My Body, My Blood: A Corpus Christi Contemplation

Why did Jesus leave us His Body and His Blood to eat and drink?  Perhaps this was the only way to convey to us human beings the reality of and make us pay attention to our Spiritual Life as distinct from, though part of, our physical life.  As Jesus is the God-Man, one person and two natures, so, in a sense, we are one person leading life on seemingly[1] two planes, the temporal and the spiritual plane.

To show us this reality, Jesus became this reality, even more than He already was/is: All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. [Jn 1:3] Taking ordinary bread and ordinary wine, He transforms it, recreates it, changes its essence, its substance, from bread and wine into His Body and His Blood.  Temporal reality becomes eternal reality.  The ordinary becomes, literally, extra-ordinary. The created becomes divine.  The best of both worlds to feed us who are citizens, participants, creatures of both worlds, the people of God, the adopted sons and daughters of the heavenly family.

We are not trapped souls trying to flee our bodies.  Jesus made this very, very, very clear by doing exactly the opposite, taking on our humanity, becoming human.  He is the one who teaches us what it means to be human, how to live the lives we were/are destined to live, how to be ourselves.  And He left us Holy-Makers, i.e. Sacra-ments, to addresses our human needs,

  • cleansing our selves in the sign of cleansing our bodies with water,
  • feeding our selves in the sign of feeding our bodies with His flesh and blood,
  • curing our selves by the forgiveness, the real freedom from our past faults and failings,
  • providing us with a rite of passage into our lives in the world as a sign of our adult commitment in the Spirit,
  • the binding of our family units as a sign before God as well as men,
  • the calling forth of our priesthood as a sign of  His enabling us to offer worthy sacrifice to our Heavenly Father, signed by the obedience and honor we give our earthly father and mother, and
  • the curing of our spiritual ills as a sign at the time when our bodily ills remind us of our journey, our temporary residence here and our permanent residence with Him.

It is not easy for me to be “in the presence” of the Lord. I’m amazed, awe inspired, I worship Him that 2000 years ago He created this sacrifice, this presence so that today, I can be as close to Him as His apostles were at the Last Supper.

But that’s not my problem.  I know He is there, but perhaps that is the point, knowing is not feeling, knowing is not loving, knowing is not desiring, knowing is not resting. Knowing is not comfortable, not relaxed; it is “objectifying,” whether the knowledge is received through the senses or through faith.

I get antsy, I want “to do” something, anything.  It seems part of the whole Law-vs-Faith syndrome; we cannot act/adhere ourselves into heaven, we must believe ourselves into heaven. This is part of my cross, to realize, to grok in the depth of my being, that while God IS, I am becoming; while God creates, I am being created; while God is in charge, controls, orders all things, practices providence, I am not in charge, I do not control, I receive all things, I am a product of providence.

Again, both Jesus and Mary showed me the reality of my position, of my stance, of my posture, of my response to God’s call: “Be it done UNTO me according to Your word.” [Lk 1:38] “Still, not my will but yours be done.”[Lk 22:42]  One would think that having the examples of the perfect human being and the God-Man stating very clearly exactly what I have to do, that I would get it, that I could sit quietly in His presence and let it be done unto me.  That I could avail myself of this spiritual “radiation therapy,” allowing God’s grace to flow over, around and into me, healing, soothing, calming and comforting me with His constant assurance, “Fear not” [Is 41:10; Mt 14:27; Mk 6:50], you have chosen “the better part” [Lk 10:42] and it shall not be taken from you.

That I may become entirely, totally and fully ready to have You, God, remove these defects of character, these inhibiting habits, these cringing crutches.  Amen. Alleluia!!!

1] “Seemingly,” because the trick is to see them as one, united, together, fused in God. Having eyes but not seeing, ears but not hearing, mouths but not speaking is a constant refrain in Scripture [Ps 135:16; Is 6:10; Jer 5:21; Mk 8:18] We need spiritual eyes to see; tuned in ears to hear, blessed mouths to speak the sacred, the spiritual. Perhaps that why some many blind people were cured by Christ [Mk 8:22-25; Lk 18:35; Jn 9].  Perhaps that is the meaning of the enigmatic dialogue of Jesus with the Pharisees at the end of His curing the blind man in John: Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains. [Jn 9:39-41] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

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