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A Leaven In The World… AD 2019: Memory Makes Christ Present

December 31, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

May the Christmas Season be blessed for you with the joy of faith and sustenance of love in Christ the newborn Lord!
Memories are a powerful aid to our humanity and our faith. At Christmas each year as families come together for worship and feasting they discuss their plans for family “traditions.” They carry forward their love and relationships through the rituals of various kinds which surround the sharing of visits, meals, or other common activities.
Simple things such as the light of a candle flame, gathering around the warmth of the fire, taking out old photos, sending cards or giving gifts, communicate truths which may be difficult to truly express finally and fully with words. We are attracted to signs which hold out hope for better and brighter things to come. We seek to share and grow in hope.
The family seeks to go forward in each new Christmas through the shared memories of Christmases past. A common desire to seek the good of togetherness in the present moment impels the yearly resurrection of celebrations from the past. The past becomes a means by which we are always looking toward the future.
The background to all of this is life, the greatest gift and good which makes all the others possible.
God is the source of that life we all share, faithful and faithless, saint and sinner. He, too, blesses the power of memory by conferring the gift of Himself through a ritual conferred together with a command to repeat it. God calls upon us in our most important prayer of the Holy Mass, that by which He makes present the greatest Gift of His Body and Blood, to “Do this in memory of me.”
By the very words which command the faithful to look back, God is once more truly present in the Sacrifice upon the Altar. He who commands of us the humility to follow His direction outdoes the faithful in humility by becoming enslaved, as it were, to the flesh in a new Christmas once again without sacrificing His divine power to save us.
We never go forward in faith without stepping into the unknown from the most solid of foundations which is Christ. We always go back in memory that we may face the future with hope. Only in the contingency of the Flesh which He shares with us is it possible to gain also the most beautiful gift of eternal life which comes only through Him, God and man.
In 2019 we will continue to look back in mind and heart by means of the memory of the Church, through which the gift of faith always becomes also for each of us our own memory. We are incorporated by Baptism into Christ so that, as members of Him, we may by grace through faithfulness in Him go forward by looking back to Him.
His birth at Christmas as God-Man, Incarnate Lord, makes necessary that our faith which carries us forward securely in the future is rooted in the past. God revealed Himself definitively in a particular time and place, at Bethlehem and 2,000 years ago, so as to really and truly be one with us and save us from our sins. That we may be saved by grace through faith, moving toward the horizon of eternal life, we must ever look back in memory to the real birth in time of that grace on Earth.
One of the most powerful consolations a priest can share with the faithful is given through the exercise in Christ of the collective memory of His Body, through time and space, which is ours in the Holy Mass. As the strength of our humanity begins to ebb away in body and mind through the years, and we draw closer to the sunset of life in this world, our earliest memories of the prayers of the Holy Sacrifice come to our aid.
Though one’s mind may be attacked by that disease which gradually destroys memory, one can find even then the remnants of the prayer which the Lord has commanded be offered from the rising to the setting of the sun.
The sun’s daily round through the heavens reminds us that while time flies, eternity awaits. Our prayer of the Savior Himself opens that eternity to our view if only briefly. Thus we are sustained on life’s journey whether brief or lengthy as God disposes.
In this New Year of Our Lord 2019 we recommit ourselves to the weekly shared memory of the gift and mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May our desire for life be expressed through the faith which we put to work in the prayer of the Mass each week. To celebrate His Resurrection weekly on His day, the Lord’s Day, is also to celebrate and renew our own.
This common ritual of the family of God which is His Church, given by God in the saving Passion and death of Christ, not only calls upon the past but, what’s more, really and truly confers the future in the life of grace through the continued sharing of His Resurrection.
Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist never fails to open Heaven for us here and now. When we receive Him our Baptism is fulfilled and we are incorporated really and truly in Him and in the life unending which is His only to give.
The symbol of a new year brings the desire for new possibilities. May these never exclude the reality of life in Christ! May we, in our faithfulness, be granted to receive in a deeper way in heart and mind that same Lord and Savior to fill our days in this coming year with the virtues of faith, hope, and love!
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
@MCITLFrAphorism

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