May 27, 2005

Up Arrow for The Word Among Us

Like Julie of Happy Catholic, I used to be very content with my Magnificat subscription. And I do miss it from time to time. But like her I switched to the meditations in The Word Among Us. I appreciate the greater simplicity and practicality and most of all the tone of encouragement.

A recent example:
We’ve all read fairy tales about a baker or a woodsman or a rash widow who was granted three wishes and squandered all three of them on silly things. And we’ve all thought: “My first wish would be to have an unlimited number of wishes!” This is the kind of mentality that lay behind James’ and John’s request: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you” (Mark 10:35). It’s as if they were treating Jesus like an all-purpose appliance existing only to do their bidding. When challenged by Jesus, they quickly claimed to be willing to pay the price for the honor they sought. But it’s clear that they had no idea what “drinking the cup” entailed.

How easy it can be to approach Jesus in the Eucharist in the same way—with a wish list of sins we want forgiven and favors we want granted, but with no sense of being connected to him. On one level, such an approach appears to honor him as sovereign Lord. But if we really want to know how to come to Jesus at Mass, perhaps we should ask how he approaches us.

“The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)...Instead of coming to the Eucharist with a list of petitions or asking Jesus to fill you with blessings, try this approach every now and then. Try offering to Jesus everything you have: the work you did last week, your talents, and your accomplishments. Come to him the way he comes to us—as one who gives instead of one who receives. You’ll be amazed at how much heavenly grace will flow into your life. Just like Jesus, you will be lifted up by your Father in heaven.

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