Today we look at the third of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s Eucharistic homilies in this four-part series. Although it is unclear when he first preached this homily, we know it was intended for the feast of Corpus Christi. Ratzinger also felt it was important enough to include in another one of his books entitled, God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life (2003). In this homily, Ratzinger reflects on the three distinctive elements that emphasize the reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and are present in the celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi: standing before the Lord, walking with the Lord, and kneeling before the Lord.READ MORE
Today’s second installment of the four-part series on Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s Eucharistic homilies comes from one given on the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time in 1979. For context, the first reading on that Sunday was from Deuteronomy. It recounts Moses speaking to the Israelites about the goodness of God, who provided the people a law that allows them to know His will. In return for their obedience to His law, God promises blessings on His people.
Ratzinger begins His homily by quoting a line from the first reading: “What great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (Deut 4:7). He says that this statement is an expression of joy and gratitude because God had made Himself so available to the Israelites and present amongst them in His law. Now, if the Israelites have this much joy and gratitude for God’s presence in the law, Ratzinger asks how much more joy and gratitude ought we to have because we have God present with us in the Eucharist? With the Eucharist comes a new depth to the presence of God as He truly and physically dwells with us and makes His flesh available to us, which we can experience with our physical senses. We can see Him, touch Him, and taste Him in a way that was not available to the people of the Old Testament.READ MORE
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later, Pope Benedict XVI, was one of the greatest and most prolific theologians of our modern times, contributing volumes of written work to the treasury of our faith. In 2008, Benedict put together a volume called Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy, which consisted of his previous writings. These writings were all written before he became Pope and covered every aspect of the liturgy. In part C, which deals specifically with the Eucharist, Benedict included four homilies he gave during the late 1970s and early 1980s on the Eucharist. As we find ourselves in the midst of the Church-declared Eucharistic Revival, I thought it might be interesting to examine the Cardinal’s thoughts concerning the Eucharist, since they were written much closer to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. To that end, today begins a four-part series in which I aim to summarize these homilies.READ MORE
When most non-Catholic Christians go to church on Sundays, they undoubtedly participate in many good and wonderful things. They offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God. They listen to the Word of God spoken through scripture and they come to an understanding of what His Word means for them practically in their lives. Often, they praise God in song, lifting their hearts and voices to the heavens, proclaiming His glory. All these things, in and of themselves, are good, but all of them independently lack the supernatural realities that can only be found in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If you aren’t aware of it yet, my hope is that by the end of this article you will come to realize that when you attend any and every Mass, you are in the middle of the most amazing experience in the world.READ MORE
Most Catholics, especially converts to the Catholic Faith, have heard this assertion at some point: Catholics worship and pray to Mary and the saints. Of course, we know this statement is not true because we know we only worship the one Triune God and that our salvation comes only from Jesus, on whom all of our liturgical activity is centered. That said, it is certainly true that we give special honor to Mary and the saints.READ MORE
I have previously written about topics such as angels and spiritual warfare, both of which can be found on my website. However, I have not yet specifically addressed the demonic world and its influence over us as we navigate our path to holiness and hopefully to heaven. To prepare for this article, I used a book entitled: The Devil’s Role in the Spiritual Life: St. John of the Cross’ Teaching on Satan’s Involvement at Every Stage of Spiritual Growth, by Cliff Ermatinger. Rather than summarize the book’s extensive analysis, I will instead extract a few key points about how Satan and his demons target us.READ MORE
We hear it all the time in many situations: Seek God’s will. Thy will be done. Place God’s will over your own. Be obedient to God’s will in your life. Ask God to reveal His will for your life. The list goes on.
We know that we always ought to do God’s will in every situation, with the trust that His way is always the best way, bringing about the greatest good. We also know that when we don’t seek to do His will, we often find ourselves caught up in sin or on unfulfilling paths. Sometimes God’s will for you in a particular setting or in making a decision is very clear to you, leaving little doubt. Other times, God’s will for you is not so clear and you’re not quite sure what you ought to do.READ MORE