In some corners of the Catholic news world, ever since the papal trip to the Philippines, there has been discussion about the desecration of the Holy Eucharist that took place at at least one of the large outdoor Masses that the Holy Father celebrated. (It is doubtful that anyone intended actually to desecrate the Eucharist – let us be clear that we are not judging anyone’s conscience – but the fact is, the profanation did happen; it is on video.)
We have a need to make reparation for our own offenses against God, as well as for those of others. Some people offend God without realizing it; others do so with some degree of knowledge that what they are doing is wrong and displeasing to him. Especially for those who are offending the Lord without realizing it – and for the many times that we ourselves have done so – we need to make reparation.
I think, therefore, that we all should take a moment to say some prayers of reparation for this particularly egregious offense against our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament that was recently committed, surely with all good intentions. In the Papal Mass in the Philippines, amidst the crowd of millions, people passed the Blessed Sacrament to each other, sometimes dropping it in the mud, often with wet hands, and surely with particles falling along the way. This is one of the tragic results of mega Masses in which it is sought to distribute communion to everyone at all costs. (Read about it here and ESPECIALLY here, for some insightful commentary. After I started writing this post several days ago, Diane Korzeniewski began posting about this topic also. Her two posts, here and here, are very worthwhile.)
The fact is, the only ones who ever have an obligation to receive Holy Communion during a Mass are the celebrant and any concelebrants. Everyone else may make a spiritual communion. I would love to see a “mega Mass” at which someone even steps up to the pulpit at communion time to lead the faithful in a spiritual communion prayer, instead of attempting to distribute the Blessed Sacrament, often at considerable risk of profanation, to thousands or millions of people.
This latest desecration is one of the effects of the extremely ill-advised practice of giving and receiving Holy Communion in the hand: a loss of reverence and even belief in the Real Presence, and/or a certain casualness and familiarity that has catastrophic results! “We must receive communion at all costs – even the cost of offending our Lord who is really and truly present in this host that I am passing around in a precarious manner!” We need to make reparation! Lord have mercy!
And I would like to say yet again, as I have various times before in this space (here, for example), I hope that those who currently receive in the hand will stop doing so immediately and evermore receive Holy Communion on the tongue.
We need to make reparation. Here is one prayer that we could say:
My Lord Jesus Christ, only Way to the Father,
Son of God, Divine Redeemer, Savior of the world: I worship, adore, and glorify You.
I offer to You infinite praise for the sublime gift of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
the sacrament of Your Sacred Body and Precious Blood.
I beg of You mercy, grace, and peace upon this unworthy world,
and especially upon Your Holy Catholic Church.
I offer to You, O Eucharistic Lord, my adoration, prayer, study, and good works,
my hardships, humiliations, temptations, and daily crosses.
I accept them and I offer them up to You in reparation for countless offenses
against the Holy Eucharist.
I offer them for irreverent bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people,
for heresies, schisms, and apostasies, for errors, trivialities, and novelties
preached in place of Catholic truth, for deliberate violations of Church laws,
for countless liturgical abuses, for illicit additions and omissions,
for reluctance to bend the knee, for familiarity with the sacred,
for scandalous behavior at the altar, for perfunctory devotion and unworthy communions,
for unbelief and lukewarm faith, for immodest dress and profane music,
for talk and laughter before the tabernacle, for the neglect that is sacrilege,
for the laxity that is blasphemy, for the ignorance that is indifference to revealed truth,
and for every evil assault upon the sanctity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In reparation for all such godlessness
which daily occurs within Your Holy Catholic Church,
I offer to You, O Lord Jesus Christ, all the difficulties of my life,
and most especially the anguish I feel at the sight and sound of irreverence
before the Holy Eucharist.
All that You have given to me I accept and offer up to You,
my Eucharistic Lord, in reparation for countless offenses
thrown at Your Most Holy Presence.
Have mercy upon Your Church, O Lord. Defend her against the attacks of the devil.
Fill her with Your Spirit of Truth. Embolden her with missionary zeal.
Animate her with the deepest devotion. Arm her with saints and scholars.
Guide and protect Your vicar on earth. Bless Your clergy and religious.
Inspire the faithful to serve You as courageous soldiers of Christ.
And may Your Holy Gospel be proclaimed to all the nations and to the end of time,
with fortitude and perfect fidelity, for the salvation of souls
and the glory of Your Thrice-Holy Name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lord, have mercy on us all. Lord, forgive them: they knew not what they were doing.