Here’s How the Holy Eucharist Can Heal Our Culture
Priests, religious and laity are encouraged to take part in Eucharistic processions on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 11
Much of today’s American political, business and pop culture have empowered a throwaway culture of death that is hostile to the Gospel, despises human dignity, and seeks to discard people who are wrongly deemed unproductive, unplanned, and therefore unnecessary.
This hostility is in part because so many are deeply wounded and do not know they are loved. This hostility to the Gospel and human dignity is most apparent in health care.
Pro-abortion politicians, the abortion lobby and pro-euthanasia proponents are relentless in attacking the religious freedom and conscience rights of pro-life health-care professionals, pro-life clinics, and Catholic health-care institutions. This is especially unjust because Catholic health professionals and medical institutions carry out the preferential option for poor, caring for materially impoverished immigrants, racial minorities in lower-income urban communities, and underserved rural communities across the country.
I serve as the executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation, a Catholic health ministry. Our mission at the Christ Medicus Foundation is to share the healing love of Christ by providing a Christ-centered health and wellness program for families, called CURO, and promoting the civil rights of medical conscience and religious freedom. We are building a culture of life that counters the throwaway culture.
After years of working to advance medical conscience rights and pro-life health care, and after serving in a pro-life presidential administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I know government can do great things if dedicated to the right to life and to the human dignity of all.
However, to achieve victory for the culture of life in America, the most urgent need is spiritual renewal, for people from all races and ethnic backgrounds to be in communion with Jesus Christ and with each other. Thus, the Christ Medicus Foundation’s most important work is our CURO health and wellness program in which we serve our members by sharing Christ’s healing love through spiritual direction, Catholic health coaching, online Catholic wellness courses, and a health-care sharing option within a Christ-centered community.
Christ-centered community is urgently needed for health, wellness, and the restoration of the broader culture. But please don’t just take my word for it on the need for community. A few weeks ago, the U.S. surgeon general released an advisory report entitled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.”
According to the surgeon general’s advisory, social isolation can harm a person’s health similar to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can cause greater risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other illnesses. While these negative health outcomes caused by social isolation shows the centrality of every person’s need to love and be loved, secular community is not enough.
Human flourishing requires meaningful relationships and community that cares for the whole person, in soul, mind and body. Too often in secular health care and broader popular culture, caring for the soul is neglected. In truth, to be fully alive, we all need communion with Jesus Christ himself, especially in the Eucharist. For as our Lord told us:
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you (John 6:53).
While politics and government play a vital role in the culture of life, the answer to all our country’s problems is found through communion with love itself, Jesus Christ, and through carrying that love to others. The Eucharist is our strongest ally in this effort, and Jesus himself must be brought to the streets, to heal and restore our fellow Americans face to face.
Following the lead of the Eucharistic Revival, Catholic lay leaders and I are encouraging parishes and lay groups nationwide to do Eucharistic processions on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Sunday, June 11, along with four days of prayerful Eucharistic-focused repentance leading up to the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. You can find out more about this effort at holyadoration.org.
I encourage priests, religious brothers and religious sisters, parishioners, lay leaders, prayer groups and families to join this effort by leading or participating in a Eucharistic procession in your community on Corpus Christi Sunday.
Please share this initiative with your family, fellow parishioners, friends and colleagues. We encourage you to participate in the days of prayerful repentance from June 12-15 at your home, with a prayer group, or in your parish.
Living in communion with Jesus Christ and with our fellow Americans is the cure to the throwaway culture of death. We have a moral obligation to give maximum effort to advance the culture of life through civic and political engagement. Yet, it has become blindingly clear that our nation needs revival in Christ before the deeper restoration of our country can begin.
Christ is the answer. Through him we find the fullness of hope, healing, love and freedom. Let us be instruments of making this healing communion available to all in our country and thereby empower the culture of life and love to be restored in our great nation.
Louis Brown Jr. is an attorney and the executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation, a Catholic health ministry that includes the CURO health and wellness program. He also serves as associate director of the Center for Law and the Human Person at The Catholic University Columbus School of Law.