Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
This upcoming week will mark our Annual Forty Hours Devotion. I am personally encouraging every parishioner to make an effort to be present for at least a portion of this devotion. Our Church, our nation, our communities, our families, and our parish are certainly all in need of prayer.
We will begin with a Solemn Mass (Traditional Latin) on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. There will be a procession, litanies, and other devotions with exposition until 10:00 p.m. Exposition will continue again following the 7:15 a.m. Mass on Friday, lasting until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night. We will then have exposition again on Sunday after the 12:30 Mass until the closing. We will pray Solemn Vespers at 3:30 p.m. with the closing exercises beginning at 4:00 p.m. There is a sign-up sheet in the back of Church for a reception that we will have after the closing.
We need just a total of 80 people to fill all of the hours. Our parish is a parish of about 250 families, with an average Sunday attendance of 450. That should mean that at each hour we could have over ten people. As our Lord asked the apostles in the Garden on the night He was betrayed, ‘could you not spend just one hour with me?’
The Forty Hours devotion is an important devotion, especially fostered by St. Philip Neri and the Oratorians throughout the world. It helps remind us that our Church exists for the Holy Eucharist, so that we can be refreshed, renewed, and grow in greater love of Him who suffered and died for us. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, the very real body and blood of the Lord, we are fortified with the ‘bread of the angels’ and called to become more like Him.
Forty Hours is a time to renew our fervor in the Lord. To renew our faith in the Holy Eucharist, which is so often shaken in the world today. So often we hear that the Holy Eucharist is just a sign, just a symbol. We are told that it is just bread and wine. But the Gospels tell us that Christ Himself said that it was no longer bread and wine, but rather His body and blood. Given to us a pledge of future glory, and what awaits us in the life to come.
Often it is hard to find Christ in the world today. The political discourse, the drug epidemic, the threat of war, the rise of militant Islam. So much noise and so little peace in the world. After the death of Christ, the apostles also had a hard time locating Christ in the world. They thought that He was gone, that they had been deceived, that life would go on as normal now.
After He rose from the dead, it was only in the Holy Eucharist, on that road to Emmaus, that the apostles were able to recognize the Lord again. In this broken world, please come before the Lord in the monstrance and recognize Him who came into the world to redeem it and heal its brokenness.