Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Memorial of Saint Pius X

Once, due to a traffic accident, I arrived forty minutes late for an early morning Mass I was scheduled to celebrate. When I finally entered the church, I expected to find it empty. Much to my surprise, however, the vast majority of the people had stayed, because daily Mass is so important to them.

It’s fitting that such a testimony of love for the Eucharist was made on a day we honor Saint Pius X, who served as pope from 1903-1914, and is sometimes known as the "Pope of the Holy Eucharist." In his day, it was commonly taught that most people were too unworthy to receive Communion on a regular basis. People went to Mass, but would typically pray the rosary while it took place, and would receive Communion only a few times a year. As Pope, Pius X encouraged people to pray the Mass along with the priest and receive Holy Communion frequently, even daily if possible. In addition, because he thought it important that children receive communion, he established the age of first Holy Communion at age 7, which is still our practice today.

Jesus once told a parable of a king who sent out invitations to attend his royal banquet- the heavenly banquet, of which the Eucharist is a foretaste. One way we can honor the memory of Pius X, is by accepting our Lord’s invitation to attend his Eucharistic banquet, as faithfully, and as often, as we can.

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