Carl Anderson, the leader of the Knights of Columbus, told attendees at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin that the Holy Eucharist sanctifies marriage and puts sacrifices into perspective.
“The Eucharist affects our entire life,” Anderson said. “It is the source that enables us to live Christ’s great commandment—that we love God completely and our neighbor as our self. The Eucharist brings us into deeper communion with God and with our neighbor.”
He spoke Tuesday afternoon at the Royal Dublin Society Arena on the topic “Communion in Marriage and Family,” by drawing on the writings of Bl. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Anderson said that spouses and parents must be “Eucharistic” and “willing to leave ourselves behind, like Christ, to nourish others.” In raising children, he advised, parents can grow closer to each other and “draw more and more from God himself.”
Anderson said that the closeness of married couples and family members makes them part of “ a common journey of redemption” that is by nature relational. Individuals learn their roles from one another simply because of the presence of other persons.
The head of the Knights of Columbus suggested that many societies are losing recognition of the importance of marriage and family because a lack of “sanctification” means that the self-giving family becomes reduced to “a mere consensual agreement.”
“In many cases, couples’ fears about having children are really fears about this gift of self—fears that one might lose their identity in the gift of self, or fears that one will not be able to give oneself,” he said.
According to Anderson, the Catholic Church is the only contemporary voice saying that marriage, family and celibate singlehood are compatible with the vocation of the human person.
He stressed that the Eucharist is “central and vital” to the life of a lay person. Without it, he warned, “our communion with others is cut off from what sanctifies it.”
The 50th International Eucharistic Congress opened June 10 and will last until June 17. Tens of thousands of pilgrims will attend its events with the goal of strengthening their faith and devotion.