Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Eucharistic thinkin'

A while ago...November, I think, I attended a catechist's in-service. Said in-service verily kicked, um, gluteus maximus.* I derived much, much benefit therefrom. As is usually the case with me, I had to jot down what the HS dictated to me were the Really Cool Bits and then meditate upon them in prayer. Some random--albeit non-connected--thoughts on this:

1- "Communion" meaning to be in "common union" with Christ was prefigured in His being referred to in Scripture as "Emmanuel", i.e. "God with us."

2- Not only is God eternal, He is always in the present, that is to say omnipresent not just in the three spatial dimensions but all throughout time. His name, again, as mentioned in Scripture is “I Am.” Not, you will kindly note, “I Will Be.” This is why Christ HAS to be “with [us] always.”

3- The Eucharist is OUR Passover, where the blood of the slain Lamb saves us from destruction and its flesh nourishes us for the journey to the place God has promised us, just like He promised our ancestors in faith who were enslaved in Egypt, as we are “enslaved” by this world.

4- The way we savor something particularly yummy on our palate, we have to savor the Eucharist in our hearts. It is only this way that we will derive the maximum benefit from partaking. Once you savor something delicious, it spoils you for anything substandard, much like when you savor the Eucharist in your heart, with all that implies, you cannot BUT be changed. Speaking personally, my own weaknesses and sinfulness are cast in much sharper relief and my own sense of contrition heightened.

5- Since God, and therefore Christ, is always in the present, the Eucharistic sacrifice for us is ever-going. Not only did Christ give up His body and blood for us, He is ceaselessly continuing to do so. This is like the ripples of a stone tossed into a pond, which keep going towards the shore long after the event of the stone being thrown took place. The repercussions are felt long after.

6- We must remember we don’t have a “right” to take Communion, it is a gift. By its being a gift it means we cannot earn it.

7- The reason the Eucharist affects everyone differently is because—duh!—we are all different. But that’s not quite all. It affects us different because we are all different fruits in the Lord’s Garden. God wants us to bear good fruit, but he doesn’t demand that we all bear, say, apples, or mangoes or persimmons. Different crops grow at different rates. Sometimes the effect is near instantaneous. Sometimes it takes years or even decades. (Ask me how I know.)

8- While we read in Scripture the Eucharist was instituted with the phrase “Do this in remembrance of me” the original meaning of this phrase actually says “Do this that to keep me present with you” that is to say “that I may always be with you.” (A little bit of trivia there, courtesy of a long-ago Jesuit education)

9- The Eucharist, as a ripple-in-the-pond for Crucifixion, shows God’s love for us. And we have to remember that love is (or bloody well oughta be!) unconditional. If there is a reason for our loving someone (even God), if that reason is removed, then so will our love. God loves us “because,” not because we’re smart or pious or generous. He just loves us, therefore He made this sacrifice for us, and continues to do so.

10- Regardless of how the Eucharist affects us, the one common effect to all who are affected is the strengthened personal connection with God. After all, when we are in “common union” with God, we are “at one”** with him. Much like a blood cell, we become part of the mechanism of His plan without becoming our own independent entity. As a blood cell on a microscope slide we’re not terribly useful, but as part of a body we become useful towards the accomplishment of the body’s plan.

11- The way I described this to my CCD students is that when we are a connected with God, we are now able to “download” His grace. The better our connection (say, DSL vs. 56K vs. 14.4K) the better we are able to access all that God has in store for us.

Now you know.

Yours in Christ,

-JMG

* I'm so orthodox I have to work Latin in there somehow.

** Sorry to get all New Age-y.