What’s Missing in the Eucharistic Revival

The idea of a national Eucharistic revival is a great thing. We can and should emphasize the Eucharist, the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith (Sacrosanctum Concilium 11, 14). We can and should bear witness to our faith that the Eucharist truly is the presence of Christ, and everything that presence means.

But there is a note missing in the national discussion, which precedents of renewal in Scripture can help us see and, perhaps, remedy. To see this, we can turn to the much-neglected books of Ezra-Nehemiah, which record various attempts to restore Israel after the Babylonian Exile.

Arguably central to Ezra-Nehemiah are two prayers, in Ezra 9:6-15 and Nehemiah 9:6-37. These prayers summarize the preceding history of Israel, but they also encourage the would-be restorationists to identify with, and repent for, the sins of their ancestors.

Ezra seems to recognize that past sins have consequences that reach into the present and even into the future—but, also, that God’s grace can mitigate those consequences in response to His people’s repentance.

If we examine our collective, national conscience, our prayers should be more like Ezra’s than most of us are comfortable admitting.

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