Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight
The Holy Eucharist and Hope
The greatest source of hope this side of eternity is the Sacrament of hope, the Sacrament of encounter with Christ that is the Holy Eucharist. The document of the Second Vatican Council that begins with the words “joy” and “hope,” Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution On The Church in the Modern World), says:
“Christ left to His followers a pledge of . . . hope and food for the journey in the sacrament of faith, in which natural elements, the fruits of human cultivation, are changed into His glorified body and blood, as a supper of brotherly and sisterly communion and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (38).”
Those who frequent this Sacrament — receiving it often, if not daily — know that one of the fruits of the Sacrament, is the virtue of hope. Gaudium et Spes refers to this sacrament as a “pledge of hope and food for the journey” that Christ left to His followers.
This document of Vatican II opened with these words:
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human, fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the father’s kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity (1).”
In the general intercessions at Holy Mass, we bring the “joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted.” We name those needs and address them to God our Father, through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We know that those pleas to God register with Him, as they come directly to God through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the compassionate and merciful heart of Christ.
When we bring our prayers and petitions to Holy Mass, we should trust that they are heard by God and that God will bring a most fitting response — in His good time, His unique way and His providential plan — to all the prayers of our hearts. We might take them to Christ, with the added prayer: “Jesus, I trust in you.”
“Let us, at this season, approach Him with awe and love, in whom resides all perfection and from whom we are allowed to gain it. Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified….
May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.”