Staying In this Weekend

(My desk: clutter/knickknacks/curios and all.)

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t affect my weekly routine until last Tuesday. That’s when Bishop Kettler announced that public Masses in the diocese are suspended until April 13.

The St. Faustina Adoration chapel here in Sauk Centre closed the next day. The good news there is that our Perpetual Adoration schedule hasn’t changed.

The Eucharist was moved to St. Paul’s main sanctuary Wednesday evening. I’ll have a longer walk from the parking lot, but otherwise my weekly hour stays the same.

The Best We Can Do

(From Fr. Greg Paffel, used w/o permission.)
(Frame from Fr. Greg’s March 20, 2020, video message; recorded in St. Faustina’s Chapel of Divine Mercy.)

More good news — the local parishes are setting up an online video Mass.

It’s not a complete substitute for being there.

But I figure it’s the best we can do under the circumstances.

As Bishop Kettler said, part of our mandate is protecting human life and serving the common good. We do both by slowing the spread of a potentially-lethal disease.1

Still more good news — the Church has procedures for folks who don’t have access to sacraments: including the Eucharist, the Most Holy Sacrament.

That includes quite a few acts of spiritual communion, including this one —

“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
(Acts of Spiritual Communion, Archdiocese of New York (March 16, 2020))

The Eucharist and Choices

One of these days I’ll talk about what sacraments are and why they’re important.

But today I’ll stick to the basics.

The Church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Marriage. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1210)

The Eucharist is a big deal because it’s a memorial of our Lord’s messy death and Resurrection. And it’s more than just a memorial. Our Lord is there, really, physically, at each Mass.2 (Catechism, 13221405)

I don’t know how the Eucharist works. None of us do. That’s God-level knowledge. I’d like to have the technical details, but God’s God, I’m not. I’ll settle for accepting the miracle.

What’s surprising, maybe, is how many Catholics aren’t upset by what the Eucharist is. Maybe two millennia have inured us to the gruesome reality. As an adult convert, I may be more aware of eating my Lord’s flesh. Or maybe not.

Besides, like Peter said: ‘it’s not like we have a choice.’

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
“Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
“We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.'”
(John 6:54, John 6:6769)

I do, actually. I could say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to our Lord and walk away. But that would be a very bad idea.

Doing What I Can

Saint Paul's Catholic church, Sauk Centre, November 13, 2009.As I’ve said before, I’m not happy about what’s happening.

I don’t like Mass being suspended, and I don’t enjoy experiencing a pandemic as it sweeps over my part of the world.

But I don’t have to like what’s happening.

So I’ll do what I can: pray, pay attention as circumstances change, and remember what Paul said.

“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.”
(Philppians 1:21)

I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Recent posts:

1 Mass suspended:

2 More about Mass and missing Mass (not an exhaustive link list):

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
This entry was posted in Being, Catholic, Discursive Detours, Journal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Staying In this Weekend

  1. Thank you Brian. Well said and very clearly too.

    God bless.

  2. (Sorry about the delay – a still-unresolved technical glitch kept me from responding earlier. (“The [digital] dog ate my homework??”)

Thanks for taking time to comment!