Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lucia Rescuing Jesus

Two Sundays ago, I had to rescue Jesus.

The readings were Acts 8: 5 – 8, 14 – 1, Psalms 66: 1 – 7, 16, 20, 7, 1 Peter 3: 15 – 18 and John 14: 15 – 21. The last two in particular were about reverencing Jesus and about if we love Him, we are to keep His commandments. Not specifically about needing to rescue Him, more about love of Him and what we are to do. This love of the Lord really struck me more forcefully that Sunday, especially after my retreat of the weekend before.

A strange thing happened during Holy Communion time. A woman dressed in a Little Bo Peep costume tried to enter the line while holding a toy devil's pitchfork. One man (I know him to be a very devout and old-fashioned Catholic) took it upon himself to prevent this woman from moving up the line while holding this pitchfork. She took exception to him grabbing her toy and protested in a very loud voice.

I had just received Communion myself, but as can quite often happen, I was off in a little world of my own, so it took me a while to realise that the noise wasn't going away, it was continuing. I turned around to look, and could see the middle-aged Asian Bo Peep struggling to hold onto her pitchfork while the devout man told her that he'd hold onto it for her and return it once she went to Communion. She was having none of that, and fortunately was happy to compromise, when a second man suggested that he would escort her in the line, holding the arm that clutched the pitchfork up to the priest. Surprisingly, rather than trying to skewer the priest with the toy implement from hell, she received Communion with great docility on the tongue (quite unusual here in NZ, most receive on the hands).

Princess Grace receives Holy Communion
Soon after, some young Asian girls were at the head of queue, and looked like they didn't know why they were there. The first was blessed by the Priest, when she didn't show any sign of wanting to receive the Host. The second took hold of the host and tried to walk away and was stopped by the priest, who told her she had to consume it there and then. I didn't see what happened with the third because my whole attention was fixed on the second. She looked confused, walked to one of the columns a few paces away, stood there for a few seconds, and then walked away looking like she was hiding the host in her hands.

Normally when someone does that, it's a mistake on the part of the viewer, - I thought, she can't really be holding the host in her hands. Yet, the posture remained as she walked all the way down to the back of the church. It's normally very bad manners to turn around in a church while the Mass in on to look at something - only young children (and non-Catholics) do it, and children are generally encouraged not to by their parents. So you can imagine that for me to do this, to watch someone walk to the back of the church would be very much against what I knew to be polite, at the very least.

I thought for a moment, turned around again and saw all three Asian girls right at the back of the church, standing, heads together and looking down at something, while the rest of the congregation was happily lost in the tranquil presence of Christ, having just received Him, and I thought, I have to go down there. Again, something that you just don't do, you just don't get up and wander around the church while a Mass is going on.

So I tell my husband I have to check something, genuflect, think to myself that I'm making a mistake, and then walk down the centre aisle to the back of the church to the three girls, now passing something from the one who appeared to hide the host in her hands, to one of the others who just got a blessing.

I walk around behind them, and the impression I get is that they don't know what to do with what they've got. The one on the right is holding the host, I see this clearly as I approach. They don't notice me until I am right there and have to touch one on the arm to get her attention. They turn around, and then I say, "If you don't want the host, I'll take Him."

The girl who is holding the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself, as a small white circle on the palm of her shaking hand, tips Him into mine. I have this awareness that even as non-Catholics who had no idea what they were doing as they joined the Communion line, that on some level they knew they were holding something heavenly, that's why the girl who accidentally received the host could not bring herself to eat Him.
Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 11:27)
While walking back to my seat, I decided to consume Jesus myself.  And then I found myself lost in the Divine Presence, a more intensified presence than I am normally aware of.

I am sad for those who love Christ, yet never get this close to Him.  They don't know what they are missing.

For more on Holy Communion / The Eucharist / The Real Presence, read:

Holy Communion
The Eucharist in Scripture
The Early Christians believed in the Real Presence
Eucharistic Miracles

And for a little on the chalice that Jesus most likely used in the Last Supper:
Scholars urge more research on Holy Grail
Pope Benedict and the Holy Grail, The Grail and Benedict
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass using what may be the Chalice Jesus used at the Last Supper
* * * * * *
I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life and I shall raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in Him. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me. This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate. They are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6: 53-58)

15 comment(s):

I.M Fletcher said...

Goodness! That must have been very freaky. Good on you for doing what you did.

Seán said...

"she received Communion with great docility on the tongue (quite unusual here in NZ, most receive on the hands)."

I have always received Communion in the hands but at one particular local church here in Madrid the priest always dips the Host in the wine before passing to the parishioner. So I have had to learn how to take It on the tongue. Never sure how far to stick the tongue out in case it is too much and therefore rude. Well, after receiving the Host, the mind refocusses on what is important.

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Fletch. It was freaky, but I tried not to think too much. It helped.

Sean, what you do is have the tip of your tongue resting on your bottom lip. That's about as far as it needs to go. If your head is tilted slightly back, it helps as well. Also, choose a position and stay like that, perfectly still so that you are not a moving target, giving a moment or two for the priest to withdraw his fingers before closing your mouth.

Blair said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blair said...

Sensitive, aren't we? I'm just trying to engage in a debate about the theology of communion. But of course, the Catholic response for about 1300 years now has never been to debate - it's always been "Rome is right, you are wrong, God says so, now shut up". And normally I would be tolerant of your beliefs, but in this case you have given a clear example of how Catholic theology made you value a mere wafer over properly introducing someone to an understanding of Christian faith. I find it bizarre than nobody thought to explain communion to your guests. Instead you have a freakout over the fate of a bit of processed wheat product at their expense. That's not right.

Lucia Maria said...

Blair,

I generally remove offensive comments without explanation, as I would shove an unruly guest out of the door of my house. Your comment in no way indicated you wanted a debate or even a discussion.

I find it bizarre than nobody thought to explain communion to your guests.

Do you mean during the Mass?

KiwiGirl said...

I like the bit that comes further along from your quote. John 6:63."The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

I also relate to verse 65. "He (Jesus) went on to say; This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Lucia Maria said...

KiwiGirl,

I'm unsure of what point you're making. Are you saying that John 6:63 and 65 negate what Jesus said prior?

KiwiGirl said...

Jesus taught using parable and metaphor. His was a spiritual message about our spiritual growth to understanding our eternal spiritual nature. Bodies are incidental. They just keep us anchored here.
Point 2: After this teaching at John6:53 many couldn't stomach what they thought was Jesus's teaching and left. They could only see the literal not the spiritual message. That's when Jesus made the comment about God enabling some to see (come to me) and others didn't get it.

No I'm not saying anything about negating the previous teaching. Just that all teaching is open to interpretation. I guess it depends on the blinkers one wears. (and I include myself in that)

Lucia Maria said...

KiwiGirl,

Catholics have a very different view - our nature is physical and spiritual, that is why, at the end of time we will be reunited with our bodies again. Only they will be glorified, resurrected bodies. So, while all life comes from God (who is Spirit), Jesus became a man, and is in Heaven right now as man and God.

KiwiGirl said...

What I love about this world, Lucia, is that we get to choose our own blinkers. That is unless we are so indoctrinated as children we don't get to choose. And that applies to athiests, muslims, shintos, christians, et al.

Lucia Maria said...

Dear KiwiGirl,

Wearing blinkers does not allow you to see what truly is. It's best not to wear them.

KiwiGirl said...

Dearest Lucia Maria.
I'm delighted you can see the light.

Now, off to lunch.

Lucia Maria said...

KiwiGirl,

Just to be clear, because you are sounding like a New-Ager to me, do you believe Jesus is God?

KiwiGirl said...

Lucia Maria.
Just to be clear, I don't label myself as anything,(Judge not that,..etc)And putting a label on someone with that "New-Ager" tone of voice is somewhat like judging in my opinion.
Do I believe Jesus is God?
I guess John's writing sums up Jesus's status for me.
John 14:28 You heard me say "I am going away and I am coming back to you." If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

If your beliefs and traditions say differently, I'm sure you can find heaps of quotations from the Bible to support your interpretation of reality. The eyes(blinkers)we see through will always find what we need to support our beliefs.

And when it comes to our spiritual dimensions, they are beliefs; not provable.

And lunch was lovely - thanks for asking. :-)

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