer of humanity. As she herself required redemption and in fact was redeemed by Christ, she could not of herself merit the grace of the redemption of humanity in accordance with the principle: The author of an act of merit cannot be a recipient of the same act of merit. Her co-operation in the objective redemption derives from the fact that she voluntarily devoted her whole life to the service of the Redeemer, and, under the Cross, suffered and sacrificed with Him. As Pope Pius XII says in the Encyclical "Mystici Corporis" (1943), she "offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and her motherly love like a new Eve for all children of Adam." As "The New Eve" she is, as the same Pope declares, in the Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissimus Deus" (1950) "the sublime associate of our Redeemer."

. . . In the power of the grace of Redemption merited by Christ, Mary, by her spiritual entering into the sacrifice of her Divine Son for men, made atonement for the sins of men, and merited the application of the redemptive grace of Christ. In this manner she co-operates in the redemption of mankind.


The Mediatrix of All Graces and Our Advocate

. . . Since her assumption into Heaven, Mary co-operates in the application of the grace of Redemption to man. She participates in the distribution of grace by her maternal intercession. According to the view of many theologians, Mary’s intercessory co-operation extends to all graces, which are conferred on mankind, so that no grace accrues to men, without the intercession of Mary. The implication of this is not that we are obliged to beg for all graces through Mary, nor that Mary’s intercession is intrinsically necessary for the application of the grace, but that, according to God’s positive ordinance, the redemptive grace of Christ is conferred on nobody without the actual intercessory co-operation of Mary.


(Based on Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott published by Tan Books & Publishers, 1960)



Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand:

False alternatives

When one reads the luminous encyclical Ecclesiam Suam of Pope Paul VI or the magnificent "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" of the Fathers of the Council, one cannot but realize the greatness of the Second Vatican Council.

But when one turns to so many contemporary writings — some by very famous theologians, some by minor ones, some by laymen offering us their dilettante theological concoctions — one can only be deeply saddened and even filled with grave apprehension. For it would be difficult to conceive a greater contrast than that between the official documents of Vatican II and the superficial, insipid pronouncements of various theologians and laymen that have broken out everywhere like an infectious disease.

On the one side, we find the true spirit of Christ, the authentic voice of the Church; we find texts that in both form and content breathe a glorious supernatural atmosphere. On the other hand, we find a depressing secularization, a complete loss of the sensus supernaturalis, a morass of confusion.

The distortion of the authentic nature of the Council produced by this epidemic of theological dilettantism expresses itself chiefly in the false alternatives between which we are all commanded to choose: either to accept the secularization of Christianity or to deny the authority of the Council. . .


The teachings of the false prophets

. . . He is a false prophet who denies original sin and mankind’s need of redemption and thereby undermines the meaning of Christ’s death on the Cross. He is not a true Christian who no longer sees that redemption of the world through Christ is the source of true happiness and that nothing can be compared to this one glorious fact.

He is a false prophet who no longer accepts the absolute primacy of the first commandment of Christ — to love God above all things — and who claims that our love of God can manifest itself exclusively in our love of neighbor. He is a false prophet who no longer understand that to long for the I-Thou union with Christ and for transformation in Christ is the very meaning of our life. He is a false prophet who claims that morality reveals itself not primarily in man’s relationship with God, but in those things that concern human welfare. And he has fallen prey to the teaching of false prophets who only sees in the wrong done our neighbor our injury to him and remains blind to the offense against God that this wrong implies. He who no longer sees the radical difference that exists between charity and humanitarian benevolence has become deaf to the message of Christ.

He who is more impressed and thrilled by "cosmic processes," "evolution," and the speculations of science than by the reflection of Christ’s Sacred Humanity in a Saint and by the victory over the world that the very existence of a Saint embodies, is no longer filled with Christian spirit. He who cares more for the earthly welfare of humanity than for its sanctification has lost the Christian view of the universe.


True renewal calls us to transformation in Christ

. . . This third choice is based on unshakable faith in Christ and in the infallible magisterium of His Holy Church. It takes it for granted that there is no room for change in the divinely revealed doctrine of the Church. It admits no possibility of change except that development of which Cardinal Newman speaks: the explicit formulation of what was implicit in the faith of the Apostles or of what necessarily follows from it.

This attitude holds that the Christian morality of holiness, the morality revealed in the Sacred Humanity of Christ and His commandments and exemplified in all the saints, remains forever the same. It holds that being transformed in Christ, becoming a new creature in Him, is the goal of our existence. In the words of St. Paul, "This is the will of God, your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3).

This position maintains that there is a radical difference between the kingdom of Christ and the saeculum (world); it takes into account the struggle between the spirit of Christ and the spirit of Satan through all the centuries past and to come, until the end of the world. It believes that Christ’s words are as valid today as in any former time: "Had you been of the world, the world would love its own; but as you are not of the world, as I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you" (John 15:19).


Renewal restores the supernatural vitality of the Church

The process of renewal is a shedding of secularizing influences which, because of human frailty and the trends and tendencies of an era, have slipped into the practice of the Church and the religious life of the faithful.

As such, it is the very opposite of an evolution or progression. Rather, it is a returning to the essential and authentic spirit of the Church, a process of purification and restoration. It is a dramatic manifestation of the war between the spirit of the world (in the meaning of the Gospels) and the Spirit of Christ — which St. Augustine described as the battle of the two cities. In this process all views and practices that are incompatible with Christ are continually eliminated. Such was the reform of St. Gregory VII; such were the reforms of numerous Councils, especially the Council of Trent.

. . . But the Church also has a human, natural aspect. Insofar as it is a human institution composed of frail men, it, too, is exposed to the influence of this alternating rhythm of history. Therefore the Church has the continual mission of rejecting all such influences and presenting anew to humanity the untarnished plentitutde of divine truth and authentic Christian life — that is, the real message of Christ to all men.


(From Trojan Horse in the City of God by Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand published by Sophia Institute Press, 1993)


"I was once admitted to assist at the Mass of Pope Leo XIII," a venerable priest told us, "and no book that I ever read on the Mass, no sermon I ever heard produced on me such a profound impression.

"It is not fifty years since that happy day, and never since have I forgotten that Mass of the Holy Father. Never have I celebrated Mass myself that I have not tried to imitate the devotion he manifested at his Mass.

"The Pope was then eighty-five years of age, and seemed to me feeble and considerably bent as he entered the chapel. When, however, he proceeded to the altar, he was filled with a new life, a new energy.

"He began the Holy Sacrifice absorbed in devotion. All his gestures, all his movements, his slow, distinct utterance of the words showed clearly that he felt that he was in the very presence of God. At the moment of Consecration, his face lit up with a beautiful light, his great eyes shone and his whole expression was as of one looking at, conversing with the Almighty.

"He took the Host in his hands with the utmost reverence and pronounced the solemn words of Consecration, manifestly with a full comprehension of the tremendous act he was performing.

"He then bent his knee as if before the throne of God in Heaven, he raised the Host aloft and gazed at it in rapture, slowly returning it to the corporal.

"He manifested the same unction and living faith at the Consecration of the most Precious Blood.

"Thence on to the Communion, his fervor was visible at every moment.

"At the Agnus Dei he seemed to be speaking face to face with God.

"I do not venture to describe with what love he consumed the Sacred Host and drank the Precious Blood of Jesus.

"And yet the Mass was not very long, the whole ceremony was simple, but so impressive that, as I have said, it has been ever before my eyes for fifty long years."


(From The Wonders of the Mass by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P. published by Tan Books & Publishers, 1993)


The Second Vatican Council:

At the Last Supper, the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus initiated the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, in order to continue the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until His Return. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 47)


St. Bonaventure:

The Mass is a compendium of all God’s love, of all His benefits to men, and each Mass bestows on the world a benefit not less than what was conferred on it by the Incarnation.



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