This is the first of a four-part series on understanding one of the difficulties we will face in implementing a Eucharistic Revival and how we may overcome it.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they could not understand what you were trying to tell them, where it was not only that they disagreed with you but that they genuinely could not understand what you were saying? An example of this would happen almost every time when I was helping couples prepare for marriage. We would talk about the indissolubility of marriage, how when man and wife are joined together by God in Holy Matrimony a bond is created that can only be broken by death. They would agree with this and would state that this is what they were wanting. Then, though, we would start talking about various scenarios that happen in marriages and would talk about what they would do in those scenarios. Despite having earlier agreed that marriage lasts until death, many would see no problem with also stating that if their spouse were unfaithful they would have no trouble divorcing and then marrying someone else. When we got into these scenarios, they could not see that, even in those trying cases, the bond of marriage would still be there. They could not understand it in that way when it came to concrete cases.
As we move deeper into the Eucharistic Revival, I foresee us running into a similar problem. We long for people to have profound encounters with Jesus in the Eucharist. We long for people to have love and longing for attending Mass, for praying in adoration, for receiving Holy Communion. We long for people to experience the transforming love and mercy of Jesus. We long for people to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We know the treasure we have, even if we can never fully plumb the depths of it, and we long for all to share in this treasure with us. But they don’t. And, no matter how many times we declare these truths, declaring these truths will not help them to share in it unless they can understand what we are saying.
"We long for people to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist."
Jesus pointed to this problem of not being able to understand what is being said when at the end of the Parable of the Sower He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). As He explains to the disciples, Jesus is teaching about preaching the Kingdom of God and how some people receive this Good News and how for others it falls on deaf ears. He knows that some people are not going to be able to even hear what He is saying. They will not be able to understand His point.
So, if this is a problem that even Jesus, the Eternal Word, faced, if He had such trouble with people not understanding Him, what are we to do? How do we help our neighbors and our sons and our granddaughters and even our fellow parishioners to hear what we are saying so that they can join us in the peace, the love, the joy, the comfort, the strength, and the consolation that we find in Jesus in the Eucharist? How do we cut through not just the noise of the world to reach them but through the wall of miscommunication so that they can understand what we are saying? How can we help them to have ears to hear what we are saying? This series of articles will attempt an answer to these questions by, first, describing in more detail where some of the lack of understanding lies, second, looking at how Jesus and the saints dealt with this problem, and, third, suggesting some strategies for helping others to have the ears to hear the Good News of Jesus present to us in the Eucharist so that our Eucharistic Revival can bear the fruit we are hoping to see.
Where we are going:
Part 2: Where does the conflict lie?
Part 3: Jesus and the Saints approach to Shifting Understanding
Part 4: Strategies for Moving Forward
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Dr. Seth Wright
Director of Missionary Discipleship
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