Thursday, June 15, 2006

fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - "The eternal tide flows hid in living bread. That with its heavently life too be fed..."
(St. John of the Cross Poems)

2. The Eucharist is not only Jesus actually living among us, but it is Jesus become our Food. This is the chief aspect under which today's liturgy presents the mystery to us: there is no part of the Mass which does not, at least, make some allusion to it. The Introit refers to it when it mentions the wheat and honey with which God once fed the Hebrews in the desert, a miraculous food, and yet a very poor representation of the living, life-giving Bread of the Eucharist. The Epistle (I Cor 11, 23-29) speaks of it, recalling the institution of this Sacrament, when Jesus "took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said, 'Take ye, and eat; this is My Body' " ; the Gradual chants, "The eyes of all hope in You, O Lord, and You give them meat in due season." The very beautiful Sequence Lauda Sion, celebrates it at length, and the Gospel (Jn 6, 56-59), echoing the Alleluia, cites the most significant passage in the discourse when Jesus Himself announced the Eucharist. "My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed." The Communion Hymn repeats a sentence of the Epistle, and reminds us that we receive the Body of the Lord worthily. Finally , the Postcommunion tells us that Eucharistic Communion is the pledge of eternal communion, in heaven. But in order to have a better understanding of the immense value of the Eucharist, we must go back to the very words of Jesus, most opportunely recalled in the Gospel of the day, "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in him." Jesus made Himself our food in order to assimilate us to Himself, to make us live His life, to make us live in Him, as He himself lives in His Father. The Eucharist is truly the sacrament of union and at the same time it is the clearest and most convincing proof that God calls us and pleads with us to come to intimate union with Himself.

.....O my soul, how can you refrain from plunging yourself ever deeper and deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you, and to Himself forever?" (St. Angela of Foligno).