Ecclesia de Eucharistia 8

More personal reflections from Pope John Paul II:

8. When I think of the Eucharist, and look at my life as a priest, as a Bishop and as the Successor of Peter, I naturally recall the many times and places in which I was able to celebrate it. I remember the parish church of Niegowić, where I had my first pastoral assignment, the collegiate church of Saint Florian in Krakow, Wawel Cathedral, Saint Peter’s Basilica and so many basilicas and churches in Rome and throughout the world. I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths, on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares… This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation. The Son of God became man in order to restore all creation, in one supreme act of praise, to the One who made it from nothing. He, the Eternal High Priest who by the blood of his Cross entered the eternal sanctuary, thus gives back to the Creator and Father all creation redeemed. He does so through the priestly ministry of the Church, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Truly this is the mysterium fidei which is accomplished in the Eucharist: the world which came forth from the hands of God the Creator now returns to him redeemed by Christ.

Of all the priests in history, JP2 likely celebrated Mass in more different places than any of them. It is understandable he would have that “cosmic!” perspective. Pope Benedict also spoke of a related theme in discussing the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

It’s the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host. Let’s pray to the Lord that he help us be priests in this sense, to help in the transformation of the world in adoration of God, beginning with ourselves.

Does the universal, cosmic perspective inspire deeper faith, a deeper connection to Christ? The last two popes seem to have thought so. Or at least been open to the notion.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Ecclesia de Eucharistia 8

  1. FrMichael says:

    As one who has attended or celebrated Masses in many different countries– although I’m a mere piker compared to JP2!– I appreciate this point quite well. Probably my all-time favorite Mass was one in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City I attended one summer while studying Spanish. It was a anticipated Mass for a Sunday in Ordinary Time in the front chapel; maybe we were 200 strong but us three were the only foreigners. I attended along with two other students, both teenagers, as we had spent the day visiting Guadalupe and the Zocalo (the downtown main square of Mexico City). One teen was a “non-practicing” Unitarian, the other a Catholic whose dad was a chancery official but was at the age where he was questioning his faith and why he was Catholic. Nothing notable about the homily or the rest of the Mass– in fact, my two charges were unable to understand much of the words — but all three of us came away moved by the Mass. The sense of prayer and the unity of the Church Catholic stretched beyond the limits of nationality, language, and even belief. It made one very thankful to be Catholic.

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