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Archives LEAD two day event focuses on the Ecuharist

June 15, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

LAKE PLACID – “When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass… you are not just receiving the idea of Jesus,” said Timothy O’Malley, Ph.D., author and director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life and academic director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. “What you are receiving is the presence of love, a divine gift, that transforms your body here and now into what it is to become – divine. You participate in God’s own life here and now. Think about the gift of this…. It means our bodies, our lives here and now, our interior life and exterior life, is the very space where God comes to dwell among us.”

O’Malley was the keynote speaker at a two-day Leadership for Evangelization And Discipleship (LEAD) event held June 6 and 7 at St. Agnes Church and High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. His presentation, “Eucharist: Remember. Celebrate. Believe.,” was divided over several sessions of the second day of the event.

In each session, O’Malley presented information about the Eucharist before participants, seated in tables as small groups, discussed questions related to the presented materials. Participants also had opportunities to ask questions about the material.

One session focused on transubstantiation, the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ.

“In the doctrine of transubstantiation, bread and wine at their level of substance – what they are – are no longer bread and wine,” O’Malley said. “They are the Body and Blood of Christ, soul and divinity, the whole Christ given to the believer.”

O’Malley said he’s noticed a tendency to look to prove transubstantiation by pointing to Eucharistic miracles.

“There is no proof,” he said. “Substance is not visible. It’s invisible.”

O’Malley said Christ comes to us in the “sign of bread and wine” because “God wants to unite himself with us, and He wants to do so in a way we can receive it.”

And God comes to us in a way that gives us freedom.

“The Eucharist is the least forceful thing in the world,” O’Malley said. “How does God give himself to you? As a plain, white host. It’s almost nothing to see. It’s almost nothing to grasp. There’s almost nothingness to it. That’s the freedom of love. You have the freedom to give yourself in return and seek union in return.”

O’Malley also said the way God transforms the substance of bread and wine into Himself, He is also transforming individuals and the world.

“This way of seeing, of course, is essential in our lives,” he said. “God is transforming our world in love, even if you have to admit sometimes you don’t see it… Look beyond the visible to that which is invisible. Give ourselves faithfully to what is given to us. That’s the document of transubstantiation. All of this transforms our lives slowly by grace.”

The two-day event also included “Music as Prayer: Its Role in Celebrating Eucharist,” a presentation by Sister Mary Gregory Munger, a Sister of St. Joseph.

It concluded with Mass at St. Agnes Church with Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrating.


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