MEETING CHRIST FOR BREAKFAST

On Sunday mornings, after going to church services, many people eat out at the favorite diner or restaurant. I like to see family eat together. This scenario reminded me of one of my Lectio Divina meditations on having a meal with Christ, a.k.a. The Eucharist.  I got to thinking of how we who have not had the privilege and honor of meeting Jesus in person can actually have breakfast with Jesus. That is exactly what happens when we go to Eucharist.

It is always difficult when the founder of a movement or a religious order dies. I am thinking of Mother Theresa in particular and how her community had to go on without her enthusiastic spirit to help them.  The same could be told of the Apostles in the upper room. Jesus came to them again. They must have been flushed with excitement to see Christ once again in the flesh, although they knew his body had died. The rumors of his resurrection from the dead were fresh and spread among the disciples. What stood out for me in this upper room experience was the statement, “Blessed are those who do not see yet believe.” (John 20:29) I like this passage because it is the way I believe. What Jesus handed off to the Apostles happened 2000 years ago, yet we have the same Christ in front of us, not in memory but in reality. How is Christ made real in these our days of unbelief and actual hostility to the message of Christ to love one another? As usual, the answer was right under my nose, when I had breakfast with Christ at Eucharist.

Here are my thoughts.  It all begins well before I go to Eucharist.  There is the period of temptation that floods me with ideas such as you don’t need to go today, just lay in bed for twenty more minutes, or why waste your time going to la-la land, or even the famous one about you can meet Jesus on the golf course as well as you can at church?  Every time I try to be in the presence of Christ, I am tempted. Every time!

The reason for Church is a gathering of the faithful to proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.  Church is not only a building but the living Body of Christ in this age. The Church universal is composed of those who have died and gone before us in Faith, those who struggle with the effects of original sin while still on this earth, and those awaiting purification for their sins.  It is a sign of deeper spiritual awareness when you can see Christ in those around you, particularly those with whom you disagree or who are repulsive.  St. Benedict has that idea in his Rule, Chapter 53, The Reception of Guests. “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matt 25:35).

  • When I go to join the assembly of the Faithful, be it anytime, I approach the table of the Lord with fear of the Lord. I only sit on the very last bench at church, which I call the tax collector’s seat. I dare not look up to the altar but keep my eyes lowered while saying all the time, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
  • I look at the presence of Christ displayed in the Stations of the Cross, where I can focus on Christ and the price he paid for my redemption.
  • I look at the crucifix on the fall wall and I think of the cross as a sign of contradiction, the sign of ignominy used as the instrument of our salvation and reparation.  Cistercians do not have statues or images other than that of Holy Mother. In their church buildings, they do not have stained glass with images, but just patterns of light.
  • The altar itself is that likened to what Abraham tried to sacrifice his son, Issac but God intervened and he sacrificed a lamb. Christ is the Lamb of God sacrificed each Eucharist on this very altar. The faith of the church and my own faith tells me He is real just as he was in the upper room before the Apostles. We bow to the temple altar of the New Jerusalem because from it ascends the honor, glory, and praise to God the Father, through God the Son, with the Holy Spirit. We poor mortals tag along with Christ and offer our poor prayers and petitions in, with and through Christ.
  • After you are dead, no one will remember that you praised God on the golf course instead of attending Eucharist, except Christ,

That in all things, may God be glorified.  –St. Benedict

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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