Monday 24 October 2016

Year of Faith Treasury: Holy Communion - Francis Fernandez

Year of Faith Treasury: Holy Communion
Francis Fernandez
Scepter Publishing

This is the second book in this wonderful collection of 6 that I am reviewing. And I have read three of the six and can state that they are amazing little volumes. These books are each excerpts from a forthcoming longer volume. But each of these books encapsulates teachings and reflections on a single topic. For this volume the topic is Holy Communion. And to be honest communion is one of the core things that makes us Catholic, our beliefs around it and our practice of it.

The preface states: "This collection of quotations aims to be useful to someone looking for points to ponder in prayer, for those preparing a homily or a talk, or an article for publication. The Introduction offers a short reflection on the theme which can serve as a basis for a homily or a talk. Then follow some references to Sacred Scripture, followed by quotations from the Magisterium, the Fathers of the Church, and the saints. This publication is taken from an Anthology [in preparation] and paragraph numbers are the ones used there." And to be honest that is exactly what the book provides. It is an excellent tool for personal devotion or study, it can also be a great resource in preparing talks or meditations. And can be used as a resource in writing drawing together numerous sources for us on this incredible topic.

The chapters in this book are:
References to Sacred Scripture
From the Magisterium, the Church Fathers and the saints
Preparation of Body and Soul: "To make a good communion . . ."
"Why when you are cold do you move away from the fire?"
We receive Christ Himself
The effects of Holy Communion in the soul
Institution of the Sacrament
We receive the very Fount of all sanctity
Frequent Communion fortifies us against temptation
Spiritual Communion
The responsibility of those who administer or receive this sacrament
To be able to communicate is a great honour which Christ bestows on us
Holy Communion - the paschal precept
Holy Communion, the pledge of eternal life
Our weaknesses ought to lead us to seek strength in Holy Communion
Frequent Communion
Thanksgiving after receiving this Sacrament
The worship and veneration proper to the Blessed Sacrament
The Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament

In the introduction Francis states "Our communion has thus to be frequent, "and, if worldly people ask you why you receive Communion so often, tell them that it is to learn to love God, be purified from your imperfections, delivered from misery, comforted in affliction, and supported in weakness. Tell them that two classes of people should communicate frequently: the perfect because being well disposed they would be very much to blame if they did not approach the source and fountain of perfection, and the imperfect, so that they rightly strive for perfection; the strong lest they become weak, and the weak that they may become strong; the sick that they may be restored to health, and the healthy lest they fall sick. Tell them that, for your part, you are imperfect, weak, and sick and need to communicate frequently with him who is your perfection, strength, and physician."" In part quoting St. Francis ds Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, points 11,12. I believe the greatest give we as Catholics have is that we can go to communion almost any day. Even with a family and 3 young children for the past year I have managed to attend mass at least twice a week. We go often because we can and because we need to. And this book reinforces that point throughout.

After the introduction that has 4 longer points there are 80 quotes that form the rest of the book. They are drawn from church history, church teachings, Church Fathers and saints. Many of the sources I was familiar with but a few were new to me and have left me pursing new authors to read. I hope a short sampling of the quotes will whet you appetite to pursue this book either for your own personal development or as a tool for sharing your faith.

966 Love the Mass, my children, love the Mass. And be happy to receive our Lord in communion, although you may be cold inside, although your emotions may not correspond to your desires. Receive communion with faith, hope, with burning charity. - St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 91

986 First of all, the holy council teaches and openly and plainly professes that after the consecration of bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly really and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of sensible things. - Council of Trent, Session 13 chapter 1

994 The proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, to be able to say with the Apostle: I live, not I, but Christ lives in me". - St Thomas Aquinas, Commentary IV on the Book of Sentences, d12, q2, al

1007 The Body of Christ is not offered to us (in Communion) as a reward but as a bestowal of grace and heavenly life. - St Ambrose, in Catena Aurea, vol 6

1011 When we receive Jesus Christ, our soul becomes stronger; we are more resolute in our struggles; our actions are inspired by the purest of intentions and our love begins to become more and more ardent. - Curé d'Ars, Sermon on Holy Communion

As can be seen from these 5 quote, and it was very hard to narrow it down to 5 the variety of sources used in the compilation. I have read through the 7 volume series In Conversation with God, edited by Francis Fernandez a number of times. And I have now read through half of this series. I can emphatically state for the price these are incredible books that will nurture and nourish your faith and help you grow in knowledge and practice of your faith. Another great book edited by Francis Fernandez.

Books edited by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
Year of Faith Treasury: The Sacrament of Confession 
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Faith
Year of Faith Treasury: The Virtue of Fortitude 

In Conversation with God:

In Conversation with God eBooks:
Volume 1 Part 1 Advent 
Volume 1 Part 2 Christmas and Epiphany
Volume 2 Part 1 Lent and Holy Week
Volume 2 Part 2 Eastertide
Volume 3 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 1-6
Volume 3 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 7-12
Volume 4 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 13-18
Volume 4 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 19-23
Volume 5 Part 1 Ordinary Time Weeks 24-28
Volume 5 Part 2 Ordinary Time Weeks 29-34
Volume 6 Part 1 Special Feasts January-March
Volume 6 Part 2 Special Feasts April-June
Volume 7 Part 1 Special Feats July -September
Volume 7 Part 2 Special Feats October -December

Books by Francis Fernandez Carvajal:

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

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