Lectio Divina · Mass

“Bring Him All the Praise You Know” by Callie Nowlin

Editor’s Note: In our overly busy lives it’s often difficult to find quiet time to break open the Word of God and sit at the feet of the Master (as Mary did with Jesus). Oftentimes, we are so occupied we become like Martha, “worried and upset about many things,” while in reality there is need of “only one thing,” — that which Mary chose: the “better part,” the gift of faith. (Luke 10:39-42)

As such, we introduce Callie Nowlin, MTS, a convert turned Latin teacher, catechist, and blogger with a passion for Scripture and helping others on their journey toward Christ. She will help us walk with Scripture throughout the year. Every month she will help us break down a different Scripture passage.

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

 

Steps to Lectio Divina

Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.

Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God’s word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.

The Scripture

From the Gospel for June 18, 2017, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. (John 6:51-58)

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:59e96ae384cd3075bca958361216195e.jpg
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Reflection

In the Gospel, Jesus declares himself the living bread. And from this statement of fact, we are invited to respond in three distinct ways: to believe something that on the surface is illogical, to enter more deeply into mystery, and to actually worship God as fully present in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is a central mystery of our faith, in fact it is the source and the summit.  And yet on the surface, the mystery of transubstantiation challenges reason. Belief in the real presence is first and foremost an act of faith. And today we are reminded not to take this act of faith lightly, or without thought.

Entering anew into mystery means considering the Real Presence not so much as a doctrine to be taught, but more as an invitation to fall down i

n worship before a loving and ever-present God.

As such, I urge you today to join me in worshiping our true God and King. Hear His word. Hear His call upon your heart. Let it bear fruit. Let us now worship the living God, present in the Eucharist, with our voices, our hearts, and especially our lives.

Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
Christ, your king and shepherd true:
Bring Him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow
Never can you reach his due.
(Sequence – Lauda Sion, Lectionary 167)

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Originally Published at the NTC here.

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intentional living · Mass

“People Watching at Mass” by Callie Nowlin

I have a confession to make. I have developed a habit during Mass that might look a little odd at first glance. Essentially its people watching, but what I am actually doing is looking for Christ in the Mass.

Take this past week for example. A family with young children were in front of me. Toys multiplied, children climbed on Mom, boy sprawled across the pew with eyes staring up at me. Those eyes by the way, said very clearly that he was at this point more than ready to go home after the eternity of the hour they were experiencing. Anyone who knows me would likely expect this would be a recipe for disaster, especially if I am trying to pray. However, these are some of the most precious moments to me in Mass.

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We are taught that Christ is present in the Mass in the priest, the Gospel, the Sacrament, and the people gathered in sacrifice. That is one way to say that he is wonderfully present throughout the Mass.

Some people I know worship quite austerely and devoutly. Their bodies seem rigid and quiet. And when I see them praying, I tend to feel like a “bad German.” Not that I care but even as a convert I have a twinge of German Catholic guilt in the back of my mind. One of the ways that I worship, however, is by taking it all in. Jesus, whom I adore, is present and I don’t want to miss a thing.

  • People shifting in their seat during a difficult homily? Jesus is there.
  • An individual begrudgingly being conscripted into serving as an usher because someone thought it would be nice if the young would participate in Mass? Jesus is there.
  • A priest pausing to adjust the height of the missal in the hands of an altar server? Jesus is there.

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For me being aware of all of the people, the art, and the music, in the sanctuary, is not a distraction. Rather, for me it is deep prayer. I may not be able to understand how God is present in the incidental or the mundane, but I always welcome His presence and His insight into His person and nature.   It allows me to pray for and with those present, and it allows me in a limited way to hear God speak to His people.

I am not claiming anything audacious here. I am no more a prophet than the next baptized Christian. But as Christians we are not alone in this relationship. It is necessarily communal. And when Christ is offering himself in the utmost humility of bread and wine to you, he offers it in the sight of all.

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I am reminded of when a young man kneels in public to ask for the hand of a lady in marriage. So, to here Jesus waits for yours and my response. Will you accept with joy? Will you brush it off as mundane and expected? Will you utterly reject Him? And once again I am left in awe of his wonderful love for us. These are the kinds of thoughts that may go through my mind during Mass, as I watch the people around me.

So, I ask for your forgiveness in advance, in case my eyes may wander in Mass, or if you notice me staring at something or even yourself during the liturgy. I assure you I am not really looking at you.

I am looking at Jesus, whom I love.

People Watching Looking at Jesus