Father John Paul Erickson:
As was reported in these pages, a college professor teaching at our own University of Minnesota, Morris recently willfully and publicly committed a despicable act of sacrilege against the Most Blessed Sacrament. This act was a strained and juvenile effort to show that, in the professor's own words, "nothing is sacred." Outrage at the reprehensible act is appropriate, and respectful but forceful letters, emails, and phone calls of complaint to the University of Minnesota are to be recommended.
Professor Myers' actions and writings are but the latest volley of angry assaults against faith and believers. There has recently been a string of vitriolic publications advocating the wonders of atheism and the evils of religion, particularly Christianity. But the reason why this most recent episode of vitriol has gathered so much attention, much of it fought for by concerned Catholics, is due to a peculiarly Catholic belief. As Catholics, we firmly believe that ordinary bread and wine, consecrated by the prayer of the Church in the Holy Mass, become the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ - His flesh given for the life of the world. Each and every altar in the Catholic world is another Bethlehem, where God becomes little so that we might become like God. Professor Myers' attack on the Eucharist is an attack on no less than Christ Himself.
It is not the first time Jesus has been attacked by those who do not understand who He is, and it certainly will not be the last. One of the mysteries of the Incarnation is the reality that God has become, in a certain but very real sense, vulnerable. Just as the Infinite One took the form of a baby in the arms of Mary and of a condemned criminal on Calvary, so too in the hands of the priest God hides Himself out of love, submitting to littleness. To love another is to be vulnerable - to be vulnerable to rejection and to abandonment. In the Incarnation and in the mystery of the Eucharist, God Himself embraces this reality. Until the end of time, this scandalous display of love will continue in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where the Creator of the Universe assumes a form that can be held and can be consumed. Catholic Spirit
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