My Dearest Brother and Sister in Christ, my Friend
Last time, I tried to show You that the Holy Mass, The Eucharist is the revelation of the unfinished of God’s love towards us, and must be measured as a gift.
Today, please let’s see that true love cannot be measured only by feelings. Feelings accompany love as its important element, but are not its essence. Feelings are ambivalent, unstable, variable, and blind. It often happens that those who love ‘in madness’ with affectionate, sensual love, when their feelings burn out or are frustrated, they also hate unto ‘madness’.
Feelings of love and hate are separated by a thin line. In ‘love’ feelings prevail, and hatred is often a bad sister of love. Hateful feelings are nothing but a lethargic feeling of love, questioned by the need for egoistic lust. The literature of intricate human fate is full of descriptions of intrigue and ‘sweet revenge’ of disappointed, suspicious or betrayed lovers. Not many can be as cruel as a betrayed or embittered lover. Love and crime are two intertwined themes in cinematography, theatre and literature.
True human love should not be linked to the pursuit of one’s own needs, desires and multiple selfish passions. True love is expressed in self-giving, in sacrifice, in openness to others, in self-control, in self-denial. This spirit must also penetrate the physical relationships of the spouses. Mature love brings peace, order and harmony.
The quality of human love is determined primarily by the inner freedom. When this freedom is lacking, love’s passion easily changes into mutual coercion, manipulation, enslavement, tyranny. Freedom in love relationship is an important criterion of mature love. Only in freedom can we accept the love of others and offer it to them. Only in freedom can we share the same feelings that Jesus Christ had. The deeper our inner freedom, the more we are capable of loving.
By participating in the Eucharist, which is the highest sacrifice God made for us, we should ask ourselves: What is my loving sacrifice, with God, with men and with myself? If there is a lack of self-sacrifice, the effort to deny ourselves, then the assurance of love will be reduced to words without meaning – Our life should become a Mass.
The post-conciliar changes in the Church in the second half of the twentieth century have resulted in the abolition of many formal and rigorous regulations relating to ecclesiastical discipline or liturgy over the centuries. Some of them were very cumbersome because they favoured the formation of fears of conscience. As a teenage altar server, I remember the stories of priests who told me that in the days before the Council, some older priests spoke with great fear, the words of consecration during the Mass. For there was a provision that the voluntary abandonment of one word in the Mass could be considered a serious sin.
These types of regulations have been abolished. However, many read this falsely as a manifestation of the ‘lowering’ of the demands of the practice of faith and morals. When faith costs little, it does not have much impact on personal, family, professional or social life. The Eucharist reminds us that for our faith we pay with our lives. Participation in the Eucharist raises the following questions: What influence does the Holy Mass have on our desires, decisions, actions and our way of life: work, rest, family life, working life, relations with our neighbours?
The Eucharist asks us whether the Gospel has something to say to us in critical moments of life: family conflicts, personal crises, moments of danger, life failures, moments of despair, fear of oneself, and future? In short, what is the relationship of the Gospel to our lives? Our daily life should be a response to the Eucharist. A Christian is a man who makes an effort and sacrifice to overcome himself. The Eucharist enables us to win over ourselves, to overcome our afflictions in love and friendship. It grants not only the crucified love, but also the resurrected, victorious love.
If we are so often overcome by life, through various passions, egoism, fear, comfort, sensuality, pride or the desire to retaliate, it is precisely because our participation in the Eucharist remains only formal, external. We must learn to participate in the Eucharist, which would become a ‘school of true love’ for us. The Eucharist is meant to carry us from the desire to love others to the desire to sacrifice ourselves for others; from love, which is above all experienced as a need, to a mature love that is a gift.
Let us ask ourselves whether we thank God in the gift of the Eucharist for the fact that Jesus truly introduces us to the mystery of the Father’s love for us. Please, let us deepen our hearts to discover that in the Eucharist the gracious and unselfish will of God for the salvation of all humanity is present in this world, touchable and visible.
Do we ask that the Eucharist be the centre of our whole inner life, the summit of our prayer, the point at which all our human struggles, efforts and sacrifices cross? Do we pray for a great love for the Eucharist, which will express itself in the constant study of this great mystery of faith?
With love, friendship and prayers – Fr Marcin