The Greatest Gift


I wonder if it is time to take comfort from the fact that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, even if we are prevented from publicly gathering. Our communion with one another does not arise from our gatherings: our gatherings are a product and a sign of our incorporation into the Body of Christ by our baptism. Throughout history, people unable to receive the Eucharist or attend Mass on a regular basis because they are at sea or in remote locations remain part of the Church and are able through prayer and works of charity to receive grace and be profound instruments of grace. St. Alphonsus Liguori was quite clear that if we are sick and deprived of the ability to even attend Mass or prayers, that such should be accepted as the will of God: “Why then search any further to please God when you are sure God does not wish these prayers, Communions, penances or studies, but he does wish that you suffer patiently this sickness he sends you? Unite then your sufferings to those of our Lord.”

Could it also be that in time of a pandemic the requirement to be away from these things in public gatherings should be accepted as God’s will for us at this moment? Catholics, if anyone, should be most aware that the simple fact that the sacrifice of the Mass continues is the greatest event in the world and does not require that all of us be in the same building at once. Maybe it is God’s will that his people through love of neighbor should stay home, pray intently and learn from longing for it the greatness of the gift of Love that is the Eucharist, which we may have been taking for granted.

J.J. Hayes
Staten Island