Eucharist is Mystical Food

Scripture   John 6:51-59


                      For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

                           He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in Me and I live in him.

                 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

                   abides in me and I in them...

                 The one who eats this bread will live forever. 




Jesus would seem "to become all fire" when he speaks to his disicples of becoming for them, "the living bread." He so longs for us to become "spiritually alive" that he almost leads us to our place at the Mystical Supper Table. See open spaces along the front side of the table in icon and come to the mystical supper and feast on the Bread of Life. We are being invited to partake actively in this banquet feast that will transform us into God's divine life. As the Wisdom author speaks,

"You fed your people with the food of angels,

and gave them bread from heaven,

prepared without labour;

having in it all that is delicious

and the sweetness of every taste."  

 Wisdom 16:20


The one who eats this bread - the Eucharist - will live forever. Eucharist "implants in our bodies some seed of immortality which gives them a right to the glorious resurrection". (J. P Medaille, SJ ) We need this mystical food for our journey through life. Since that first Eucharist in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, Jesus has made present perfect love (agape) everywhere, day after day, through His instruments, the priests. "Do this in memory of Me," is the loving imperative in Jesus' last words. In other words, it would seem that our challenge to live the Eucharistic life, to be "other Christ’s" in the Mystical Body, is made possible only by allowing the "power of Christ's love" to flow through us instruments. Our participation in the liturgy today must be re-vitalized with the consciousness of its spiritual -psychological -social dimensions.



Thinking of Eucharist in terms of a meal has an ancient and honourable tradition. To "break bread" with others signifies solidarity and fellowship. To be invited gives pleasure and denotes the honour the host/hostess has for us. The food itself is the feast; the banquet of good things - a sign of friendship and communion. Thomas Merton has spoken eloquently of the "O Sacrum Convivium". "The Latin word convivium contains more of this mystery than our words  "banquet" or "feast". To call a feast a "convivium" is to call it a "mystery of the sharing of life" – a mystery in which guests partake of the good things prepared and given to them by the love of their host, and in which the atmosphere of friendship and gratitude expands into a sharing of thoughts and sentiments, and ends in common rejoicing. In the Christian context, guests and hosts together are a sign of rejoicing of the "One Christ loving Himself."



We need to know how to celebrate Eucharist. I pray we may awaken to it as an experience of a true "convivium": "Grant that when I have the happiness to partake of this sacrament, your grace may change my life into your life". While the social-communal element of Eucharist was not as clearly expressed in earlier generations, our hearts can seem to come alive with joy and overflowing with love for Jesus' coming to us and expanding through us and enkindling  a desire to love all others.

"Of this fullness I can only say to you that it brings about
that the infinite Being of God and of Jesus, intimately present,
seems to vivify in an almost tangible way
the soul and body of a mere ‘nothing’
and cause it to live by the very holiness of an infinite God
who possesses the immensity of all things."
The Eucharistic Letter, p. 11

Do we yet know Eucharist. Have we experienced the ‘mystical food’ that vivifies all of life. When we receive the sacred Host and drink the precious Blood, it is not only because we ourselves have a desire to receive Jesus, but also and above all, because He, in this sacrament, desires to give himself to us. “Come to Me. I call you deeper into the heart of this mystery. Truly, I am present here in all the fullness of my power and energy and love. Yet, I am full of another desire: I desire you, I need you, I long for you to share in my divine life and love. Yes, I long for you. I call you to an intimate, personal union with Me. I have an "ardent desire to unite myself with you, to live in you, to abide with you, to transform you into my divine life." 



We will always be unable to explain adequately this profound mystery “but the divine Goodness will bring us to an understanding." (E.L. p. 11) At times, this awareness of Someone calling us to the altar, stirs up some haunting yearning from some mysterious depths within our own souls and we too cry out in loving abandonment: "O Jesus, effect in me a miracle of love."



The action of the Blessed Sacrament upon each soul at the moment of Communion is the action of the divine and spiritual energy which resides in the Body of Christ. This spiritual energy is first of all divine light, and then it is perfect charity. It radiates from the Body of Christ that we receive in Communion, and it penetrates our whole being, transforming and divinizing us. But the action of this supernatural energy which radiates from the transfigured and glorified Body of the Christ. The grace that we receive by contact with the 'Body of Christ" is a grace which Jesus desires us to receive. It is poured out with a generosity proportionate to his personal love for us and to his intimate knowledge of our personal needs." (Merton, Living Bread, p. 88)



This "self-emptying love", this expansive generosity of Love communes within our innermost being and opens up a depth within our own souls. Sometimes, upon reception of Communion, there is a peace which opens out in the depths of our soul ~ a spiritual silence, a rest, a security, a certainty of Jesus' intimate presence. This is a sign that we have opened the door that leads into the inner sanctuary of our own being - that secret place where we are united with God. This is the "inner chamber" where we are to go to "pray always" throughout our day.



This marvellous selfless love so manifest in the little Host is really the centre of the whole universe! So when we are bathed in that Love, we are in relationship to the centre and origin of all creation - "the source of all pure and holy loves on earth." (J.P. Medaille) Jesus, in Communion, centres us in our humanity and ones us with the Trinity and with each other. Each one receives the same host – the same Body of Christ. Here is a great love that gives life and love  and makes whole everything it touches. Here is the great love that we have been seeking all our lives. This LOVE completes us as we allow ourselves to let it enter and transform our deepest selves. There are times when we receive Eucharist and we experience within us a challenge to the quality of our loving. The pure and selfless Love communicating with our inmost-self lets us know that we are not free, not pure in our loving self and/or others. We sense Love's desire to free our hearts from these limitations. The great LOVE stretches and expands and we can 'contain' more of the Divine likeness. Jesus comes to us in this divine mystery in order to divinize us and transform us entirely. The Fathers of the Church never looked at the Eucharist otherwise than as the way to the highest mystical union with God.



Carrying Grace   Effect in me a miracle of love. 



#2 arletteh 2011-06-29 20:24
It is a Convivium. It is an abundantly joyful feast! This we celebrate at Eucharist!
#1 arletteh 2011-06-29 20:22
During the Exodus, the Israelites hungered, thirsted and were beset by troubles .They realized their deep need for God and were humbled by it. God sent them manna. They found it unsatisfying food, for it was sent through suffering and they had to cry out to God for it each day. They were reminded that they were to listen for the word of God in order to live (not on bread alone). We could say their hearts had become an altar of sacrifice: empty, waiting for God’s gifts.
In time, God sent the word as Word made Flesh, Jesus of Nazareth, the Lamb of God, perfect sacrifice.
Vatican II restored an emphasis on the Eucharist as banquet, as well as the word being integral to it. The word challenges,cons oles,inspires. The word made flesh in our lives is shared, as we share what we have offered on the altars of our hearts; as we share our lives now inspired by the One who was the firstborn from the dead, the fullness of Love. This is more than a banquet, as you say, Rosemary. It is a convivium.It is an abundantly joyful feast! This we celebrate at Eucharist!

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