The common path to God

Praying in community

Jesus knows our human weaknesses. He knows what is needed to ensure that his words regarding his loving Father in heaven can be preserved and passed on through all times and generations. He knows that in times of need and challenge, belonging to a community helps to strengthen and support people, helping to keep them steadfast in their faith. This is true for whole nations as well as for individuals. For them, when left alone, it is often very difficult to live their faith, especially when they find themselves in an environment hostile to faith.

Jesus has promised us his special help whenever we meet and try to walk together in the ways of God: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". This is true for all people. But it is especially true for families. When parents pray together with their children, it is not only the children who learn through their parents that God wants to be close to them in their lives. God will give his grace to such families and to the children in particular and will also accompany them in their future lives. This does not mean that these families will suddenly be spared from all the difficulties of life. But it does mean that God will be close to them in the difficulties that arise and will often protect and accompany them in situations in which other people are often defenceless.

The Eucharistic celebration

In Protestant and free church congregations people meet in communion celebrations, in remembrance of Jesus' words "do this in remembrance of me", and the word of God is the focus. In the Catholic Church the Eucharistic celebration is celebrated at Mass. Here there are differences of faith which we must accept in brotherly love.

In the Catholic Church we believe that Jesus gave us the opportunity to experience the closeness of God in an extraordinary way. At his Last Supper before his death, Jesus took bread and wine and gave it to his disciples with the words: "Take and eat, this is my body, this is my blood - do this in remembrance of me". When we come together to celebrate the Eucharist in his memory, it is therefore God that we recieve in communion, in that little piece of bread of which Jesus said, "look, this is my body!"

What is the meaning of this? - In the celebration of the Eucharist, God makes himself small and gives himself to us out of love for us. This is pure love in the ultimate sense. He offers himself to become part of our lives. In the bread that we receive, he becomes one with us. But it is up to us to decide whether we want to receive him and thereby become one with him in our lives.

It would be good to seek this encounter with God with a pure heart. Respect for the Almighty alone dictates that we do not seek to encounter Him casually or with a sinful attitude.

If we live in sin, it would be better and more sincere not to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. To live against the clear will of God and still want to receive him because, for example, everyone else at mass is going to communion, would be a disregard for his greatness and the love that he has for us. We should become sensitive to this and seek forgiveness for our sins beforehand. We have the opportunity to do this within the framework of the sacrament of confession. If this is not possible, we should at least present our sins to God in a sincere way, asking for forgiveness.

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