The multiplication of the loaves and fish, today’s Gospel for the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, is a beautiful and powerful representation of the grace of the Holy Eucharist. The second reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians narrates the events of the Last Supper.
We see what I call the Eucharistic moments in this letter and in the Gospel: “He took, gave thanks or blessed, broke and gave.” This is a way of life that we can develop in the day to day.
Allow me to focus on the first moment, as this is what seems to be the key to the rest of the process and what, likewise, seems to be the “crisis” of our time. “To take” begins with spending moments to quiet down, to catch our breath, so to speak, in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
I refer to this moment as “taking stock of things.” For the Feast of the Trinity last week, we talked about contemplation as a time to stop, look and listen.
St. Ignatius of Loyola was a big advocate of contemplation, and side by side with this, he often used the word “relish.” Whenever one finds grace or consolation at some point or moment of prayer, he suggests that one should stay with it and relish it.
His advice was a classic example of “non multa, sed multum,” not many, but much. It’s not the quantity of things we do or have, what we achieve, but the quality of it all.
When Christ took the bread and the cup, it was his very life and person that he was taking. He was taking stock of
his 33 years in order to make it an offering to his Father and for us.
I always tell the teachers I work with in our formation programs for public schools that we cannot give what we do not have. This Eucharistic moment of “taking” influenced this point.
It all begins with a simple taking hold of our day-to-day life, our activities and schedule. We give ourselves time to reflect and allow the fruits of the reflection to move us into and to guide our action.
We do not simply allow our circumstances and daily situations to take hold of us. We are not dictated upon, neither do we “fight” the circumstances and situations, but rather we cooperate with them.
St. Ignatius suggests in the contemplation that we enter the scene or mystery we are contemplating. Enter it as one of the characters in the scene and to completely experience the scene, be totally immersed in it.
Knowledge of self
The contemplative person is self-possessed, one who has a realistic knowledge of the self and of the world he or she lives in.
It is a knowledge of the self and the world that gives one the freedom to commit and to dedicate oneself to a worthy cause and to God.
This freedom comes with gratitude, which allows us to be free from the self, what is good and bad in us. We give thanks. We become grateful for who we are in our totality.
It is this gratitude that leads us to commit—“to break and to give”—the offering of the self in love and service.
The celebration of the Mass each day is a special moment when we remember all this and reconnect with the Christ who “took bread, said the blessing, broke and gave.”
Today we celebrate this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. As we celebrate, we pray to be blessed with the grace-filled moments of the Eucharist in all the ordinary moments of our day-to-day life. —CONTRIBUTED