13 December 2010

The Eucharist is ...

A friar from another province of ideological infamy (and a good friend of mind) is allegedly fond of proclaiming "the Eucharist is everything."  He means this, it seems, in the inclusive sense.  That is to say, to him, the Eucharist is comprised of each individual thing in the world: people, places and things.  While I find such a statement to be filled with problems, I appreciate his efforts at theological synthesis, even if they result in bold syncretism.

This morning at mass, the words of the aforementioned friar struck me again and I believed him to be right, yet in an altogether different way.  "The Eucharist is everything."  Perhaps, more accurately, the Eucharist to me is the only thing; or more accurately still, the most important thing.

Too often in my own spiritual life I take my own privilege of a life of religion for granted.  What a grace to be able to pray the Divine Office on behalf of the People of God on a daily basis.  What a grace to be able to attend mass daily.  What a grace to simply be able to pray, unworthily though honestly.


Brother Vito, OFMCap said...

I think what those friars intend to say is Eucharist and other sacraments are now viewed as nouns rather than how they used to be: as verbs. Eucharist is the presence of God in the breaking of bread. Marriage is the presence of God in the union of two people. To say the "Eucharist is everything" is not to diminish the Eucharist with everything else in the world, rather that we diminish God by saying He can only be found in a handful of things we call sacraments.

It's good to see that you're able to contextualize our theology into your own experience. ;)

La paz,

mtjofmcap said...

To paraphrase Gerald O'Collins, SJ in a book about redemption, theology means watching our language.

To suggest that the Eucharist is everything, as in each and every single thing, is painfully unspecific language.

And (big surprise), I disagree with a view of the sacraments as nouns or verbs. They transcend language. However, to take away the active "verb" element is a functionalist view of the sacraments.

Anyone can break bread, but an ordained priest offers the sacrificial meal on behalf of the people of God. The Sacraments it seem (and I think I can subscribe this view to the Church as well) are matters of ontology - a efficacious change of being.

In short: The Eucharist is a very specific "thing" -- the source and summit and fountain of our Christian life; nothing else on earth at the moment compares.