How We Build the Body of Christ

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“The Eucharist makes the Church.”
– St. Augustine

I am very blessed that I have the joy of participating at daily Mass.

For so many years before I returned to the Church, I saw no need.  I was busy with my full time job, my social calendar and to be honest, life was about no one but me. Once I returned to my Catholic faith, I had little children underfoot and life was just too overwhelming.

My sons are teenagers now and morning Mass is just 10 minutes away from where I drop my younger son off at school, so every morning I am able to begin my day with Jesus in the Eucharist and my life enjoys a peace it has never known before.

A wonderful discovery I recently made in the treasure of Catholic teaching is what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: “Abide in me, and I in you. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches.” And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.

789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.

This means that when we participate at Mass, we are participating on behalf of all God’s people and we are building the body of Christ and bringing about the Kingdom of God.  When we say, “We lift our hearts to the Lord,” we are joining with Christ in offering to the Father ourselves, those we love and those we pray for. We are also joining all God’s people who are not there because they may be home sick, working, overwhelmed by runny noses and dirty diapers or because life right now is just about them.

What a blessing it is to be able to be at Mass every morning. What a blessing to participate for those who are unable to and share with them in the grace of building the body of Christ.

And, what a blessing to know that in the years I couldn’t and especially in those when I wouldn’t, someone was doing the same for me.

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About Nan Balfour

Coordinator for the annual Catholic Women's Conference, an apostolate of the Pilgrim Center of Hope - Catholic evangelization ministry in San Antonio, Texas. The Pilgrim Log is the blog of the Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic evangelization ministry, providing weekly spiritual reflections to help you journey toward a deeper relationship with Christ. Learn more about the Pilgrim Center of Hope by visiting www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org.

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