I am teaching a class on the sacraments this fall based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This Sunday I am going to do a presentation on the Eucharist. What I usually do for a preparation is read all the pertinent scriptures, and the section of the catechism that pertains to the subject, and then try to weave together a thoroughly Catholic and biblical understanding of these tremendous mysteries. I do this in an effort to help people understand what tremendous gifts of grace they really are.
I am convinced that if we could just catch the tiniest glimpse of God’s goodness, and grace, and love, which he is constantly pouring out on us, then we would cease to hesitate to give ourselves fully to Him. We would commit our lives into His care, surrendering the deepest part of our hearts completely to His will; then we would find ourselves turning around and pouring ourselves out for others, in the manifestation and completion of his love for us.
Every time I speak, I am hoping to help people get that glimpse, hoping to convey to them the cosmic and eternal ramifications of their individual existence, their choices, and their faith. It is more glorious than we can imagine (and so few us even try to imagine it) or comprehend, that God would create us - physical/spiritual beings with a free will to be able to choose to trust in God’s love for us. And then when we fall short, would generously pour himself out completely in a sacrifice for our redemption so that we could become united with Him and get to share in the very family life of the Trinity for all of eternity! This is why I work so hard on every presentation, while at the same time knowing fully that what I want to see accomplished can only be done by the Holy Spirit Himself.
So here it is, Friday afternoon. On Sunday, I will be teaching on the mystery of the Eucharist. I have probably studied and read more this week for this than I have for any other presentation I have done, and yet I only have the barest of an outline and just the beginning of a presentation.
Why? This mystery is just too deep, and powerful, to be expressed at all, never mind in the space of an hour. If I had eight hours instead of one, I just might be able to scratch the surface. With 25 or 30 hours, perhaps I could do an introduction.
The Catechism says that the Eucharist is “the source and summit” of our faith, its font and culmination, the thought in the Trinitarian mind before anything was created, and the great gathering together of all of creation for the wedding feast when the Son takes his Bride as his own in fullness. It is the union of man with God truly accomplished in the paschal sacrifice, and the union of all of humanity in Christ; and in these unions, the anticipated end of every scripture, fulfilled mysteriously and completely in the cross and resurrection, and communicated substantially and in reality through the sacraments, most pointedly, through the Eucharist.
Lord have mercy on me. Human words are incapable of expressing what needs to be communicated clearly for these precious ones of yours in order for them to begin to see this glory. I don’t know where to start…
Don Smith is a "revert" to the Catholic Church. After being a Protestant minister for over 20 years he is happy to be "home."