Satiated By Love
By Gretchen Erlichman
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” ~ John 6:35
The Eucharist is the gift of Christ Himself to the Church. Ah, and what a gift He is! The God of all creation, condescended to humanity, suffered, died, and was buried, before gloriously rising, all for the purpose of our salvation. Yet, this act of love did not cease in Christ’s great sacrifice on Calvary, but has eternal union with the re-presentation of His Passion in Sacrifice of the Mass, in which bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catechism of Catholic Church states that, “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” (CCC 124) Indeed, it is through this gift of Himself in the Eucharist that Christ satiates our hunger and thirst for Him. As human beings created in the image and likeness of God, our very essence was created in such a way that we are inclined toward Him in love. Yet, by the consequence of our concupiscence, we often blindly stray from that which will satisfy us. In doing so, we become lacking in the fullness of our humanity and become numb to our spiritual needs. In John’s Gospel, Christ tells us: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35) Yet, if we deny our desire for Him we become as those who St. Augustine describes as refusing this invitation to life: “They had the jaws of their heart languid; with open ears they were deaf, they saw and stood blind. This bread, indeed, requires the hunger of the inner man…” (St. Augustine, Tractate 26 on the Gospel of John). Let us then respond to our hunger and thirst by taking part in the Paschal Banquet, by which we eat Christ’s Flesh, which is true food, and drink Christ’s Blood, which is true drink. (cf. John 6:55)
For in this sacrament of the Eucharist, we partake in Christ’s great act of love, which is His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. The institution of the Eucharist is intricately inseparable from this act of love in that it occurs in harmony with the trajectory of our salvation. St. Thomas states: “The Eucharist is the perfect sacrament of our Lord’s Passion, as containing Christ crucified; consequently it could not be instituted before the Incarnation; but then there was room for only such sacraments as were prefigurative of the Lord’s Passion.” (ST III, Q.73, A.5) It is through this Sacrament of Love, it is through the Eucharist, that we participate in the love of the Trinity, extended to us by the reception of Christ in Holy Communion. The sacrifice of the Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice on the Cross, in which there takes place an offering of the Son, to the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In receiving the Eucharist, we receive this Love, in which “the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC 1374); we receive into our human bodies the gift of God Himself. He is truly present to us in this Sacrament and He joins us to Himself by our reception of Him. Let us pray for the grace to receive Him in faith and realize that our hunger and thirst will be satisfied; that, in receiving and adoring the Eucharist, we will be satiated by Love.
The Bread of Life
By Phillip Baker
“I am the bread of life… whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:48, 51)
At every moment of the day on altars throughout the world, Our Lord becomes Incarnate in the Eucharistic offering. As once of old He stood on earth and was Incarnate in the womb of the Virgin, so He is Incarnate in the hands of His priests now.
We rightly call the Eucharist the Bread of Life and the offering of our salvation, but it is these things because it is the Body and Blood of Christ. “For unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you,” and it is “the blood as life that makes atonement” (Jn 6:53, Lv 17:11). And surely the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of God because Jesus Himself took bread and wine and said “this is my body which will be given for you… this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you” (Lk 22:19-20). As no covenant is established without blood, so the Eucharistic cup must be the Blood of Christ – “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (cf. Heb 9:18, 1 Cor 11:26). What does it mean to “proclaim the death of the Lord” but that His one sacrifice is made present again on the altar?
Truly His Body and Blood, Jesus intended for us not just to reverence Him, present in the Eucharist, but to eat Him, too. “For my flesh is true food,” He says, and food is meant to be eaten (Jn 6:55). Our Lord does not give us mere food, mere manna, though, but His very life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood;” therefore Christ is alive in the Eucharist because it is His flesh and blood (Lv 17:11). And because we consume the Body and Blood of Christ, we consume Him, fully alive, and He thereby gives us to share in His life.
This truth – that Jesus Christ, God and man – is present in the Eucharist, is not something available to our senses. “Seeing, touching, tasting are in Thee deceived,” St. Thomas prays, for we cannot sense our Lord present in the Eucharist (“Adoro Te Devote”). While some people are given the grace to sensibly know the presence of God in the Eucharist, most are not. Therefore, when our senses are scandalized that we worship what appears to be a piece of bread, Our Lord opens our soul to see that what many wrongly say is just a symbol and mere bread and wine is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus and therefore the Real Presence of God among us. It is in this way that Jesus is “with [us] always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). The Eucharist itself is an open invitation to have faith in God, for when our senses misconstrue that what we see is bread and wine, we can, instead, devoutly fall to our knees before our Eucharistic God and proclaim from the depths of our soul “my Lord, and my God!”
COME PRAY WITH US!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!
(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)
Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact
Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video Read My Story Donate Contact