I have been thinking about and feeling into Corpus Christi since it was on pray-as-you-go at the weekend (Thursday in the Anglican lectionary). The reading they use is from I Corinthians – The Institution of the Eucharist:
- “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
- “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”
- “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this blood, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
So what is the ‘gift’ of the Eucharist? I think it is this: not so much the actual elements but the vision of the truth: that God says, “This world is my body and blood, and this is the gift of myself to you. You are the gift of myself. Or rather, I am the gift of yourself. You are my life in the world. I am your life in the world. The world is my life.”
When Jesus says, This is my body … This is my blood,” He is not only talking about this bread and this wine at this particular meal on this Thursday evening. He is saying that the Incarnation is a demonstration of the reality that the world is God’s body. And there is nothing that is not God’s body. We cannot cope with the enormity of this so He shows it to us in fragments. What would be it be like to identify each fragment as God’s body? This grasshopper, this car, this hand, this bacterium, this mountain, this computer, this cat, this planet, this quark… ?
The podcast happened to coincide with this Psalm from the Morning Office:
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn us back to dust,
and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
4 For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
The corollary of this body being God’s body is the knowledge of the enormity of the enterprise of God and the brevity of our little, but not insignificant, lives.
So why is this important? Because this body, this little life, is God’s body given for me, this body is God. It is the vision of the Contemplation to Attain Love at the end of the Spiritual Exercises.
This vision sets the stage for every choice, every act of our little lives.