Presentation on theme: "General Prefecture of Spirituality. It is an initiative within the second stage of the “Eucharist-Life Project”. Its aim is to underline some aspects."— Presentation transcript:
General Prefecture of Spirituality
It is an initiative within the second stage of the “Eucharist-Life Project”. Its aim is to underline some aspects of the Eucharistic dimension of our Claretian spirituality in order to foster better integration of the same.
Taking into account that many people have little time to read long books or articles, I have chosen a light instrument. It is very short – only one page – and easy to read. It can help us be aware of some probably neglected aspects.
At the beginning of every month, two pages will be sent. I ask you, as the one responsible for the Prefecture of Spirituality in your Province or Delegation, to send these pages to all communities so that they may be placed on the community boards or even be given to each individual.
Their format is A-4. If in your country a different format is used, you yourself can make the necessary adjustment. The ideal would be to print the sheet in color in A-3 format (for community posters). If this is not advisable or possible, it can be photocopied in black and white. All sheets are available at
“Fraternal life is best symbolized and brought to perfection in the Eucharist, which is the sign of unity and the bond of love” (Constitutions, 12) SIGN OF UNITY AND BOND OF LOVE Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist together we defeat the demons of individualism and rivalry. The best of ourselves becomes an offering to the Father. Our dark zones are enlightened. The Eucharist restores the joy of belonging to “the group that seeks the Lord.” Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist we become, by God’s grace, a parable of the world that God dreams of, we show that, in the middle of our weaknesses, the grace of God is always sovereign, that living together and loving one another just as Christ does is possible today. Do I enjoy celebrating the Eucharist with my community? Do I joyfully believe that the Lord gives us the gift of living as brothers whenever we share his Word and His Body and Blood? LIVING UNITED ALSO MEANS EATING TOGETHER EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality Sometimes we do not sufficiently appreciate this treasure we have been granted. We look for excuses not to celebrate the Eucharist together. We do it only on special occasions. The Constitutions invite us to open our eyes and our hearts. What we are is fully achieved when we celebrate the Lord’s supper. Then we understand what means Christ to a community of disciples. Celebrating together helps us live from an Eucharistic perspective, to be encouraged by the Word of God and to become “bread” for others in the “existential Eucharist” of our daily life.
“We should remember all our brothers who have gone before us in the service of the Gospel, commending them to the Lord with the prescribed prayers, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist” (Constitutions, 19) REMEMBERING OUR DEPARTED BROTHERS Over 4,000 Claretians have already gone to the house of the Father since the foundation of our Congregation. The “glorious” community is already larger than the “pilgrim” one. There is a bond of life among all of us within the mystery of the communion of saints. Love never forgets. Those who preceded us did not live and die in vain. They were Jesus’ followers and our brothers. Remembering them does not mean only to evoke sentiments, to applaud their works, to silence their weak aspects and to share some stories about them. Do I remember in the Eucharist our departed brothers as an expression of faith and love for them? How can I make the Masses celebrated for those who have gone before us more meaningful? TO LOVE OUR BROTHERS IS TO INCORPORATE THEM INTO CHRIST’S SACRIFICE EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality The best remembrance is to incorporate their lives into the Eucharistic Mystery so that they might share the resurrection of Christ. We pray everyday for our beloved departed brothers with our Necrologius. The Claretian Calendar reminds us of only a few. Would it be possible to remember each one of them in the daily Mass? The table of the Eucharist will not be a true one without putting on it “those brothers who have gone before us in the service of the Gospel”. Let us also celebrate every year the Masses prescribed by our Directory.
“In the first place, every day we should wholeheartedly celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist, Keeping close to Christ our Lord as he proclaims the words of life, offers himself for his brothers and sisters, honors his Father and builds up the unity of the Church. We should cherish conversation with Christ our Lord by visiting and worshipping him in the Holy Eucharist” (Constitutions, 35) CELEBRATION AND EUCHARISTIC ADORATION In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God: “Give us each day our daily bread.” The Eucharist is the only bread that we need. This is why we celebrate it every day on our road of life with diverse Christian communities, with our own brothers, on travels, when we are alone, when circumstances require. We never refuse the fresh bread offered to us daily by our Father. We celebrate the Eucharist, over all, to unite ourselves with the Lord. We welcome his word, we join with his sacrifice and praise to the Father, through him we build up a community of brothers. Do I daily celebrate the Eucharist, not just as a routine, but filled with the Spirit? How can I put more meaning into my visits to the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic adoration? THE FATHER GIVES US EACH DAY OUR DAILY BREAD EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality The Eucharist goes beyond the actual celebration: it extends throughout the day. In the tradition of the Church and in the practice of our Founder there are two practices which help us continue a Eucharistic tone in our missionary life: visits to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Constitutions ask us to develop these practices with “great devotion”. Unity with the Lord, lived with intensity, will produce in us fruits of new life. Our mission will have a new vitality. It is always possible to continue growing.
“Through our celebration of the Eucharist and our praise of God we will receive the strength we need in order to grow in Christian life and become more productive in our ministry” (Constitutions, 35) THE EUCHARIST, FONT OF STRENGTH AND VITALITY Daily life, ours and the world’s, is always being threatened. We often feel weak in living-out our human and Christian vocation with fidelity. Where does our strength come from? The Eucharist gives us “the necessary strength to grow in the life of Christ.” It is the bread of Christian maturity. The Eucharist helps us to see reality as God sees it. It widens our point of view. It cleanses us of our selfish attitudes. It broadens our capacity for selflessness. It helps us to conform to Christ who died for love. Without the Eucharist we will never know how to love as Christ has loved us. How is the Eucharist helping me to face the challenges of life and to grow personally? In what way is the Eucharist making my ministry more fruitful? WE ARE WHAT WE EAT EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality Often we ask ourselves why our pastoral activities do not produce the results we want. It seems that there is a big gap between what we do and the little fruit of conversion that is produced. With the Eucharist “our ministry is made each time more fruitful”. United to the Eucharistic Christ we are converted into multipliers of His bread. Our works, through the action of the Holy Spirit, convert the buried grain of wheat into a choice harvest. Without the Eucharist we can be excellent professionals, but not good missionaries.
“They [the novices] should cling wholeheartedly to Christ our Lord, especially in the mystery of the Eucharist, since they are planning to share in his life and ministry.” (Constituciones, 61) “They [the novices] should cling wholeheartedly to Christ our Lord, especially in the mystery of the Eucharist, since they are planning to share in his life and ministry.” (Constituciones, 61) UNITED TO CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST Jesus tells us: “As long as you remain in me and I in you, you bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). The union with Christ is the foundation of our missionary life as well as its goal. It is clearly stated in our Constitutions when they speak of what the novices need to profess in our Congregation. Among the different means that unite us to Christ, the most important one is the Eucharist. It is for this reason that we are invited to live it as an experience of union with Christ “wholeheartedly.” In what experiences of my life do I feel more “wholeheartedly” united to Christ? Do I live the Eucharist as the most important moment of my union with Christ? UNITED TO CHRIST WE ALWAYS BEAR FRUIT In what experiences of my life do I feel more “wholeheartedly” united to Christ? Do I live the Eucharist as the most important moment of my union with Christ? UNITED TO CHRIST WE ALWAYS BEAR FRUIT EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus caritas est, 1). The encounter with the person of Jesus Christ has directed our life definitively towards God and –like Claret– impels us to work so that God may be known, loved, served and praised. The Eucharist makes this possible in our lives.
“Since they themselves [the missionary priests] have been conformed through the Sacrament of Orders to Christ the Priest, in whose person they act, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, they should share in his death and life in such a way that they awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord's presence in the human community” (Constitutions, 83) TO ACT IN CHRIST’S PERSON IN THE EUCHARIST TO ACT IN CHRIST’S PERSON IN THE EUCHARIST The expression “to act in Christ’s person” sounds quite strange to many people, probably because we understand it in a wrong way. One of the temptations of priests when they preside over the Eucharist is to think that they themselves are the ones who preside, bless and send. Even some liturgical greetings are changed. It is not the same to say “The Lord be with us” than to say “The Lord be with you.” It is not properly the priest the one who greets the congregation. In the Eucharist, Christ himself gives us his grace and peace. It is He who blesses, breaks and gives us his Body and Blood. Do I live with gratitude and commitment my vocation of acting in Christ’s person? Do I try to awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence? TO ACT IN CHRIST’S PERSON IS TO SHARE IN HIS DEATH AND LIFE Do I live with gratitude and commitment my vocation of acting in Christ’s person? Do I try to awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence? TO ACT IN CHRIST’S PERSON IS TO SHARE IN HIS DEATH AND LIFE EUCHARIST-LIFE PROJECT – General Prefecture of Spirituality To preside over the Eucharist is a constant exercise of transparency and humility so that all clearly may see that the one who convokes and presides us is Christ himself. The celebration of the Eucharist signifies a double commitment for priests: on one hand, to share in the death and life of Christ and, on the other hand, to awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence. The one who blesses the bread and the wine becomes food for others, accepts to be broken and given in the ways of life.Only those who become bread, servants like Jesus, can awaken in others the remembrance of the Lord’s presence. Deeds are always more eloquent than words.