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Fifth Luminous Mystery: Institution of the Eucharist

Monday, September 15, 2014
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15).

The fifth and final Luminous Mystery recalls the institution of the Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life. This sacrament is a sign of God’s self-sacrificing love for us and His desire that we should be united with Him. As Pope Benedict writes, “In this eager desire of Jesus we can recognize the desire of God Himself – His expectant love for mankind, for His creation. A love which awaits the moment of union, a love which wants to draw mankind to itself and thereby fulfil the desire of all creation, for creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God” (cf. Rom 8:19).

Beautiful and comforting as God’s infinite love for us is, it can also be overwhelming. In the face of such love, if we reflect on our lives properly, then we may well feel distinctly unworthy. This is not a bad thing, the words of the Mass (“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you...”) acknowledge this, yet we are encouraged by the Church to make whatever reparations are necessary and go forward to receive our Lord, and grow in communion with Him and those around us.

The French writer, Francois Mauriac, expresses this beautifully:
There is a mysterious mingling of conflicting feelings in the man who is about to receive Holy Communion: fear and confidence, open-heartedness and remorse, shame and love. The small Host which the sinner approaches throws an impartial and terrible light on irretrievable deeds: on that which he has done, on that which he should not have refrained from doing. No man knows himself if he has not looked at his soul in the light of the Host lifted above the ciborium…

Salvador Dali's, Last Supper

Yet all the misdeeds that the communicant sees at a glance are no longer his; someone else has taken them over since the pardon of Christ has come down on his soul with the absolution of the priest. His misery, far from driving him into despair, helps him understand how much he has been loved…

What is almost always obtained through frequent Communion is a grace which surpasses all perceptible favours; an increased light and, better still, a new strength in God."


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