More than a century and half ago,
“Alas, it is but too true: Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is not loved! He is not loved by millions of pagans, by millions of infidels, by the millions of schismatics and heretics who either do not know anything of the Eucharist or have no notions about it. Among so many thousands of creatures in whom God has placed a heart capable of loving, how many would love the Blessed Sacrament if only they knew it as I do! Must I not at least try to love it for them in their stead? Even among Catholics, few, very few love Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. How many think of Him frequently, speak of Him, come to adore Him? What is the reason for this forgetfulness and coldness? People have never experienced the Eucharist, its sweetness, the delights of His Love. They have never known the goodness of Jesus! They have no idea of the extent of His love in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Some of them have faith in Jesus Christ, but a faith so lifeless and superficial that it does not reach the heart, that it contents itself with what is strictly required by conscience for their salvation. Moreover, these last are but a handful among so many other Catholics who live like moral Pagans as if they had never heard of the Eucharist.”
Things have not improved much since this lover of the Eucharist uttered these words.
When will we stop ignoring the elephant that sits so prominently in our Churches – the rampant disbelief in and lack of reverence for the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Polls indicate that fewer and fewer Catholics believe this fundamental and essential truth of their faith. Some polls conclude that as little as 30 percent of Catholics who attend Sunday Mass actually believe that Jesus is really and substantially present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Sacred Eucharist.
This is the greatest crisis confronting our Church today. Yet when was the last time you heard this issue addressed from the pulpit?
Which topic would you think is more deserving of being the subject of three successive weeks of preaching: the lack of belief in and reverence for the Holy Eucharist or the need to increase weekly collections?
You might be surprised at the choices some Dioceses have made in determining the relative importance of these two matters. For some, more money in the weekly collection baskets rather than an all out effort to catechize and foster reverence and belief in the Eucharistic Christ is the preferred solution to the crisis of unbelief infecting Christ’s Church. What a tragic choice.
We have permitted this destructive elephant of irreverence and disbelief to feel far too comfortable and welcome in our Churches. Evicting this faith destroying monster from our midst must be priority number one.