Wednesday, 25 March 2020 19:55

Take Heart, Lay Faithful, Take Heart

Written by

I write to the lay faithful in the Church, many who are now experiencing the suffering of the cancellation of our public Masses, as our Church attempts to make prudent responses to the spread of the coronavirus; holding the preservation of the dignity of human life in mind. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart.

We mourn the loss of the touch and the caress of our Lord in the Eucharist. We mourn the loss of gathering as one, to offer our prayers, and our sacrifice to the Lord. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart. Remember that while the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, the promise and veiled reality of the communion which we share with the Lord and with one another, the primary purpose of the Mass is to offer just sacrifice to the Father. It is through the Mass that the Church is drawn together as one, as the Body of Christ, so that it might be offered in sacrifice to the Father, with Christ our Head. The Lord is inviting the lay faithful to understand more profoundly our role in offering sacrifice as a priestly people, the sacrifice of our daily lives. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart.

We must take seriously the reality of spiritual communion, and through it, our continued participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which our faithful priests still offer in private on our behalf, on behalf of the Church, and on behalf of the entire world. With fervent intention, we must see the countless opportunities which the Lord grants us throughout each day to offer our lives as a sacrifice to Him, to unite our sacrifice to that of Christ. For if the sacrifice of the lay person is with Christ, and Christ still humbles Himself to come to the hands of a priest, is not the sacrifice of the lay people still presented before the Father at every Holy Mass? Take heart, lay faithful, take heart. Recognize the altars of a priestly people, each awaiting frequent oblation pleasing the to Lord: the desk whereby one accomplishes their daily labor, the changing table where a mother cleans and clothes her child, the kitchen sink where one cleans up after those they are called to love, and countless other altars. Take up the constant and perennial task to offer all as a loving sacrifice to the Lord, that all might be made pleasing to the Father; every paperclip, every conversation, every project, every diaper changed, every drop of sweat, everything. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart.

We must take seriously the reality of spiritual communion, and how we can implore the Lord to come to us, and take up residence in our hearts. If the Lord would span the infinite chasm from Heaven to Earth, and more unthinkably take upon Himself our human nature, what small distance is it then from the sanctuary of our churches to our hearts? Would He not fly unto us if we made the slightest invitation? Take heart, lay faithful, take heart.

Allow yourselves to suffer this temporary loss of the physical participation at Mass, if only so that you might have more suffering to offer to Christ, if only so that you might taste more of what it is to share in His sufferings, to share in His Cross. Understand that as the Lord invites you to take up some suffering, that He invites you to aid Him, as Simon of Cyrene, in taking up His cross. For redemption comes through but one Cross, the Cross of Christ. All redemptive sufferings are then but a share in the one Cross, that the Body might be more truly and intimately united to the Head. That as the Head suffers, the Body might suffer, but also as the Head conquers and rises to new life, so too the Body. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart. 

Easter comes, it is on the horizon, liturgically speaking, yes, but also on the horizon of our lives. We must strive ever forward, with our eyes ever fixed upon our glorious resurrection and eternal beatitude. Do not lose sight of the goal, do not lose sight of the Son. Have your hearts ever turned towards Him, always longing for Him. Take heart, lay faithful, take heart. 

Chris Fernandez

3/17/2020

The Feast of St. Patrick

Chris FernandezChris Fernandez was born and raised in south Florida. Chris studied at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL where he obtained a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering. In 2013, Chris received a certification in spiritual direction from Our Lady of Divine Providece, School of Spiritual Direction, in Clearwater, FL. Then in 2019 he received a masters degree in theology, with a concentration in spiritual theology, from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT. Chris is a lay member of the Home of the Mother, currently living in Jacksonville, FL with his wife and three children.