Undiscovered Gift
Meditations on the Eucharist 6
Contents
  • Engulfed in Mystery
  • When I Do Not Understand God
  • You Give Me What Is Best
  • The History of My Salvation
  • Yearning for Stabilization
  • Vanishing Image
  • The Most Wanted
  • The Only Thing One Possesses
  • Hopes Being Brought to the Altar
  • So That He Became Close
  • To Be Able to Meet You
  • Immersed in Silence
  • Blinding Light
  • To Be Returning to Live
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Foreword by
Bishop Vaclav Thomas Depo
Member of the Commission for the Doctrine of Faith of the Polish Conference of Bishops

Indeed, Christianity as the religion of encounter of Tripersonal God with human, has the unutterable God’s Gift in the form of the Eucharist. As Father Prof. Cz. S. Bartnik rightly notices – “the sections of Christianity which cut down or even broke the Eucharistic tradition rejecting the sacramental Church, the priesthood, the celebration of the integral Holy Mass, become immensely impoverished spiritually or even die out under our very eyes” (The Eucharist, Lublin 2005, p. 11). The Gift of faith, that brings us onto each threshold of the Mystery of the Eucharist, teaches us humbleness and understanding that it is not only for theologians alone or the group of “the initiated”, but it continuously remains “the undiscovered Gift” for every Christian. Each of us is called to give an answer to this Gift in a free and judicious manner and show “the obedience in faith”. For each encounter with Eucharistic Jesus – as emphasizes the Author of the already sixth book on this matter - “is woven from theological virtues: faith, hope and love (…). And this different seeing of the world gives birth to the interior peace in us and opens us to successive comings of God and His grace.” (p. 95, 102).

Reading closely these meditations, which usually end with a prayer, we discover that for the life of the Church it has always been important that in the Eucharist – in the force of the Holy Spirit – on the altars of the world takes place the real transubstantiation of bread into Body and wine into Blood of Jesus Christ, the Only Redeemer of the world and man. Our Lord and Saviour uses bread and wine, “lifts them up, as it were, out of the setting of their normal existence into a new order. (…) There, where he has laid his hand, something new has come to be. This points us back again to the fact that being a Christian as such is to be transformed, that it must involve repentance and not just some embellishment added onto the rest of one’s life. It reaches down into our depths and renews us from those very depths. The more we ourselves as Christians are renewed from the root up, the better we can understand the mystery of transformation.” (cf. J. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2003, p. 86).

I think I will be an exponent of those all, who shall reach out for this another book of Eucharistic meditations, to warmly thank Father Professor Tadeusz Dajczer for his tremendous commitment to ministration of discovering of the Gift of the Eucharist and conveying the Christian faith. In the times of relativism of truths and upsetting of values based on Jesus Christ’s Person and Work, affirming the truth of His real presence with us and among us is not only inestimable, but necessary. I give my acknowledgement for FIDEI Publishing that took care for the typesetting and the layout from the first book in the series.

Vaclav Thomas Depo

Engulfed in Mystery

“The Church lives by the Eucharist – writes John Paul II - by the fullness of this Sacrament, the stupendous content and meaning of which have often been expressed in the Church's Magisterium from the most distant times down to our own days. However, we can say with certainty that although this teaching is sustained by the acuteness of theologians, by men of deep faith and prayer, and by ascetics and mystics, in complete fidelity to the Eucharistic mystery, it still reaches no more than the threshold, since it is incapable of grasping and translating into words what the Eucharist is in all its fullness, what is expressed by it and what is actuated by it. Indeed, the Eucharist is the ineffable Sacrament!” [John Paul II, the Encyclical Letter, Redemptor hominis, 20. The Latin word ineffabilis means unutterable.] It is here where Christ gives Himself to us more than to those who once saw and listened to Him.

Leading me towards Himself, Jesus in me will be showing me His uncanny truths about this Most Holy and Dearest Sacrament for me – the Eucharist. He will be revealing them to me through the Holy Church, through the words of the Holy Scripture.

The evangelical texts on the Eucharist assume faith, but they also require active co-operation. They require to live by them. So much depends on my openness to them. To things, persons, ideas I may refer in two ways: either entering the subject relationship with them, which is analytical, functional, that means “I” – “it” or the relationship of encounter, which may be defined as “I” – “you”.

For instance, I may analyze the truth of faith that Christ is really, substantially present in the Eucharist. Or I may seek in it the light to my better participation in the Holy Mass. I also can also, like St. Thomas Aquinas, not separate in me both of these attitudes. With him, who wrote his books on the altar before the tabernacle, there was no division for theology and life as it is now.

The subject relationship to the evangelical texts is with no doubt needful – the intellectual investigation, studying, analyzing of them as the Holy Scripture need to be the subject of analysis. The revelation texts serve the deepening of my religious knowledge. They may also be of help in solving some situation in life. The truths of faith contained in them are in that case “something” for me, and my attitude to them is reduced to object relationship, analytical towards the idea as a m y s t e r y. Such relationship to the truths of faith is a good one – since thanks to it theological thought develops of God’s will. This should not be enough for me, though. For my own life it is necessary that the subject relation was in the first place.

This what the Lord God reveals to me – and He always reveals Himself – cannot be treated as merely ideas, like for instance human knowledge. Human knowledge is based on subject relationship towards the ideas and as such is necessary. But entering the world of revealing itself love of God, I enter the realm of mysteries and not knowledge. The rational analysis of them will not do.

Then it turns out that towards the idea, which a mystery is, one can also have a subject relationship. This idea becomes then not only the topic of my research, but more resembles a contact with a person than with a thing. The Mystery of the Eucharist, when I penetrate it in this manner, becomes then such a God’s idea which I absorb, which engulfs me. I become passive, I am the receiving one. This mystery permeates me in such a way that I gain conviction that I should live by it , that it should become a part of my own “I”, my existence. And this means that in the relationship in some way invisible for me, God created a slit thorough which he begins to engulf me with himself, with His love. He allows me to live by what may already be called f a i t h.

I discover then that taking part in the Eucharist I touch some great, extraordinary wholeness that by the Church is named liturgy. This liturgy are signs, symbols – but not separated from one another, only exactly making up this wholeness. And this signs and symbols need to speak to me.

Already the look of church inside is such one big sign alone. A glance at the altar needs to tell me that in a moment something takes place there, something I will never be able to fully understand and what I will be discovering till the end of my life. As this is the Most Holy Mystery, the Eucharist, God who in a while will descend onto the altar to give Himself to me. He Himself, God in the Holy Communion. So much I need this receptiveness, this interior silence, this being the wondering human (homo admirans) to have faith during the greatest miracle of the world which takes place on the altar.

And the same Christ, who most fully gives Himself to me in the Eucharist, is also present and lives – although in a much different manner – in revelation texts, telling about the Most Holy Mystery. He reveals me this Mystery by means of the word. Through cognition He leads me to love. I am to try to meet Him listening raptly to His speech: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness , and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may it of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves , saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Jn 6,48-52).

These shocking words of Christ I may treat in a subject-like manner. I may do their philological analysis, study the cultural context of those times – after all, the Jewish law strictly forbade drinking blood as symbol of life. But I also may think of these words prayerfully, ponder them. I can see that Jesus raised very high standards for His listeners… But after all, He did miracles for them, He multiplied bread… This number of miracles which they witnessed and were still to see is immeasurable. Just before His Passion they would witness the resurrection of Lazarus. It was their sin not to have believed Jesus. Their pride demanded lower standards, speaking words which would feed that pride: He used to speak so beautifully. And Jesus asked: Why do you not believe me? If you do not believe my words, then believe me for the sake of the works which I do (cf. Jn 14, 8-11). He made t h o u s a n d s of miracles.

I believe however that it is similar with me and for sure it always will. That is why in my life the trials of faith have to come, like the one in Capernaum when Jesus spoke of drinking His Blood.

Reading this shocking announcement of establishing the Eucharist, I see and hear Jesus. His words are for me like Someone who talks to me. Like all words of the Holy Scripture, but these on the Eucharist somehow as if judge me. Theoretically, for me it is easier to believe than those contemporary with Christ. After all I know that consuming His Body and drinking His Blood takes place in the species of bread and wine. On the other hand, though, I still have to force my way towards the real meaning of these sacramental signs.

Jesus did not step aside before opposition of the Jews, He did not explain anything to them. He did not say anything from the theology of the Eucharist, nothing of the Eucharistic species. This would calm them down, then they would not leave. As they were still looking for themselves in contact with Jesus – just like I am. When I am well, when He feeds me during the Holy Mass with the manna of emotional impressions, I can feel happy. But does it move me any closer to Him? After all, there must come moments when I do not feel anything.

Reading this biblical text I talk to You, Jesus. That anyway, the Eucharist always is and will be the criterion of my faith. It was also for me that you withdrew in the face of the listeners’ defiance so I believe that it really is Your Blood, it really is Your Body and not only some symbol.

I need to read the evangelical texts about the Eucharist exactly to be led by them to interior conversion, to growth of my faith. I need to read them not to satisfy my curiosity, acquire knowledge or solve some problem of my life – although sometimes that also may be wanted. From this kind of encounter with Eucharistic Jesus I should benefit in hope that He grants me the grace of conversion.

JIf I enter the person relationship with Him, present in the inspired text, then I begin to go into His thought and desires. I start to get to know Him better. If St. Jerome says that: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” [St. Jerome’s Prologue to the Commentary on Isaiah, PL 24,17.], it refers also to these numerous biblical texts telling about the Eucharist. As they all speak of God’s love to me: “Now, as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Mt 26, 26-28).

With all the love I need to bend over this text, with veneration approach to these words, with respect and living faith. Permeating them I somehow already meet Christ in them to even deeper, with even more faith experience the words of the Eucharistic Prayer preceding the consecration.

What great love should flood in me when I think that Jesus did not leave, but exactly there, at the time of establishing the Eucharist remained with me under the species of bread and wine. My contact with His word is of special meaning, because it is an encounter with God who loves me with the exclusive love and craves to have an impact on me with His grace.

Every utterance of Jesus recorded in the Holy Scripture and each of His gestures referring to the Eucharist are the expression of the mystery of His redemptive presence among us. Therefore I need to contemplate with faith these words and gestures of God talking to me.

I need to learn to listen promptly to His loving Eucharistic presence which requires particular openness. I may thank Jesus for it, adore Him for this special Gift. Perhaps with the words of Revelation which permeate me, introduce into the incomprehensible mystery of Salvation and join with eternally celebrated heavenly liturgy: Worthy art Thou, Redeemer, our Lamb, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might. For Thou wast slain for Thy people, for Thou by Thy blood didst ransom men for God. Worthy art Thou to receive honor and glory and blessing [cf. Rev 5,9.12-13].