Papal Mass raises questions about role of laity
In light of these news items on Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist....
This article was submitted to me by "Fr. John Doe":
LAITY MUST BE INFORMED THEY RISK BEING SINGLED OUT AS A TARGET BY THE "STRONG MAN OF THIS WORLD" - THE DEVIL WHEN THEY DISTRIBUTE THE HOLY EUCHARIST
"On the flight from Italy to the United States, the Pope was interviewed by the media. On April 15th the Holy Father said: "Only healthy people, ... only people with a profound personal life in Christ and who also have a profound sacramental life can be admitted to the priesthood ... It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests".
We hope, he insisted, "to do everything possible in the future to heal this wound".
A brief meditation upon these comments will of course provide the following conclusions: the Priests who did NOT have “a profound personal life in Christ” gave in to temptation and committed grave sins- the sexual abuse of so many. The Priests who did NOT cultivate daily “a profound sacramental life” were under attack by the Devil and fell from a life of Grace.
In brief, the Priest, because He is so closely configured to Christ, must recognize that without daily spiritual recourse to prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments, he will not be able to withstand the onslaught of the Evil One, the Prince of this world - the Devil.
Therefore a Priest is vowed to pray each day the Divine Office of the Church. It is highly recommended that each Priest offer daily the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The daily recitation of the Rosary is also highly recommended.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen repeated what the saints have stated down through the centuries: for the Priest a Holy Hour each day in the Presence of Our Lord in Holy Communion is absolutely essential for guidance and protection. For the Priest monthly or weekly reception of the Sacrament of Confession brings great Grace and strengthening to the Priest.
Along with all of this, a Priest whose life it is to handle the Most Precious Body of Christ, is a man who should be guided regularly by a Spiritual Director. He must also be a man familiar with mental prayer. The Priest has to understand that his life is also guided by ongoing study which enriches his work.
Without these ESSENTIALS the Priest cannot hope to defend himself against the temptations which are so present-at-hand. When the Priest feeds the flock with the Body of Christ, he holds in his hands every Grace and blessing. In doing so, the Priest is targeted by the Devil for the greatest of trials and temptations. But Jesus warns us to stay close to Him, the Good Shepherd. Jesus said in St. John’s Gospel, “Without Me, you can do nothing.”
Over the last 30+ years, men and women, teenagers and in some cases, even children have been called upon to help in the distribution of Holy Communion. The help of these lay people is requested without considering “spiritual peril” similar to that which was stated above about the Priest.
For lay people, regardless of permissions and rules concerning their service as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, it must be stated that their “service” is seen merely as functional. “We need help!” the Pastor says so lay people are asked to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.
Having spoken with people who have “helped with Communion” for years, it appears that these people are NEVER told that such help, such extraordinary service puts them so close to Christ that they are now at greater risk for “spiritual attack.” How could it be otherwise?
It is absurd and reckless in the extreme to believe that what is true for the Priest is NOT true for the lay person who helps in the distribution of Holy Communion. The words which the Pope spoke to reporters yesterday should serve as a clarion call for all Priests to be daily armed with the spiritual weapons which are essential for “a profound personal life in Christ” - for “a profound sacramental life.”
Hopefully the Pope’s comments about Priests might encourage a discussion of lay people who are regularly called into service which is temporary. It must be recognized that such “temporary service” places in the hands of lay people Holy Communion and that wherever Jesus is, there is also every Grace and blessing. But great temptations loom as well.
It is my opinion that lay people who are to be called into such temporary service adopt ALL of the spiritual weapons which defend the Priest: a daily Holy Hour, the Divine Office, frequent Confession and spiritual direction, daily mental prayer, a daily Rosary, ongoing study, as well as daily attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If they choose not to, they should NOT serve as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist – they should NOT help distribute Holy Communion.
For years, X-Rays were administered without any lead shield, with no lead apron. Great harm was done and only later was the damage discovered. If lay people are given such a tremendous charge as distributing the Body of Christ – without being told of the great spiritual risks to which they are exposed, another form of abuse has occurred. Anyone so intimately united with our Lord in Holy Communion must admit their being singled out as a target by the “strong man of this world” – the Devil. Perhaps the Pope’s words this week will ignite this discussion of such a grave matter."
Thank you Fr. and GOD BLESS YOU and your ministry!
Please pray for all priests!