Thursday 5 April 2007

Maundy Thursday

What can we say about today - there is so much to say and so little of it suffices. I will say just a little. The Eucharist was utterly unexpected. Christ had already given himself to humanity by being born as one of us and we would never have expected him to give himself to us in the fullest way possible.

I'll make a few references to the Holy Father's letter "Sacramentum Caritatis" - we haven't had a document like this since Pius XII's "Mediator Dei"! After all the recent liturgial changes, after all the neccesary anthroplogy which JPII gave us and especially the Theology ofthe Body - which we need to insert more fully into our understanding of human matters, and his Eucharistic letters, Benedict 16th renews our understanding of the meaning of human life upon the basis of the Eucharist and its insertion into the Church and into the world.

"Since only truth can make us free, Christ becomes for us the food of truth." In the Eucharist uniquely, we are able to undertake the Life of Grace, the only kind of life we were ever destined to live. In the beginning, the Holy Father says, men and women were given "some share in God's breath of life", but in Christ we are made "sharers of God's inmost life". We see this same dynamic most commonly taking place in the Sacrament of marriage and in those who enter into a genuine natural marriage. That two people enter into one another's lives in a mysterious yet personal way, and in so doing they begin to live in a new way - they live a life of communion.

We had "forgotten" our primary purpose in life - we were to live for God and with God. The gift of Christ's body and blood, a gift which would bring forth the gift of his Holy Spirit, makes possible the same, but greater, dynamic which can be called "friendship with Christ", but which is more properly called the Life of Grace. "The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self oblation ... we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving." And here the Holy Father draws on an image he used at the Cologne World Youth Day; the Eucharist, he says, introduces into creation "a sort of nuclear fission ... which penetrates to the heart of all being ... to the point where God will be all in all." This is indeed the great mystery upon which our lives are built, directed and filled.

There will be opportunities in later postings to comment on the massive treatment which the Holy Father gives to the Liturgy in this letter. Here, I would like to note that with this document he is paving the way for the "reform of the reform". In the third paragraph a simple sentence states the whole principle of this reform: "Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the Rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities."

Well, here we are - at the very threshold of the Church's celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the hinge of our lives, our spritual lives, our moral lives, our social lives, our family lives, our work and our intellectual lives. The world will seem to stop as we open ourselves to the decisive action of the Blessed Trinity in human life.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful reflection..thankyou Fr.

Bede said...

Have a blessed Easter, Fr R