Index : V
"I would like to address myself to the subject of the value of prayer and sacrifice for priests the value of prayer and sacrifice for priests. If there was ever a need to pray and sacrifice for priests for their preservation and sanctity it is today. It is not exaggeration to say that the Catholic priesthood in countries like our own is going through the most difficult ordeal in the Church's history. That is no exaggeration. We have lost well over ten thousand priests in the United States since the close of the Vatican Council." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Suffering by itself is not sanctifying. Many people who are suffering are not necessarily profiting from their suffering. Evidently, then, we
should do something with and about the suffering to profit from the experience. Hence the importance of knowing what suffering is and how we
can alchemize it from mere pain to sanctity." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The contents of this page will hopefully help you to use the Vatican II documents as a means of increasing faith and devotion
to the Eucharist in your area. Almost every Vatican II document speaks of the Real Presence, and implies that we need to increase
our devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Encourages religious to receive the Eucharist often to nourish the spiritual life, "They should celebrate the sacred liturgy,
especially the holy sacrifice of the Mass, with both lips and heart as the Church desires and so nourish their spiritual life from this richest of sources."
The most effective way to reach people off of the net is to make copies to give them to friends who have been confused by
misinterpretations of Vatican II. Show them that the documents which are often misquoted repeatedly acknowledge the Real Presence and encourage devotion to it.
States that Christian education should help children, "become ever more aware of the gift of Faith they have received, and that they
learn in addition how to worship God the Father in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23) especially in liturgical action . . ."
Acknowledges that the Catholic understanding of the Eucharistic is not symbolic as in other Christian
denominations: "Although we believe that they have not retained the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness,
especially because of the absence of the Sacrament of Orders. . . therefore, the teaching concerning the Lord's Supper, the other sacraments,
worship, the ministry of the Church, must be the subject of the dialogue."
States that seminarians "should be taught to seek Christ in the faithful meditation on God's word, in the active participation
in the sacred mysteries of the Church, especially in the Eucharist. . ."
Explains the role of the laity in the Church such that, "Charity, which is, as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate, is
given to them and nourished in them by the sacraments, the Eucharist above all."
"The Sacred Ecumenical Council confirms and approves the ancient discipline of the sacraments existing in the
Oriental Churches . . ." (Sec: The Discipline of the Sacraments). However, as Catholics we are to celebrate the Eucharist
at a Catholic Mass because of other unresolved differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches.
Reiterates the message that "The Eucharistic sacrifice is the center and root of the whole life of the priest."
Document which elaborates on the Church's missionary activity. To be missionary we must know and be like Christ primarily
through reception of the Sacraments: "As members of the living Christ, incorporated into Him and made like unto Him through
baptism and through confirmation and the Eucharist, all the faithful are duty-bound to cooperate in the expansion and spreading out
of His Body, to bring it to fullness as soon as may be (Eph. 4:13)."
States the role and responsibilities of the bishop in the Church. One such responsibility is that "They should therefore see
to it that the faithful know and live the paschal mystery more deeply through the Eucharist . . ."
This document is concerned with Divine Revelation, so Eucharistic references are scant. However, it maintains that
the Scriptures are best revealed in the sacred liturgy.
Perhaps the most important document of the Council. This document elaborates on the nature, role, and guidelines of the Church.
It boldly states that the "Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life."
This document provides direction for the Church in today's world. The Church strives to be that spotless bride to be presented
at the "wedding feast of the Lamb" The Eucharist help us to become holy, "The Lord left behind a pledge of this hope
and strength for life's journey in that sacrament of faith where natural elements refined by man are gloriously changed into His Body and
Blood, providing a meal of brotherly solidarity and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet."
In order to do justice to this library of knowledge given to us by the present Vicar of Christ, it will be wise to divide our subject into at least two principal areas. We must first see the priesthood as instituted by Jesus Christ on the night before He died. But then we must look at the trials which face the faithful priest in our day.
This document emphasizes the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and that we should increase our devotion to it. A powerful statement in this document to counteract some of the liturgical abuses occurring in some parishes is that "no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority"
"We are in the habit of addressing Our Lady as the Blessed Virgin Mary. But we seldom ask ourselves "What do we mean?" By the title the Blessed Virgin Mary we mean that Jesus had no natural human father. We mean that Mary was truly married to Joseph but She was a virgin before conceiving Jesus, in conceiving Him, and after conceiving and giving birth to Christ. In other words, Mary was always a virgin." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
I suggest that we reflect on the virtue of confidence. I doubt if there is any single disposition of soul that we need especially in our day more than confidence. The reason is not far to seek. See there is so much to discourage even the most hardy souls, especially people who are seriously trying to serve God. "Lord", we ask Him, "What will happen next?" Or as one Bishop wrote to me quoting the prayer that he regularly addresses to God, "Lord how long, Oh Lord, how long?"
Our reflections during this retreat are on the Holy Spirit. What I wish to concentrate on during the less than two days that we have is what the Holy Spirit has given us. And, in the teaching of the Catholic Church there are three blessings, supernatural blessings, which the Holy Spirit has given to us. The Holy Spirit has given us the virtues, called theological virtues, of faith, hope, and charity. The virtues are the powers we received.
"Virtue in general is a firm and habitual disposition to do good; it allows a person not only to perform good actions but, to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends towards the good with all his bodily and spiritual powers. He pursues and chooses this good in the concrete, specific actions of daily life." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"There are two subjects on which I would like to speak to you, namely, Mystics and Mysticism." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"St. Matthew is the only evangelist who gives us the full details of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. Once again, the full quotation is lengthy but it is worth giving in full. There are so many implications for our faith and spiritual life that we should hear all the twelve verses of the evangelist describing the Magis visit to Bethlehem." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"With the dwindling number of entries into seminaries and novitiates, we naturally ask, "What happened?" And we are inclined to put the blame where it does not belong, on a lack of vocations. It is high time we took a hard look at the facts and draw some obvious, even though painful, conclusions." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.