Bishop Conlon May 08
CHRIST AMONG US
A Message from Bishop R. Daniel Conlon
Even though Pope Benedict XVI was among us in the United States for only a few days, we relished his presence. His smile, his words, his prayerfulness were all welcome signs that Christ was being true to his promise not to leave us orphans.
The underlying force for the whole Church, including the ministry of the successor of Peter, is the Holy Spirit, the ultimate gift promised when Jesus ascended to the Father. It is the Holy Spirit that makes our risen Lord alive and active in our hearts and in our world.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit is present more interiorly, such as through the gifts like wisdom, knowledge, piety and courage or through the virtues like faith, hope, love, prudence and chastity. Sometimes the Spirit manifests himself more exteriorly, as he does through the office of the Holy Father. In every way, the Holy Spirit allows Christ to dwell with us and empowers us to make him present to others.
Perhaps the most marvelous way in which the Spirit fulfills the promise of Jesus to remain with us is through the Eucharist. Bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of our Savior by the Holy Spirit. Individual believers become one Body, the Church by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit equips that Body with every gift needed to go forth into the world, and the Spirit fills all who partake of the Eucharistic Banquet with hope of the Heavenly Banquet.
Of course, we are called to regular participation in the eucharistic sacrifice, at least every Sunday and holyday of obligation. Beyond that, Pope John Paul II routinely reminded us of the added blessing of adoring our Eucharistic Lord between Masses, and this has become a common practice throughout our own diocese.
Four parishes (St. John in Bellaire, Holy Rosary and St. Peter in Steubenville and St. Joseph in Toronto) and Franciscan University of Steubenville have Perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. An additional twelve parishes have regular periods weekly or monthly when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the monstrance for adoration.
As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord’s Body and Blood (Corpus Christi) on May 24, I encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to cherish this wonderful gift of Christ among us. Where exposition is already scheduled, make a commitment to a regular time for prayer. Where it is not, consider whether the practice might be established.
The Holy Spirit makes Christ present with us and calls us to be present with him. There is incredible power, joy and peace in our time together.