Friday, February 10, 2012

The pearl at all costs

Joseph Lee L'Heureux
January 18, 2012
South Peace News
High Prairie, Alberta, Canada

I have frequently been asked why go to church daily?

It’s not the church, it’s the Mass and it’s the Eucharist of Thanksgiving! It’s receiving the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, daily.

It’s the pearl at all cost. Jesus told these parables, “The kingdom of God is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

The previous parable was about a hidden treasure. When he found it he hid it and sold everything he had in order to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44)

Just ask any recovering alcoholic or drug addict, one who is sober and clean for 5-10 years and more; sobriety and sanity are a pearl of great cost. Take that even one step further and one who knows personally His Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, then that’s the treasure at all cost.

Maria Goretti, of Italy, known to have a pious nature, found in prayer and chose to give up her life rather than submit to the affections of an unwelcome suitor. She died of stab wounds inflicted by her over a zealous suitor.

She was 12 years old.

Many years later after his long jail sentence, the suitor became a monk. He was in the front row at her beatification. He had found that pearl in prayer and Eucharist.

Matthew Talbot, an Irishman, discovered alcohol at an early age. By the age of 14 he was an alcoholic. Before the age of 20 he had stolen the cup from a musical blind man’s monkey to feed his addiction. In his late twenties, after many years of badgering, his mother asked him to attend Mass and Eucharist with her daily for one year and give up “the drink” as the Irish like to call it. He agreed to do this on the condition of “for one year only” [after the initial three months] which she would then agree to leave him alone, and he could go back to drinking.

After one year he continued to go to daily Mass and the Eucharist. When Mass time was moved from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., which was the same time as his work, he felt his job interfered with the importance of the Mass. He gave up his job at the mill, choosing to live by faith that God would provide enough temporary work.

Talbot had found “the pearl of a great price”.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” four times, He repeated this in the Gospel of John. (Chapter 6, Versus 35, 41, 48, 51)

In Verses 32, 33, 50, 51, 58 He repeats this six more times in different ways. Referring to Himself, “the bread I will give is My flesh” (Verse 51) and “this is that bread which came down from Heaven.” (Verse 58)

I’m sure he patted or pointed to His chest when he said these words.

He also said, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” (Verse 55.)

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him.” (Verse 56)

“He who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (Verse 58)

In the other three Gospels, Jesus took bread and blessed it, in an example for His disciples to follow, known as the Last Supper. This was the example of the perpetual bloodless sacrifice we are to practice in remembrance of His great sacrifice offered for us on Calvary, for our sanctification.

Why would I go on so long on this subject?

It’s what the world of addiction needs. You see, to give up one’s deadly addiction and replace it with something to fill the void. Usually it’s work, bingo or gambling or another addiction.

Many people have discovered this pearl at all cost through reading the Holy Scriptures daily. They then went on to share the “Word” or their sobriety with others through service in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other 12-step programs.

It’s much safer and more pleasing to our Higher Power to give oneself in service to others, this is the twelfth step, or service directly to God in worship.

“The Word was made flesh,” St. John says, and “the Word was God” Jesus was and is that Word. (John 1:1-22)

When his disciples speak those words in obedience to His command from His Gospels, they recreate “His flesh and Blood” just like the world was created. (John 1:3 and Genesis 1:3)

That is Emmanuel, “God with us” Let us worship.

His flesh and blood is real food for our journey, by reading His Word “the Bible” daily or partaking in His Body and Blood we nourish our addictive personalities with the positive.

The Blood First Nations band in southern Alberta near Lethbridge drank the blood and ate the heart of the buffalo they had killed for strength and courage. How much more so if they ate and drank the flesh and blood of their Creator and Saviour?

Others have discovered this great treasure sitting and worshiping the Eucharist: the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated bread, his body and blood resting in the tabernacle.

Today there are 45 treatment centers called “Cenacalo” for addicts and alcoholics around the world focused on the real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Their success rate is 75-85 per cent of participants. Why?

They are discovering the treasure, the pearl of a great cost, Jesus Christ among His People.

God Bless!