Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"God wills everyone to be saved"

Dovetailing on my post from yesterday about who can and can't receive the Eucharist, here are some comments from bloggers in response to my post on November 29:

Anon (11): "My question is I have strong doubts that I am one of those that God has elected to give the grace of persistence. I was OK with this concept and was happy to serve God anyway through the mass prayer and good towards my fellow man just realizing that sometime in the future something will happen that will block the goal of heaven because it is Gods decision and if I am wrong then all the better. But at Fathers talk on Eucharist I realize that I have committed grave sin in receiving the host at mass (almost daily) as the Eucharist is reserved for the chosen. But now I feel incomplete in my attendance at mass. What council can you offer that will help me get more out of the mass without receiving the Eucharist?"

Anon (12): "to anonymous 11: God is already telling you in you discomfort stop going to mass. Mass is for the faithful"

Hoping FG will answer: "To anon (11), I am trying to understand why you feel unworthy of going to daily mass. Persistence or fortitude is a gift of the Holy Spirit? Unless you are in a state of mortal sin, I have never heard that receiving the Eucharist daily is only for the 'select.' Sorry just not sure what you mean."

Firstly, God "wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4). This is the God in whom we believe. Christ offers salvation to all people, and died on a Cross for the salvation of the world. At Mass, this is played out; the Mass is a re-presentation of Calvary. To suggest that Mass is for some and not others is to say that Salvation is for some and not others (along the lines of the Protestant teaching of "predestination"). That is not the God in whom we believe.

Secondly, while Mass is open to everyone, there are restrictions on who can receive the Eucharist at Mass, as I've pointed out yesterday and many times. The Church has said that if you're baptized and in the proper state (State of Grace), you can and should receive the Eucharist often. If we fully know that we have freely chosen to commit a grave sin, then we should not receive until we've gone to Confession. But, I've never read anywhere where the Church has said that we shouldn't receive Holy Communion if we have just a "feeling" of total unworthiness or not being among the "elect". None of us is truly worthy, but Jesus commands all of us to "take this, all of you, and eat this is memory of me".

Lastly, there are countless examples from the Gospel of God offering Salvation to all peoples. We just celebrated Epiphany when the three wise men who were from a country outside of Israel were led by a light to be among the first people to adore the Christ child. Jesus reaches out to poor, rich, men, women, children, sinners, saints, Jews, Gentiles, etc. We recall at every Mass (just before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion) what the Roman centurion said about Jesus coming into his house: "Lord, ... I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof" (Lk 7:6).

None of us is worthy to receive the bread of life and cup of eternal salvation. And yet, Jesus commands us to do so.

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