EPIPHANY – SATURDAY
LESSON: PSALM 97
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
When the Sacrament is used properly, the conscience is not tormented, but comforted and lightened by the joy of faith. For God did not give us the Sacrament as a poison or an instrument of torture, so that one should be terrified by it. This is what happened to us when we were taught the very unskilled doctrine that in the mass we offered our own piety as a sacrifice to God, and lost the real meaning of the Sacrament, namely, that it contained for us words of comfort and salvation, to strengthen our conscience, to refresh us, to make us joyful and to free us from all misfortunes.
This is how one should regard the Sacrament, a source of the sweetest grace, consolation, and life. It is poison and death for those who rush into it in a brazen manner, without feeling any kind of weakness, shortcoming, or need which should impel them to seek the Sacrament, and who act as though they were previously quite pure and pious. The Sacrament is for those who recognize their shortcomings and failings, who know in themselves that they are far from perfect piety, but who have the keen desire to improve.
So much depends here on the recognition of our real condition and our real needs, for we are all subject to weaknesses and are sinners, but we do not all confess this. This is enough about preparation for the Sacrament and strengthening our faith through the words of the Sacrament, that we here receive Christ’s body and blood, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins. Through these words the benefit, fruit, and practice of the Sacrament are adequately indicated and expressed, as far as we are to make use of it for ourselves.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, refresh us, strengthen us in body and soul, and make us really joyful Christians in the use of your Holy Supper, for Christ’s sake. Amen.