Thursday, February 15, 2018

Eucharist as Your Heartbeat - Reflection by Susan Kaye


I remember the time I first experienced the Eucharist as Your Heartbeat. Communion becomes a still space. Even with all its movement, Communion always becomes a still space.

Eyes are closed – Heads are bowed – the guy beside me kneels - From the right, comes a song - a song that “I am here;” that “I am near.” And also from the right the hint of a breeze stirred by movement carried forward by footsteps. And on the left – Like a steady drumbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
like a heartbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
that draws us so close we touch it
         Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
and taste it
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
Not just me – but we -
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

There is a pause in the beat -- I look up. The Priest is blessing a baby and young child.
And, yes, Jesus becomes Lord and Savior again for me this night and again and again in every Eucharist.
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

Someone once told me: Catholic Churches – they are all the same. I said: How can they all be the same?  When you moved here – the new parish – isn’t it different?

She said: Oh sure.  Different building.  Different people.  Different Priest.  But once you find Christ in the Eucharist, it is all the same.  It is good – but all the same.

Friday, February 9, 2018

“Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened”


“Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened”
The Suscipe (Latin for "take"), a radical prayer from St Ignatius, is not found in any of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises, but rather was included by Ignatius as additional material in regards to the “contemplation for attaining love” at the end of the Exercises. In this section, Ignatius speaks of the immeasurable love of God that is bestowed upon all of creation, and then asks what he might offer to such a loving God:
'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)

And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened” Jesus looks up to the Father. It is as if he always wants to work a mira­cle in the Trinity, never alone. The Father and the Spirit are in heaven. And he, even as a man in the world, al­ways has access to heaven.
Even more: he draws heaven nearer in order not to act alone, to be confirmed, to allow for participation in what he will do. This divine, mutual sharing with an­other is what, throughout his whole life, the Lord gives to us. For a whole context is there: the deaf-mute who lets himself passively be led there, those who are active and bring him, and lastly those watching, who will write it down. The Lord is there, who is God and man; and heaven is there. A whole, immense sharing, then, in which each performs what is his to perform, without our being able to know exactly what belongs to whom.
That is Christian, already a kind of Eucharistic mira­cle. The Lord gives his body because he is on earth; he gives his bodily touch. He does not give only his divine power to work miracles. And he does not refuse peo­ple’s help. But with his gaze toward heaven, he seeks the nearness of the Father and the Spirit and the whole of heaven. Only then, after this wordless prayer—for every glance up to heaven is a prayer for the Son—he sighs. He sighs because he is tired, because power is going out of him again. He sighs in obedience. And then he speaks the word Ephphatha. The man’s ears and mouth are to open. They are to open primarily in a supernatural sense, which secondarily draws the earthly sense after it. They are to open so that they can receive faith, but also so that they can perceive and speak the audible words of faith.
ADRIENNE VON SPEYR
 –  (†1967) was a Swiss physician, a mystical writer, and a stigmatist.


For von Speyr, the Son’s perfect embodiment of the Suscipe reveals to the world the love of the Father and the Trinitarian relationships of complete openness and reciprocal love. Using the Suscipe rather than philosophical categories, she describes the unity and distinctions of the Persons of the Trinity with analogies of love and sacramental marriage that maintain a unity that cannot be severed by time and distance.

Reflection:

Self-identity is a big deal in our society. Knowing who we are enables us to journey forward through life with confidence, a sense of direction and purpose, an accurate assessment of our capabilities as well as weaknesses. Inevitably though, confidence wains. Our struggle with confidence is due by the fact that we hold onto a myth - a myth that says we are autonomous and individual. In the gos­pel, the question Jesus addresses to his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” was not about his seeking his own self-awareness. It was a question put to the disciples that would reveal to them more deeply who he was to them in relation to one another and themselves. Jesus opens up for them that 1) their ‘self’ is structured in and through relationships with others, 2) this relationship is always unstable and wavering when the Transcendent Other is not present and 3) 'confidence' is obtained only through Him as member of the Trinity. One obtains a constituted ‘self’ substantiated with authority and confidence when one is open to receiving as a gift their liberty, memory, understanding and will from the Lord. You can see how truly radical the Suscipe prayer is from St Ignatius.

'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)