One hundred twenty-three (123) weeks ago today my wife and I entered the Catholic Church. This past Monday we traveled to Zanesville, OH, to tape our story for the television program “Journey Home” that airs on the Catholic cable station EWTN.
When we first entered the Church there were many questions about our journey and I tried to answer some of them through this blog. About 15 months ago I made the last entry. I don’t know how many times since that I have thought about taking it up again, but didn’t.
It seems appropriate on this day that Catholics celebrate the life, ministry and sainthood of Fr. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, that I would return to this and recommit myself to this mode of communication.
John Vianney lived in France from 1786-1859. He was four years old when the French Revolution forever changed the face of France and altered drastically religious life for the French. It was a time when priests had to go into hiding and put their lives in danger to serve and administer the Sacraments to their parishioners. John felt the effects of this turmoil; it hindered his education, to the point that when he later entered seminary to prepare for the priesthood he struggled due to a subpar educational preparation.
Eventually as a priest he was assigned to the small village of Ars where he spent 40 years as the parish pastor. John dedicated himself to the renewal of spiritual life of those in his sphere of ministry. Daily he would spend 11 to 12 hours hearing confessions. By 1855, 20,000 pilgrims traveled annually to Ars to be ministered to by Fr. Vianney. When he died over 300 priests and 6,000 people attended his funeral.
As Catholics we believe that the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our faith. In a world that is constantly shifting, even as our faith and our Church is challenged on a daily basis, we can receive graces and strength from receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, even daily, in the Mass.
St. John Vianney said, “If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man”.
This morning at the Mass, as in every Mass, after the celebrant declares, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of Lamb,” we respond, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Jesus in the Eucharist–there is nothing more needed to content our hearts!