The Flame: March & April 2005  

Dear Readers of The Flame,

Indulgence-what is the first thing you think of? Chocolate? Your favorite dessert? The purchase of a fancy car? Perhaps, in the thick of Lent, we ought to direct our thoughts away from indulgencing our cravings and more toward fasting!

However, during the Year of the Eucharist I want to encourage you to think about indulgence. I am not tempting to indulge your physical or even spiritual desires. I am asking you to receive the gifts that the Lord makes available to us through the Church. The faithful are given an opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence for the ms elves or for a deceased loved one throughout the Year of the Eucharist.

By a plenary indulgence the repentant sinner receives remission of the temporal punishment due for the sins already forgiven as regards the fault. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1472 states, that “every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth or after death in the state called Purgatory.” For more about indulgences, please go to: www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm.

To receive this plenary indulgence during this Year of the Eucharist the faithful must:

bulletParticipate in a sacred function or devotion in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, exposed or conserved in the tabernacle, or recite vespers and night prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle
bulletReceive communion on the day of the act;
bulletConfession within a week before or after the act;
bulletHave complete detachment from all sin including venial;
bulletPray for the Pope’s intentions.

Pope John Paul II has attached this plenary indulgence to the Year of the Eucharist in order to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

In the Eucharist we renew the covenant and welcome the covenant maker, Jesus Christ. How often and devoutly we ought to draw near to our Eucharistic Lord.

Years ago, after celebrating a charismatic mass at the Sacred Heart Chapel on the Campus of what was then called Borromeo College (now the Center for Pastoral Leadership), a woman came up to me and told me that Jesus had visited her house the other night. I told her that Jesus had just visited us at mass. She then told me, “But Jesus really visited me at my house the other night!” And I told her, “And Jesus really came to us in the Eucharist we had just celebrated.” Our conversation continued along a similar line and I was wondering if I was making any headway.

I was trying to highlight something that St. Teresa of Avila had said. Paraphrasing her, she said that given a choice between a private revelation of Jesus or the Eucharist, one should prefer the Eucharist. Her point was that private revelation could be misinterpreted, inauthentic or perhaps demonic. An encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist was always the real thing.

As we go through this year especially dedicated to the Eucharist, may our devotion to the Lord in this most Blessed Sacrament propel us into a deeper life in the Spirit.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Bob Franco