Eucharist - The Touch of Christ

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Touch of Life, Creation of Adam - by MICHELANGELO di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni - from Cappella Sistina, Vatican . . .
Adam emerges from the Hand of the Infinite Godhead as the Fingers of the Father and the son (Adam) Touch in a Loving Gesture. Through the extended Hands and Arms the Creative Flash passes from One to the other. Love radiates from the Face of God and from the Face of Man. God Wills his child to be no-less than Himself. As if to confirm this, a Marvelous Being looks out from among the Host of Spirits that bear the Father on their wings; a Genius of Love encircled by the Left Arm of the Creator. This Figure has intrigued commentators from the beginning, and has been variously interpreted as the Uncreated Eve, or Divine Wisdom. Be that as it may, this Figure undoubtedly signifies Beatific Rapture.

 

My Soul, if you wish to Penetrate the Depths of this Mystery, your Gaze must be Illumined by Love! You need to See and Understand! Contemplate the Last Supper: see Jesus Who knows that He will soon be Separated-from the Body of His Humanity, and yet Wishing to be United to us Forever; Contemplate the Love by which He Institutes this Sacrament which Permits Him to be Corporeally and Forever United to Mankind. O Inextinguishable Love! O Love of Christ! O Love of the Human Race! What a True Furnace of Love! O Jesus, You already saw the Death which awaited You; the Sorrows and Atrocious Tortures of the Passion were already Breaking Your Heart, and yet You Offered Yourself to Your Executioners, and Permitted them, by means of this Sacrament, to Possess You Forever as an Eternal Gift, O You, Whose Delights are to be with the Children of Men!

O my Soul, how can you Refrain from plunging yourself ever Deeper and Deeper into the Love of Christ, Who did not forget you in Life or in Death, but Who Willed to give Himself Wholly to you, and to Unite you to Himself Forever?

- St. Angela Foligno

 

Eucharist - The Touch of Christ

from various sources

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Human Body

Body/Passions/ Inferior
Will/Senses/Imagination

Five External Senses -
Hearing/Smell/
Sight/Taste/
Touch (Feeling)

Four Internal Senses -
Sentient Consciousness/ Imagination/ Sentient Memory/ Estimation

Passions
Love/Hatred, Desire/Aversion,
Joy/Sorrow, Hope/Despair,
Fear/Courage, Envy/Lust/Anger,

Satisfactions
Food/Drink/Rest/Sex

The Transfiguration takes place after Jesus' First Passion-Prediction, and before His Second Passion-Prediction. It is a Vision of Future Glory, which shall come only after Process of Suffering and Dying on a Cross. However, there is another Aspect of this Awesome Event, which Saint Matthew makes known to us. After the Voice from the Cloud speaks, and the Disciples fell to their faces in Fear and Awe, the Evangelist tells us, "Jesus came and Touched them, saying, 'Rise, and have no Fear'" (Matthew 17:7).

Some Scholars today believe that our Sense of Touch is an Important one, and they Advocate Hugging as a Therapy, which appears to give Human Beings Health and Well-being. I don't know if Jesus actually Hugged His Disciples, but the Greek Word for Touch, which is used here, does point to the Importance of Touch. Not only does it have the Sense of Feeling Intimate, it also means to Light, to Kindle and to Heal. When the Disciples were Touched by Jesus, their Hearts and Souls were Kindled with the Light of Christ. They were Healed, their Fears were Dispelled, they could Rise with Confidence, and Return to the Valley of everyday Discipleship -- of Serving a World in Need.

Someone who has been Touched by Jesus, is never quite the same again. That Person, from that time on, had been to the Mountaintop, and had seen the Glory of the Coming-of the Lord. But neither Peter, James nor John, Remained-on the Mountain. They all went down into the Valley of Serving a World in Need.

Once Touched by Jesus, they were Healed, and given all that was necessary to Serve the Needy in the World. The Touch of Christ, which Healed and Changed their Lives, was meant to be shared with the World, so that others could also be Healed and Changed.

 

The Healing Touch of Christ, Recorded in the Gospels

Jesus heals the Leper, detail from Sermon on the Mount -
by PIERO DI COSIMO - from Cappella Sistina, Vatican
 

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes)When Jesus came down from the Mountain, Great Crowds followed Him. Suddenly a Leper came forward and did Him Homage, saying to Him, "Sir, if You Will to do so, You can Cure me". Jesus stretched-out His Hand and Touched him and said, "I do Will it. Be Cured". Immediately the Man's Leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him: "See to it that you tell no one. Go and show yourself to the Priest and offer the Gift Moses prescribed. That should be the Proof they need" (Matthew 8:1-4).

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus entered Peter's House and found Peter's Mother-in-Law in bed with a Fever. He took her by the Hand and the Fever left her. She got up at once and began to wait on Him. As Evening drew on, they brought Him many who were Possessed. He expelled the Spirits by a Simple Command, and Cured all who were Afflicted, thereby Fulfilling what had been said through Isaiah the Prophet: "It was our Infirmities He bore, our Sufferings He endured" (Matthew 8:14-17).

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes)As Jesus moved on from Capernaum, Two (2) Blind Men came after Him crying out, "Son of David, have Pity on us"! When He got to the House, the Blind Men caught up with Him. Jesus said to them, "Are you Confident I can do this"? "Yes, Lord", they told Him. At that, He Touched their Eyes and said, "Because of your Faith it shall be done to you"; and they Recovered their Sight. Then Jesus warned them sternly, "See to it that no one knows of this". But they Went-off and Spread-word of Him through the Whole Area. (Matthew 9:27-31)

jesus_saves_200.jpg (8297 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes)After the Crowds had eaten their fill, Jesus insisted that His Disciples get into a Boat and precede Him to the other side. When He had sent them away, He went up on the Mountain by Himself to Pray, remaining there alone, as Evening drew-on. Meanwhile the Boat, already Several Hundred Yards out from shore, was being Tossed-about in the Waves, raised-by Strong Head Winds. At about Three (3) in the Morning, He came Walking-toward them on the Lake. When the Disciples saw Him Walking-on the Water, they were Terrified. "It is a Ghost!" they said, and in their Fear they began to Cry-out. Jesus hastened-to Reassure them: "Get hold of yourselves! It is I. Do not be Afraid"! Peter spoke up and said, "Lord, if it is really You, tell me to come to You across the water". "Come!" He said. So Peter got out of the Boat, and began to Walk on the Water, Moving-toward Jesus. But when he perceived how Strong the Wind was, becoming Frightened, he began to Sink, and cried out, "Lord, Save me"! Jesus at once stretched out His Hand and caught him. "How little Faith you have!", He exclaimed. "Why did you Falter? Once they had climbed into the Boat, the Wind died down. Those who were in the Boat showed Him Reverence, declaring, "Undoubtedly You are the Son of God!". After making the Crossing, they reached the Shore at Gennesaret; and when the Men of that place recognized Him, they spread the word throughout the Region. People brought Him all the Afflicted, with the Plea that He let them do no more than Touch the Tassel of His Cloak. As many as Touched it, were fully Restored to Health. (Matthew 14:22-36)

The Transfiguration of Christ - by DAVID, Gerard - from O.L. Vrouwekerk, Bruges . . . . Witnessed by the Father, the Transfigured Christ stands in an Aura of Light and Clouds, above Mount Tabor, accompanied by Moses and Elijah. Below are His Apostles, astonished by the Miracle and His Glorious Radiance. Peter kneels in amazement and John and James fall, Dazzled by the Light of Glory.
 

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John, and led them up on a High Mountain by themselves. He was Transfigured before their Eyes. His Face became as Dazzling as the Sun, His Clothes as Radiant as Light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with Him. Upon this, Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, how Good it is for us to be here! With your permission, I will erect Three Booths here, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah". He was still speaking, when suddenly a Bright Cloud overshadowed them. Out of the Cloud came a Voice which said, "This is My Beloved Son, on Whom My Favor rests. Listen to Him". When they heard this, the Disciples fell forward on the ground, overcome with Fear. Jesus came toward them, and laying His Hand on them, said, "Get up! Do not be Afraid". When they looked up they did not see anyone but Jesus.

As they were coming down the Mountainside, Jesus Commanded them, "Do not tell anyone of the Vision until the Son of Man Rises from the Dead" (Matthew 17:1-9).

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) When Jesus had crossed-back to the other side of the Sea of Galilee in the Boat, a Large Crowd gathered around Him and He stayed close to the Lake. One of the Officials of the Synagogue, a Man named Jairus, came near. Seeing Jesus, he fell at His Feet and made this Earnest Appeal: "My little daughter is Critically Ill. Please come and lay Your Hands on her so that she may get Well and Live". The Two (2) went off together and a Large Crowd followed, pushing against Jesus.

There was a Woman in the area who had been Afflicted-with a Hemorrhage for a Dozen Years. She had received Treatment at the hands of Doctors of every sort, and Exhausted her Savings in the process, yet she got no Relief; on the contrary, she only grew Worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind Him in the Crowd and put her Hand to His Cloak. "If I just Touch His Clothing", she thought, "I shall get Well". Immediately her Flow of Blood dried-up, and the Feeling that she was Cured of her Affliction, ran through her Whole Body. Jesus was Immediately Conscious that Healing Power had gone out from Him. Wheeling about in the Crowd, He began to ask, "Who Touched My Clothing"? His Disciples said to Him, "You can see how this Crowd hems You in, yet You ask, 'Who Touched Me?'". Despite this, He kept looking around to see the Woman who had done it. Fearful, and beginning-to Tremble now, as she realized what had happened, the Woman came and fell in front of Him, and told him the Whole Truth. He said to her, "Daughter, it is your Faith that has Cured you. Go in Peace and be Free of this Illness".

jairus-daughter-and-jesus.jpg (22619 bytes)He had not finished speaking when People from the Official's House arrived saying, "Your daughter is Dead. Why bother the Teacher further"? Jesus disregarded the Report that had been brought, and said to the Official: "Fear is useless. What is needed is Trust". He would not permit anyone to follow Him except Peter, James, and James' Brother John. As they approached the House of the Synagogue Leader, Jesus was struck by the Noise of People, Wailing and Crying Loudly on all sides. He entered and said to them: "Why do you make this Din with your Wailing? The Child is not Dead. She is Asleep". At this they began to Ridicule Him. Then He put them all out.

Jesus took the Child's Father and Mother, and His Own Companions, and entered the Room where the Child lay. Taking her Hand, He said to her, "Talitha, koum", which means, "Little girl, get up". The Girl, a Child of Twelve, stood up immediately, and began to walk around. At this, the Family's astonishment was complete. He enjoined them Strictly, not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5:21-43)

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Jesus left Tyrian Territory, and returned by way of Sidon, to the Sea of Galilee, into the District of the Ten Cities. Some People brought Him a Deaf Man who had a Speech Impediment, and begged Him to lay His Hand on him. Jesus took him off by Himself, away from the Crowd. He put His Fingers into the Man's Ears and, Spitting, Touched his Tongue; then He looked up to Heaven and emitted a Groan. He said to him, "Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!"). At once the Man's Ears were opened; he was Freed from the Impediment, and began to Speak Plainly. Then He enjoined them Strictly not to tell anyone; but the more He Ordered them not to, the more they Proclaimed it. Their Amazement went Beyond all Bounds: "He has done everything Well! He makes the Deaf hear and the Mute speak!" (Mark 7:31-37).

 

Touched by the Eucharist

caduceus.gif (4521 bytes)Imagine a Man with a Brain Tumor, asking a Surgeon to Treat the Disorder by Phone. Such Long-distance Treatment would be more Tragic, than Ludicrous.

A Surgeon must be Truly, Physically present to his Patient to Exercise his Curative Skills. Likewise, Jesus seeks to be Present to us, especially in exercising His Divine Charism of Healing. It's True that He can Heal the Sick at a distance, as when He Cured the Centurion's Servant (Matthew 8:13). But, ordinarily, Jesus' Healing Ministry was by Street Encounter or "House Call", as when He Healed Peter's Mother-in-Law. Being Physically present to the Patient was Jesus' usual Modus Operandi.

eucharist3.gif (9262 bytes)There is no Closer Encounter than Communion. In Holy Communion our Body Ingests and Assimilates the Sacramental Elements that comprise Jesus' Own Body, while He, in turn, Assimilates us, into His Very Self. Jesus describes this Commingling: "Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him" (John 6:56).

In this Intimacy, this Touch, Jesus most Efficaciously releases His Divine Healing Power. "Someone Touched Me", He exclaimed, as a Hemorrhaging Woman was Healed by a Surreptitious Touch of His Garment. "Power has gone out from Me" (Luke 8:46). And He Complimented the Woman on her Faith, that Triggered the Healing.

Yet, besides this Sacrament, in which He is "Most Especially Present" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1373), there are other Forms of Christ-Presence. Pope Paul VI affirmed that "the Faithful share-in [the Mass] both Spiritually, by Faith and Charity, and Sacramentally, through the Banquet of Holy Communion". Thus, the Unity of Believers with each other, in One (1) Body, is both Expressed and Brought-about in the Sacrament of the Eucharistic Bread (see 1Corinthians 10:17). By sharing the Broken Bread, Christ, the Assembled People "enter into Communion with Him, and Form but One Body with Him" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1329).

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The Mystical Press & Christ in Glory -
by Marco dal Pino (Marco da Siena) -
from the Vatican Museum . . . . . .

Symbolic of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Depicts the Infinite Supply of Merits and Grace accumulated by the Sufferings of Jesus.
(Click to Enlarge)

This Corporate Presence of Christ was the First Meaning of the Phrase "Communion of Saints". And like Christ's Physical Presence in Holy Communion, His Communitarian Presence carries its own Form of Healing - Touch.

So a Multiform Encounter with Christ, occurs within the Liturgy, which is, in the Words of Vatican II, the Fount from which Flows all the Churchís Power. One Form of that Power is Healing Power, as Christians recognized from the very First Century, for Saint Ignatius of Antioch referred to the Eucharist as "the Medicine of Immortality". Yet, in spite of its Availability, Few People seek Healing in the Context of the Eucharist.

Christians can be compared to Burning Coals. When separated from one other, each is easily extinguished. But when gathered together, the Fire of One, tends to Preserve that of Another, and the Glowing Coals sometimes Ignite others nearby. By His Words, "Abide in My Love", we know that it is the Fire of Jesus' Own Love that should Burn-in the Hearts of the Faithful. That is the Core of His "Abiding" Spiritual Presence within the Worshiping Community.

It was on Easter that Jesus First Exhibited His Promised Presence in a Group: "On the Evening of that First Day of the Week, when the Disciples were together . . . Jesus came and stood among them" (John 20:19). His Next Apparition was in the (Eucharistic) "Breaking of Bread" with the Disciples at Emmaus (Luke 24:30), and shortly thereafter to His Apostles in Jerusalem (v. 36).

But True Community is not just a Crowd of Bodies. The Group must be gathered "in His Name", and His Presence requires a Dynamic of Loving Concord. Paul points out the need for "Harmony among Believers (2Corinthians 6:16). And he quotes the Lord's Promise "to Live with them and Walk among them" (Leviticus 26:12).

The Promised Presence is fulfilled each time the Congregation joins in Doctrinal Harmony by their Faith, and especially by their Joining-in the "Sacrifice of Praise" (Hebrews 13:15) in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is Particularly True when their Praise of God is Harmonized in Music, for, as Saint Augustine says, "He who Sings, Prays Twice". Twice, Paul refers to Group Singing with Thankful Hearts — a Significant Remark, since Eucharist means Thanksgiving.

Paul urges all to be United also in the Goal of Worshiping the Lord, "being like-Minded, having the same Love, being One in Spirit and Purpose" (Philippians 2:2). "Be of One Mind . . . And the God of Peace will be with you" (2Corinthians 13:11). When a Liturgical Gathering is Honed to foster Loving Unity while Worshiping the God of Unity, Marvelous Healings can occur.

When Believers join in Expectant Faith, filled with His Love, then that Divine Love is Powerfully Present — as a Healing Love — for as Paul asserts, "Christ is not Weak . . . but is Powerful among you" (2Corinthians 13:3).

Just as Physical Healings tend to occur when the Touch of Christ is experienced in Holy Communion, so also Spiritual Healings may occur when there is a Spiritual Encounter with the Healing Christ, present in the Eucharistic Assembly — that is, whenever the Worshiping Community is Essembled — even Two (2) or Three (3), gathered in His Name (see Matthew 18:20).

The Lord wants to Bless us with Spiritual Healings, which are Sought-less, but Needed-more than Physical Healings. Spiritual Healings include Deliverance from Forces of Evil, Conquering Sinful Habits, Curing Aridity in Prayer, the Healing of Turbulent Marriages, and Overcoming Resistance to Repentance.

Paul Prayed for the Ephesians, that God would "Strengthen you with Power through His Spirit . . . so that Christ may dwell in your Hearts through Faith" (Ephesians 3:16-17). But just as the Strength (Health) and Strengthening (Healing) of a Human Body requires a Metabolism in which all the Biochemical Components work together Harmoniously, so also the Spiritual Health and Healing of an Assembly — and of its Individual Members  — is Subject-to the Norms of Divine Harmonics.

Jesus' Healing Power is evidenced only in an Atmosphere of Unity and Loving Concord. That's why the Early Christians witnessed so many Miracles during their Eucharistic Assemblies. Read those Accounts. The Stark Comparison may help us to Understand why so few Healings occur during today's Liturgies.

"They Devoted themselves to . . . Fellowship, to the Breaking of Bread and to Prayer. Everyone was filled with Awe, and many Miracles and Signs were done . . . All the Believers were together . . . they gave to one another as needed. . . Every day they continued to meet together in the Temple Courts. They Broke Bread in their Homes . . . with Glad and Sincere Hearts, Praising God and Enjoying the Favor of all People. And the Lord added to their number daily" (Acts 2:42-47).

"They Raised their Voices together in Prayer to God . . . After they Prayed . . . they were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . . All the Believers were One in Heart and Mind . . . they Shared everything they had. With Great Power the Apostles continued to Testify to the Resurrection of Jesus, and much Grace was upon them all. There were no Needy Persons among them" (Acts 4:24-34).

Truly, the Lord Who had Promised to be with them "always, to the very End of the Age" (Matthew 28:20) fulfilled that Promise as He "worked with them and confirmed His Word by the Signs that accompanied it" (Mark 6:20). And this must have led them to Anticipate an even Deeper Presence of God that would confer a Permanent Healing of all Disease and Disorder, after the End of the Age. The Bible says that this will be a "New Age" when the New Jerusalem will come down from Heaven, when the Voice from the Throne will Announce, "Now the Dwelling of God is with Men, and He will live with them . . . God Himself will be with them . . . He will wipe every Tear from their Eyes. There will be no more Death or Mourning or Crying or Pain" (Revelation 21).

The Lord delights in His People, and Rewards those who Gather in Loving Unity to Praise and Worship Him. "To the Faithful, you show yourself Faithful" (Psalm 18:25). Godís Miracles, Wonders and Healings are there for those who would Avail themselves of these Gifts.

 

Spiritual Gifts of God

Seven (7)
Gifts of the Spirit

Seven (7)
Divine/Infused Virtues

 Four (4) Main
Acquired/Human/Cardinal Virtues

Synderesis

Supernatural/ Divine Nature

Human Nature

Received at
Confirmation

Received at Baptism
along with Sanctifying Grace

Received at Conception and
developed throughout our Life

Received at
Conception (static)

Understanding

Faith

No Counterpart
to the Three (3)
Theological Virtues

God writes His Name on the Soul of every Man at Conception. Synderesis is the Law of our Mind, because it is a Habit containing the Precepts of the Natural Law, which are the First Principles of Human Actions
Knowledge

Hope

Wisdom

Charity

Counsel

Prudence

Weakened/Damaged Prudence

Fortitude

Fortitude

Weakened/Damaged Fortitude

Piety

Justice

Weakened/Damaged Justice

Fear of the Lord

 Temperance

Weakened/Damaged Temperance

The Four (4) Main Acquired/Human Virtues are still severely weakened due to Original Sin, and require Divine Aid