The liturgy, especially the divine Eucharistic Sacrifice, is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, and the fountain from which all power flows. Our life is centered in Christ’s Eucharistic sacrament and sacramental presence. (Constitutions of the Congregation)
For a St. Cecilia Dominican, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is our source and summit throughout the day. We begin the day in prayer before the tabernacle. We are nourished by his Word during meditation, in Lauds, and at Mass. We are nourished by his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Before leaving for our assigned duties as student or teacher, we make another visit to the chapel. From Him, our Source, we receive all we need to go forth in his name.
To Him we return at the end of each day. In private visits and community prayer, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is our focus. He is the one to whom all our works, our conversations, our prayers are directed. He is the summit always before our eyes as our one goal. Our Eucharistic devotions expand and extend the “source and summit” of the Mass while ever strengthening our understanding and love for Christ’s sacrifice and sacrament.
The Second Vatican Council referred to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the “source and summit” of our lives (Lumen Gentium 11). This same phrase has been used by the Church over and over again since the Council, urging us all to recognize the meaning of the Mass. What does it mean for the Mass to be our “source and summit”?
As “source,” the Mass is the origin of our spiritual lives. From this point we receive all that we need to live life in communion with God. Further, the Eucharist is a very real means of communion with one another and with all of God’s people. Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is an obvious realization of this. In addition, in the Mass we are united with Christ’s salvific action, his redeeming sacrifice, in which He manifests his complete obedience to the Father and his absolute love for mankind. Grace is restored to a fallen world through this act. We also engage in pure worship, humbling ourselves before the Almighty in contrition, praising Him in ancient texts used from the earliest days of the Church, and petitioning the Father with the needs of the world.
As “summit,” the Mass is the high point of each day, the greatest action in which we can participate. It is a partaking in the Heavenly Banquet to which each of us is called. Our lives have one goal: eternal life with the Holy Trinity. The Mass is said to be a foretaste of that life, a bit of time that touches eternity.