DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     June 29, 1998     vol. 9, no. 125


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Weekly Column by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

          "Hearts-to-heart Talk" is a compendium of talks & writings on "How to Pray with the Heart" by the popular Franciscan from upstate New York - Father Stephen Valenta, O.F.M. Conv. and is a regular column each week on Mondays. This quiet, sincere priest, with over 45 years in pastoral care and in the radio/television ministry, will touch your heart as he pinpoints the "how to's" of praying with and from the heart. In his column today in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues his series on Meekness of Heart in honor of the Sacred Heart and the upcoming month of July - dedicated to the Precious Blood.    Fr. Stephen's column along with columns by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto and Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F. promise simple, but effective and vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can reach Fr. Valenta at Hearts to heart Center at P.O. Box 212, Rensselaer, New York, 12144 or you can reach him at (518) 434-1723.

Learn from Me for I am Meek and Humble of Heart part two

          Canon Law clearly and beautifully expresses it as follows: "The Most Holy Eucharist is the most august sacrament, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received and by which the Church constantly lives and grows. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated over the centuries, is the summit and the source of all Christian worship and life; it signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and achieves the building up of the Body of Christ. The other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely related to the Holy Eucharist and are directed to it." (Canon 897).

          Canon 899 states: "The celebration of the Eucharist is the action of Christ Himself and the Church; in it Christ the Lord, by the ministry of a priest, offers Himself, substantially present under the forms of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives Himself as spiritual food to the faithful who are associated with His offering. In the Eucharistic banquet the people of God are called together, with the bishop or, under his authority, a presbyter, presiding and acting in the person of Christ; and all the faithful present whether clergy or laity, participate together in their own way, according to the diversity of orders and liturgical roles. The celebration of the Eucharist is to be so arranged that all who take part receive from it the many fruits for which Christ the Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice."

          From what is stated above, it becomes evident that next to Christ, it is the priest who is the most important in dignity and office of all of the faithful participating in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Canon 900 says of him, "The minister, who in the person of Christ can confect the sacrament of the Eucharist, is solely a validly ordained priest. A priest who is not canonically impeded celebrates the Eucharist licitly observing the prescriptions of the following canons." By commentary, it is noted that while any priest may validly consecrate the sacrament, some priests may not do so licitly, such as those who have been deprived of the exercise of their order by a penalty or who have lost the clerical state.

          There are two other Canons that speak of the priest as minister. Canon 909 states: "The priest is not to fail to make the required prayerful preparation for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, or the thanksgiving to God upon its completion." Canon 916 addressed the matter of grace sin as it states, "A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing; in this case the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible." It should be clear here that a priest in mortal sin, under the conditions mentioned, celebrates validly and licitly and in no way does harm to the confection of the sacrament.

    Next installment: The absolute importance of the confection of the Sacrament.

June 29, 1998       volume 9, no. 125
HEARTS TO HEART TALK by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.


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