Luis Fernando Figari Rodrigo, consecrated lay and founder of the Sodalite Family, who is participating as an auditor to the Synod on the Eucharist at the Vatican, noted that a catechesis that helps Christians to recuperate the sense of the Eucharist and of the Sunday as “Dies Domini” was urgent.
This the interview that Figari held with CNA:
What kind of reflections would a founder from Latin America bring to this Synod?
The Great gift of the Eucharist is a treasure for the Church and the world. When we reflect upon this gift of God, a great number of thoughts arise and a permanent wonder. The believer is conscious that the sacrifice at Golgotha and the Holy Sacrament that we celebrate at Mass are the one and same. How not to fall into an experience of wonder, gratefulness and worship? In the Mass, the sacrifice of the Cross lives on sacramentally. The immense love of God for humankind is manifested through it. In making himself present and real, Our Lord Jesus Christ shows the reconciliation love and shows before us how in Him, human existence acquires its full sense. The human mystery becomes clear in the magnitude of the Eucharist, which is like the continuation and extension of the Incarnation.
Seeing with the eyes of faith, the real presence of Jesus, is to live once again the experience of the disciples of Emmaus, is to recognize the Savior and to perceive that the Heart burns for joy in his presence.
The fundamental questions of the human being, acquire an unimaginable answer. In a Latin America crucified by secularism, injustice, the abuse against human right, consumerism, violence, God comes to the encounter of the human being and, what happened in history two thousands years ago, is protracted to our days. It is Emmanuel! For what Saint John Chrysostom, commenting on that name says: “you will see God among men.” This is how men and women in Latin America see it. With the eyes of faith, the people marked by the evangelization believe firmly that the Eternal word, incarnated in the Immaculate Virgin, who died on the Cross and rose victorious of death, makes himself really present in the Altar for our good, and remains in the tabernacle shedding light and warmth to the human existence.
The Eucharist is central for the Church, but often it is understood as a Sacrament that refers only exclusively to priests. What importance does the Eucharist have for lay, especially in his role in the renewal in the Church?
The Eucharist is at the center of Christian life. The title of this Synod is precisely “ The Eucharist, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church.” It is a gift of the Same reconciliation heart for the whole Church. The ordained priest acts in person of Christ as a head. His participation is fundamental for the celebration of the Eucharist, but somehow it exclusively refers to the Priest.
The Eucharist is fundamental for the Church that pilgrims in this world. It is a mystery of faith that builds the Church and from there nurtures its faithful. In the Church, the Eucharist is celebrated and adored. The Eucharist makes the Church grow. The lay are part of the Church and take part to its mission. It is a gift for all the sons and daughters of the Church, and most of the lay. Therefore, the Eucharist is central for all the members of the people of God.
The “Lineamenta” of the Synod mention the worrying numbers on vocations and its global recess. What is accountable for this phenomenon? What aren’t there any more vocations.
In deed, there is a sensible fact of the decrease in the answer to the call of priestly vocation, as in consecrated life. It is a complex phenomenon. God calls. Vocation is properly a call from God, and God continues to call the Problem is on our side, human beings who reveal ourselves as ignorant and therefore reluctant to the call of God. There is no Crisis of Vocations. The possible reasons of this lack of answer are numerous and complex, depending in what country. To mention a few, Secularism, materialism, superficial existence, selfishness, a social pressure that goes against people who discover they have a vocation and wish to answer the call. There are indeed many possible reasons.
Which are the most the more urgent themes, from the perspective of a consecrated lay founder, around the renewal of the Eucharist piety: the participation to Mass, the Eucharist adoration, the liturgical renewal?
It is difficult to answer in an interview with the length that would be necessary. In the accomplishment of the Dominical precept, the encounter with the Lord in the community that celebrates de “Dies Domini”, has decreased for similar causes to those noted as a ferment of the lack of answer to the vocational call. We have to point out that it varies from countries and continents. Nevertheless, I would like to underline how ignorance turns out to be a key element. The lack of catechesis, education in faith. It becomes necessary to deepen what the Holy Mass is, and the liturgical and devotional life in general.
Sometimes, it is touted as a mere obligation, and not what would be as necessary as oxygen, that encourages and gives life. Evidently, there are other reasons. The renewal of an Eucharistic devotion has a lot to do with the religious practice. The incoherence between faith and life, a terrible wrong that has to be resolved. This breach that is nourished by various causes, is a key element of the decrease of eucharistic devotion. Superficiality, crisis of identity, existential vacuum. For that reason, Pope John Paul II insisted on the emergency of a new evangelization. That means to try to proclaim our faith in all moments and circumstances. The missionary perspective of the life of any believer has to be stressed. If we pay attention to what Pope Benedict is doing and preaching, we would notice that he is living himself the new evangelization.
It’s about following this path, there will be no renewal, if the evangelization conscience of the sons and daughters of the Church is not revived. The new evangelization seems to be a logical step in which one has to commit himself fully. Including the Eucharist celebration, communion and adoration, is source and summit.