By Rev. Joanne Davies
Jesus, consume me with Your love as I consume You.
“O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I dwell in You.” (~ St. John Vianney)
“Sweetest Jesus, Body and Blood most Holy, be the delight and pleasure of my soul, my strength and salvation in all temptations, my joy and peace in every trial, my light and guide in every word and deed, and my final protection in death. Amen.” (~ St. Thomas Aquinas)
When my daughter was very young, perhaps six years old, she said to me “communion is the best part”. And that’s why she came with me every Sunday. When I asked her what she liked about communion – she told me she liked the words that described the bread and wine and that we all ate and drank together just as the words asked us to. “I like the feeling I have when we do this.”
Along with theologians and councils I could possibly dance on the head of a pin about transubstantiation, transformation, changes and even symbol. But for me, I need to move away from that pin and be within the knowing we come in prayer to the Eucharist together over and over. Who is calling us to be present? Christ. Who nudges us forward? The Holy Spirit. Who loves us? God. We are being called by Christ, in the midst of the Trinity, his presence is already here – we are taking a moment to intentionally honour and reverence Christ’s presence in us, with us, and around us. And just as his words spoken changed the bread and wine with his first disciples, his words spoken change the bread and wine with us, not by sight or taste, but in the prayer giving new life, over and over. Feeding us through the Real Presence of perfect giving Love. We are embodied spirits, so we receive the memory of love to our body, while we stand in prayer, surrounded by others in faith with us.
Jesus tells us “Do this in memory of me.” St. Augustine said in the 5th Century, “It is your Mystery, the Mystery of your life that has been placed on the altar” … It is called the Eucharist because Jesus gave himself to God as an act of thanksgiving and love. It is called The Lord’s Supper because we celebrate the meal Jesus shared before a sacrifice of love and forgiveness. It is called Holy Communion because Jesus shares his life of grace with us. The risen Christ is present in the life of our body. We celebrate this. We become one with Christ by receiving him. Taking the bread and the wine in faith. Taking the bread and wine as memory and love and life as Jesus asked of us, we change too, inwardly on the journey of knowing ourselves as God does and outwardly to life around us. And it is called Holy Mass (meaning holy sending) because it brings us, and then sends us to live into God’s mission of Love.
I am not up to dancing on the head of the pin and defining and refining what is happening…. I confess to being quite content with “more than we can ask or imagine.”
Cardinal Ratizinger – who became Pope Benedict XVI – wrote from his heart and not from dogma or doctrine, saying the feast of Corpus Christi tells us: “Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is transformation, therefore there is hope. And hope gives us the strength to live and face the world.”