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Posted February 28, 2006

Book: Book of Readings on the Eucharist
Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, 2006, pp. 98

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Spend time in reflection on the great mysteries of the Eucharist with the Book of Readings on the Eucharist. Let the authors lead you to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist as source and summit. Each chapter with its accompanying reflection questions will bring you to a richer and stronger appreciation for the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of a Catholic. Use the Book of the Readings on the Eucharist as a resource for personal reflection, small group study, or mystagogy with neophytes.

An Excerpt from the Book:

A Community Called by God

Americans are great joiners. In a variety of clubs, fraternities, unions, alliances, movements, and societies, we join with other people who share our social background, interests, or goals. We are always in danger of thinking of the Church as if it were just another organization we decide to join and support — often by consciously embracing an allegiance that is no more than an accident of our birth into a particular family. Seen in this way, our participation in the Church’s life does not look very different from our participation in other kinds of voluntary or professional associations. After all, so much of the Church’s day-to-day life depends on us: our attendance, our response, our support, our devotion, our readiness to volunteer. This way of thinking is abetted by the typically American penchant for forming new denominations and church communities. Our “religious affiliation” is just one more item in our personal profiles.

When we think of the Church in this way, the Eucharist can appear to be little more than a celebration of our fellowship with like-minded people drawn together by their desire to give religious expression to their deepest feelings and by their need to find communal legitimation for their morally earnest commitments. God is indeed to be worshiped in this celebration, but almost as an afterthought. What can become primary in this mindset is the celebration of our being together — our fellowship, our solidarity, our communal identity.

But to think in this way about the Church and the Eucharist is to miss a very important truth. Well before we ever thought of belonging to the Church or of sharing in the Eucharist, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit conceived a plan that would join us to them and to one another in them. Indeed, St. Paul declares that “before the foundation of the world” this plan was already in place. There is a Church only because the triune God has gathered a chosen people to himself. We are members of this Church only because we have been claimed by Christ and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Our participation in the Eucharist brings us into what is, as Pope John Paul II said, nothing less than the “sacramentum unitatis which profoundly marks the Church as a people gathered ‘by’ and ‘in the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

. . . The whole of the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church is directed to fostering our participation in this blessed communion. Indeed, the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church — notably the Eucharist itself — has a deep, underlying trinitarian structure. The Church’s Liturgy expresses the truth that everything in creation and redemption comes from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit all things might return to the Father. This absolutely fundamental Christian truth is captured in the ancient formula: a Patre, per Filium, eius Jesum Christum, in Spiritu Sancto, ad Patrem. This pattern is crucial for a proper understanding of and an effective participation in the Eucharist.

Table of Contents:

1. The Eucharist builds the Church – Pope John Paul II

2. The Holy Eucharist Unites Heaven and Earth – Cardinal Francis Arinze

3. Eucharist in the Church and the world – Cardinal Francis George

4. Theology of the Eucharist — Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk

5. Eucharist and Trinity – Fr. J. Augustine DiNoia, OP

6. Sunday and the Eucharistic celebratio – Msgr. James P. Moroney

7. The Eight Beatitudes of the Eucharistic Prayer – Fr. Charles E. Miller, CM

8. Eucharist as formation for mission – Sr. Ann Rehrauer, OSF

9. Eucharist and justice – Sr. Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS

10. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament — Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, OSB

11. The Eucharist and inculturation — Sr. Doris Mary Turek, SSND

9. Eucharist and justice