More reflection on liberation, which, we should all realize, is not a political dirty word for conservatives, but a quality of freedom which is an aspiration human, and God-willed.
30. It is well known in what terms numerous bishops from all the continents spoke of this at the last Synod, especially the bishops from the Third World, with a pastoral accent resonant with the voice of the millions of sons and daughters of the Church who make up those peoples. Peoples, as we know, engaged with all their energy in the effort and struggle to overcome everything which condemns them to remain on the margin of life: famine, chronic disease, illiteracy, poverty, injustices in international relations and especially in commercial exchanges, situations of economic and cultural neo-colonialism sometimes as cruel as the old political colonialism. The Church, as the bishops repeated, has the duty to proclaim the liberation of millions of human beings, many of whom are her own children- the duty of assisting the birth of this liberation, of giving witness to it, of ensuring that it is complete. This is not foreign to evangelization.
Would today’s institution, today’s pope, word it nearly in this way? The problem remains, and EN 30 describes the problem succinctly: people in the world spend more of themselves and their resources just treading very uncertain waters. Christ preached freedom from it in the Gospels. He blessed those who suffer. Can we do no less than preach as Christ did? And if we do so, are we not committed to agitating for change alongside sisters and brothers who suffer in ways we would not imagine. Or tolerate.
Vatican II, especially in the post-conciliar working out of the liturgical directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium, addressed how we find Christ and relate to him in the reserved Eucharist and what impact this has on the Mass, and how the Mass influences devotion and worship beyond its boundaries.
§ 71 § The Second Vatican Council led the Church to a fuller understanding of the relationship between the presence of the Lord in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist and in the reserved Sacrament, and of the Christian’s responsibility to feed the hungry and to care for the poor. As the baptized grow to understand their active participation in the Eucharist, they will be drawn to spend more time in quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle, and be impelled to live out their relationship in active charity. In reverent prayer before the reserved Eucharist, the faithful give praise and thanksgiving to Christ for the priceless gift of redemption and for the spiritual food that sustains them in their daily lives. Here they learn to appreciate their right and responsibility to join the offering of their own lives to the perfect sacrifice of Christ during the Mass (SC 48) and are led to a greater recognition of Christ in themselves and in others, especially in the poor and needy. Providing a suitable place for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament is a serious consideration in any building or renovation project.
I’m not sure the connection to apostolic service is all that clear. Clearly, we have recent innovations in the dismissal from the Eucharist that attempt to make it more clear. My sense is that there’s a broad hope that prayer inspires action. That prayer includes Eucharistic adoration. We trust the working of grace in the lives of believers, and therefore, like other encounters with God, the worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass should open us to grace in the same way that meditating on the Bible or that praying the rosary would.
That said, we’re talking about design. Is there any way the place for the reservation of the Eucharist can assist in the impulses described above as ideals? Or will any old way suffice, and we just pray that the connections will be obvious and God-given?
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.