A few years ago, the redoubtable Cardinal archbishop of Sydney wrote a letter to his flock called “The Eucharist: Heart of Our Faith.” In it he touched once again on a recurring theme present in many of his articles and letters, that of the urgent need for Christians to be willing to fight against evil in all its forms. Not to fight with weapons of war and violence, of course, but with the weapons of truth, virtue and, most importantly, the Holy Eucharist.
Because the Mass is such an important event we need to work to participate properly. Mass is not an opportunity to relax and daydream, to let our minds wander wherever they might. We are called to participate, with our hearts, minds and bodies. Such participation must be internal and spiritual; it requires periods of silence and listening, but above all it requires prayer.A Mass is only a “good Mass” when it is prayerful.From Old Testament times marriage imagery has been used to describe the relationship between God and His chosen people. So too theologians speak of Christ as the bridegroom and the whole Catholic community as His bride.We can accurately speak of Jesus facing death to save his bride, the Church, just as we speak of Christ as a warrior dedicated to defeating the power of evil. The Eucharist is a kind of celebration of this marriage and of this total giving unto death.The Eucharist in particular should give us the strength and energy to take God’s love into the world. But for this to be effective every lover must be a fighter.We cannot follow Christ without a struggle, without fighting and battling to control and purify our selfish instincts.We are called to fight and battle against evil in its many forms. We know that evil will triumph if enough people do nothing. Good parents will battle to protect their children. People will even give their lives for great causes, to defend their country.I don’t think a Christian can say “I’m a lover, not a fighter”. The Eucharist gives us energy for this essential struggle. . . .