You Are What You Consume
This post is inspired by "The Eucharist: Our Sanctification" By Raniero Cantalamessa and Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the Luminous Mysteries
"The Eucharist is the greatest gift given to man… and probably one of the least appreciated. In this Last Supper—a supper that the disciples do not fully realize will be their last—Jesus opens his heart with such a deep yearning to give himself to his beloved ones. The disciples know that they are loved, but they have no idea how much. They do not yet realize that he is literally holding his heart in his hands and breaking it in front of them, offering it to them to eat. They are doing their best, but they cannot understand it all now. The Holy Spirit will help them to understand, little by little, through their own experience of loving others as Jesus has loved them" (Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the Luminous Mysteries). At the Last supper, Jesus immolated himself by washing the apostles' feet and on the cross, others immolated him. This was to show that no one could take His life if He didn't offer it feely as He had the power to lay His life down Himself. If the Father is pleased with His son's sacrifice, it is because this gave back to Him His children who were scattered. The Father was able to use mercy towards the world through His son's sacrifice. The Father is not just the one who receive the Son's sacrifice but He also gives His Son in sacrifice - He makes the sacrifice of giving us His Son in the Eucharist. God didn't benefit from the sacrifice but He solely did it for love of us. All our sacrifices could never heal our sin alone - it took perfect love.
"In our lives too, we grow in our ability to understand the mystery of the Eucharist only insofar as we learn to love others. There is a shell of egotism around the heart—sometimes camouflaged under the name of a virtue (detachment, prudence, giving others their space, not getting emotionally involved)—and as long as that shell is there, the heart will never be broken. But neither will it grow as it could. In the Eucharist, Jesus loves to the extreme. He does not protect his heart, but lays it on a paten as a free gift. Some souls have responded in love for him. But others have abused the gift of that heart, breaking it with their sins and sacrileges. Mary, the first heart to be broken by love, can teach us not to be afraid to learn to love like Jesus: taking the first step, risking rejection, giving people a chance, offering a sincere friendship… We can ask Mary for the courage to love others without fear" (Regnum Christi Mini Meditations on the luminous Mysteries).
"Jesus, who is perfect, broke himself for me. The offering of Christ's body must be accompanied by the offering of my own body. How do I learn from Him and break myself? To do what Jesus did, I must first break my pride, lay before God all my hardness of heart, all rebellion towards Him and others, submit and say yes FULLY to all that God asks of me. We are given the gift of Christ's body through his life, from birth to death, including all that made up His life. Silence, sweat, prayer, struggle, joy, hardship, humiliation. The shedding of blood indicates death so Jesus offers us His life and death and, we too, give our life and death back to Him. What do we offer to Him when we offer our body and blood with Jesus at Mass? We offer what Jesus offered - life and death” (Cantalamessa).
“We give him our heart, our passion, our witness, our struggle and we also die to ourselves with Him. We die to all things that anticipate our death - humiliation, failures, crippling sickness that limits us, everything that mortifies us. To offer our bodies and blood to our friends, we offer our time, energy and attention - our life is what we give. We say to others: "Take. Eat." We must really allow ourselves to be consumed, to be eaten, to be gnawed especially by those who do not act with the gentleness and kindness we expect. We are the grain of Christ - crushed and broken for love by criticisms, grinding gossip, hidden or open oppositions, different ideas, differences in character. They are of infinitely more benefit to our virtue than those who approve or flatter us. Because of the Eucharist, there is no such thing as useless people because we are all made to be living Eucharists to others. We ask ourselves: what am I doing? What use am I to others? You are in the world to illuminate and to be a living sacrifice. Anything we withhold for ourselves to keep is lost because we only possess what we give and we lose our freedom when our heart is divided” (Cantalamessa).
“After Communion, we are like a lion emitting flames from its mouth… the devil cannot bear its sight. We become what we receive. By breaking bread, we break ourselves and through dying to self, we are united. There is nothing better than fraternal charity to grind us. Bearing with one another in love despite of differences - this love refines our edges and roughness" (Cantalamessa). We are like jagged rocks refining and smoothing each other to holiness. To welcome Christ in communion with that person who rubs you the wrong way, this act of love causes us to die to self and unite our sacrifice with Jesus. “This self-giving love brought a symbol of the Eucharist through the image of the pelican - in ancient times, the pelican pierced its breast with its beak to nourish its own offspring" (Canatalamessa).
"To be Eucharist is to be totally abandoned to the Father's will - God doesn't want many things - He just wants all of us and we must respond” (Cantalamessa). In the Eucharist, Christ looks at me and I look at Him.
"We need to advance from memory to action, from liturgy to imitation" of Christ who emptied Himself - taking the form of a servant (Cantalamessa). We must lead by service - washing others' feet and choosing charity (giving time to the lonely, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, kindness to the unlovable). We are the salt of the earth. Even though we are in the world, we are not of this world so even though we are being dissolved by the world, we should not lose our taste!
Questions to reflect upon: Lord what am I consuming? Who are you calling me to be? How can I break myself for love of others?