Sunday, June 22, 2014

immortal monuments to his genius

God provides in love, as always, Holy Manna every day

If you don't find the Bread of Life discourses unpalatable, then you are clearly not paying enough attention.
It is a strange, scary teaching.
Additionally, as the priest at Mass tonight [it's sumer at Notre Dame, so I do this weird thing where I go to Mass in the evening, at 9pm. It's strange, and not at all like real life, but I kind of like it. Partially because it means that the first thing that woke me up this morning was the carillon ringing across the quad, summoning the church-goers to Mass. It felt dreadfully heathen of me and the sun to be lounging in bed, instead of leaping out to go worship the Lord. But there was never a wake-up call sweeter than that of the Church bells.] brought to our attention: Jesus was mega-insistent on this teaching. He was adamant. 
If the Bread of Life discourse was a pop song,
Amen, Amen I say to you would be the over-utilized chorus.
In the Bread of Life discourse we do not see Sassy Jesus who out-witticizes the Pharisees or lovingly tells off the Woman at the Well, nor do we see the soft and gentle Jesus who embraces the Woman anointing his feet, and says that "The Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath," this is kind of a scarily intense Jesus, who seems desperate to make His point.
Eat my flesh and drink my blood, otherwise you will have no life within you.
Shoat.
Our homilist tonight (and really, this blogpost is basically just going to recap the homily, because it really simply was that good) played his tune upon the single string of Jesus' insistence on this particular point.
He seemed incredibly eager to drill this one truth into the hearts and minds of His followers. He acknowledged that this saying is hard and who can accept it? Who can accept it?
Goodness, who can? It's quite hard to do so. On one's own, it is absolutely impossible.
And then, I am struck dumb in my shoes by the prodigal love of someone who would come to me even when I doubt Him.
It is dangerous of Him.

One day, on a dusty, sweaty, bumpy bus ride back to Motherhouse from Shanti Dan, through the bumpy, crowded streets of Kolkata, a fellow volunteer asked me a question.
How do you stay strong? she asked. How do you get the strength to thrive in the midst of poverty, dirt, noise, chaos, danger?
I think I was too tired to make my answer more sophisticated or false, as I would have in civilized society. I remember looking her directly in the face and saying: the Eucharist.
There just was no other sustenance--not even Mother's magic biscuits, which legendarily cured a man's stomach ulcers-- that could possibly carry you through the day.
Because what you are doling out each day in Kolkata is love. The work is less about handing someone bread, and more about handing them a bit of your heart.
And we have such tiny little bits of love, barely enough to keep ourselves sustained, much less others.
Our limited love forces us to rely on another source of love to fill our reservoirs.
Thus, the Eucharist.
A place where our limitations are absorbed into the unlimited, consecrated like the broken bread on the altar, and given back to us, transformed. Our walls that held us back are transformed into viaducts of grace.
The Unlimited has entered into the limited.
I wonder each day how the world can hold such a miracle.
What has happened to the libertine story-teller of the prodigal son? Where now is the chronic Sabbath-breaker? Out of love for us, he invites us to this unyielding truth of the Eucharist
--Fr. Lou Delfra

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