Receiving the Lord in the Eucharist means entering into a community of existence with Christ, entering into that state in which human existence is opened up to God and which is at the same time the necessary condition for the opening up of the inner being of men for one another. The path toward the communion of men with one another goes by way of communion with God.
Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith, 79
Reflection - Hello, everyone! I’m back. Back from what seems like a slightly-too-brief holiday to dive into another year of MH living and papal blogging.
In today’s passage we see the Pope reflecting on something Catherine Doherty (founder of Madonna House, for my newer readers) often spoke of. We cannot be one with each other unless we are first one with God. And this oneness of God, while not limited exclusively to the Eucharist, happens most fully, totally, perfectly there.
Well, why, one might ask. Why do we have to be one with God to be one with each other? Besides the obvious reality, that is, of the depths of human divisions, the rancor of conflicting passions and emotions, the clashing of diverse agendae and opinion, all of which indicates that we need a little help to be one, there is another question behind that question.
Namely, how ‘one’ are human beings called to be? Am I really called to love… well, I’m not sure it would wise to start listing the people I find it hardest to be one with! People who hold positions and act on them that I find morally repellent… people who commit crimes against humanity, and especially against innocent humanity that are abhorrent by any standard… people who exploit and defile and profit on the gift and treasure of human sexuality… am I (are you) really called to be one with such people?
The only Christian answer is yes. And the lesser situations—people we disagree with, dislike, who rub us the wrong way, who have hurt us in various ways. Christians are called, and we believe all humanity is called, to a depth of union, a union of love and compassion and ultimately a deep union of mind and heart that is total and absolute.
Catherine Doherty called it sobornost, a Russian word that for her was the only one strong enough to capture the totality of this unity. And clearly we cannot get there by sheer human will power and good intentions.
It is only by planting ourselves so deeply on the soil of God, made available to us in Jesus Christ, that we can attain the compassionate love and generosity of spirit to open our hearts to those who we may naturally shrink from. It is only as you and I together plant ourselves in this rich soil so that its life becomes our life that you and I can become one.
Everything else pales in comparison to this call to love, compassion and union. Politics, economics, war and peace, sexual morality—all will eventually fall into place if (and only if) you and I (and, OK, a few of our friends!) thrust our roots into this soil, this divine milieu, this living source of life.
And it is not some distant abstraction. It is bread and wine, body and blood, food and drink, waiting for us on the altar of God. Let us go there, be fed, be one with Him and so journey into deeper and deeper oneness with each other and towards this oneness with every human being God made, loved, and desires to save.