Sunday, December 13, 2015

the only hands and lips worthy to touch the Body of Christ

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Nowhere is the essence of spiritual motherhood seen and experienced than in Mary's intercession during our reception of the Holy Eucharist.  We often think of intercession as "praying for" but the etymology of the word is "a going between, coming between, mediation."  And nowhere is this kind of intercession needed more than when we receive the Eucharist; for our lips and hands are always stained by our sin.  Christ comes to us in a state of complete self-humiliation and the deeper our faith becomes the more we see how great the price of this self-humiliation is and its potential increase in our reception of his Body and Blood.  Such a vision of faith would cast us into utter desolation if it did not also allow us to see Mary interceding for us at that moment of reception - standing between us and Christ.  Fr. Tadeusz tells us:  "Hers are the only human hands and the only human lips that are clean and immaculate, that are worthy to touch the body of Christ.  When you strive to lessen the Self-humiliation of Christ by asking Mary to receive Him for you and through you, then you give praise to the kenosis of the True God and the True Man." Behold your Mother - who takes you in her embrace in order that you may worthily and with pure hands and lips receive her Son!

Dear daughters, in your spiritual motherhood, pray that Mary will be with the priests of the Church who daily take into their hands and receive with their lips the Body and Blood of Christ.  Pray that they may seek to stay close to Mary that they may offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with mind and hearts made pure through her loving and immaculate embrace.

Faith allows you to see that your hands and lips that receive Jesus are always unclean - even when you are in a state of sanctifying grace - because you are always a sinner, and the hands and lips of a sinner always remain unworthy and, therefore, unclean.  "How very unworthy I feel I am, of this grace of the altar, which I used to approach to body," Cardinal S. Wyszynski wrote in his prison notes of 7 April 1955.  Just think, you receive Jesus with your lips that can kill with words.  Your words sometimes wound and are the source of harm and unhappiness, instead of uttering blessings.  And yet, these sinful lips some into contact with the highest sanctity of God.  If you consider all of this, you will come to know the mystery that theology call kenosis (Greek: a complete humiliation).

The Eucharist is a kenosis - the Self-humiliation of true God and true Man, since Jesus in His utmost sanctity comes into contact with your sinfulness and your unworthiness.  This does not mean, however, that you should avoid the Eucharist, for when you receive the Eucharist, He makes you more worthy of receiving Him again.  Jesus waits for you with His love.  He wants to come into order to transform you, to sanctify you, and to make you increasingly more worthy of His coming.

St. John the Apostle said, "If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."  We are all sinners, and we are all unworthy to receive Jesus.  Think of your lips as unclean, but you should also await the Eucharist to remove that uncleanliness - that leprosy of sin, that leprosy of egoism - from your lips and from your heart and soul.  Jesus desires this so much that He wants it to be done even at the price of His great humiliation, at the price of His kenosis.  It is in the light of faith that you will see how the Eucharist is the great Self-humiliation of Christ.  He strips Himself of His divine dignity and humiliates Himself by the very fact that His majesty and His humanity are hidden in the material form of bread and wine.  He strips Himself from His due praise and honor.  When you come to Him with your sinful hands, with sinful lips, and a sinful heart, this is a further kenosis for Him.

St. Louis de Montfort advises us to invite Mary to participate in the Eucharist with us.  The presence of the Immaculate Mary close to us, especially during the Eucharist, is a great mystery for us, and it is a solution to the problem of the kenosis of Christ.  Those who find it difficult to acknowledge the need and importance of the Marian way to Christ are convinced that Mary cannot stand between themselves and Christ, for she would overshadow Jesus.  However, in the light of faith, in the light of the knowledge of God's holiness, in the knowledge of your own great unworthiness and sinfulness, you will find that this situation is not the case.  When you ask Mary to stand between you and Christ, you become closer to Him because when you ask her to stand between you and Christ, you do it so that she may spare Him kenosis, His Self-humiliation.  Only her hands are clean and were never unclean; they were and always will be immaculate.  Hers are the only human hands and the only human lips that are clean and immaculate, that are worthy to touch the body of Christ.  When you strive to lessen the Self-humiliation of Christ by asking Mary to receive Him for for you and through you, then you give praise to the kenosis of the True God and the True Man.  You link the attitude of humility, an attitude of acknowledgement that you are a sinner, with faith in His incredible love for you.  This love, at the price of the Self-humiliation that is beyond our imagination, wants to bestow upon you the fruits of the Redemption.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Gift of Faith