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Eucharistic Contemplation

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Eucharistic Contemplation
By: Fr. Ernest Ranly, C.PP.S.

The book contains 32 Eucharistic reflections. Mary Margaret Pazdan, O.P., of the Aquinas Institute of Theology writes, “This book is an invitation to be attentive to the presence of God through Eucharistic contemplation. The author’s simple, poetic style weaves together biblical verse, voices of tradition, and liturgical texts to draw readers into the mystery of the sacrament with grateful, focused hearts.” (124 pgs.)

Publisher: The Liturgical Press of Collegeville, MN
Publication Date: 2003

Introduction

These reflections on the Eucharist were, for the most part, prepared and delivered in the Parish of San Francisco de Borja, in Lima, Peru, as part of the Jubilee Celebration for the year 2000. Every Thursday the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for two hours of adoration. I had the responsibility to guide the second hour with song, prayer, and reflection.

This gave me the opportunity to develop some themes that had interested me for some time: eucharistic contemplation with emphasis on the spirituality of the precious blood of Christ.

The time of adoration is neither the time nor the place for classes in theology or for orientations and instructions in eucharistic contemplation. It is to be hoped that these reflections serve principally for moments of prayer. Nevertheless, there is a bottom line to these reflections; there is a thesis about what is contemplation and, specifically, what is eucharistic contemplation.

I present here for those faithful adorers of the Blessed Sacrament my style of reflections for moments of prayer and adoration. It is my hope that these reflections will serve those who look for new orientations in their prayers.

I do not speak of devotions. This is not a new prayer book of eucharistic devotions in the style very common for the past three or four centuries, even by luminaries such as Saint Alphonse Liguori and the Cure de Ars, Saint John Vianney. These are not prayers directed to Jesus in the sacrament of the altar, full of sentiments, feelings, petitions, thanksgiving, praise, reparation ....

One model which is key for me is the very style of the prayers of the Church; that is, the prayers of the Roman Missal and of the Sacramental Rites. With very few exceptions, liturgical prayers are directed to God, the Father, with a focus on our salvation through Jesus, the Christ, and always in union with the Holy Spirit. Very few liturgical prayers are oriented directly to Christ.

Here is an example of a Prayer after Communion, during the Easter Season.

Let us pray
Father,
you have brought to fulfillment the work of our redemption
through the Easter mystery of Christ your Son.
May we who faithfully proclaim his death and resurrection in these sacramental signs
experience the constant growth of your salvation in our lives.

May this little work help some of the faithful to take up a prayer such as this—and the many others like it from the Missal—before the Blessed Sacrament. May they remain there, in silence, attentive to the “mystery of Christ” present “in these sacramental signs.” In other words, instead of reading through devotional prayers in some manual, we can simply take the prayers from the Missal and pray in silent contemplation.

This is not a catechism. This is not a course of studies. Therefore, these reflections should not be read one after another. It is presumed that the reader is before the Tabernacle or before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed. If there are some repetitions in the text it is to allow the reading of each reflection without making undue references to others.

The first reading of a reflection should be done very slowly, providing a basic understanding of the text. Then, perhaps, search out the various references to Sacred Scriptures. Next, reread and select a few key lines. Finally, let the Spirit breathe into your soul.

But most important, return to the Eucharist itself and remain there, in silence, in contemplation. Each written reflection presented here should serve for at least a half-hour of contemplation, of profound prayer.

Also, each reflection presumes a single individual is reading from this booklet and, therefore, all references are to the first person singular. “I am in the presence of God.” When leading a group in eucharistic adoration, feel free to change the references to the first person plural. “We are in the presence of God.”

The original of this work was published in Spanish in Lima, Peru, 2002 by Editorial San Pablo, Las Acacias, Miraflores. The present version is much more than a translation. If the faith is genuinely inculturated, no mere translation of words can catch the full spirit of the original. Therefore, at times, I have taken the liberty to rewrite some parts in order to address more directly a non-Peruvian public.

For example, only Mexicans can genuinely sense the mystique of our Lady of Guadalupe. Likewise, no one outside of the Peruvian religious culture can feel the same sentiments toward Our Lord of Miracles.

Yet our common faith in the Eucharist has a universality that is not reducible to a specific culture. It is here that eucharistic contemplation has its beginning and its end.

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