Sacraments are more than signs. Sacraments are not signs because signs have one meaning. Take an eight-sided red sign. It means stop and only stop. So clear and fixed is that that stop signs are not only on streets. Their images appear on web pages and on directions packaged with equipment. Sacraments are richer than signs. They offer more.
To feast on our Messiah’s body and blood saturates us with Jesus’ Spirit and connects us with what is genuine, godly and wise. Many other things intoxicate us with the folly of the world, leading us to debauchery, to use St. Paul’s word. Debauchery is riotous living keeping us from our relationship with Jesus. Debauchery, too, results in killing—human spirits as well as human beings. Debauchery is also—this is so subtle to notice readily—a killing pace, against which all of us, adult and child, student and worker, spouses and friends and ordained ministers need to guard.3 Our greatest guardians are Jesus and deepening our relationship with him. Jesus’ body and blood is a key help to remain filled with [his] Spirit and not intoxicated by other things.
- Quiet yourself in the Trinity.
- Ask Lady Wisdom and the saints to present you to Jesus.
- Chat with Jesus about what you notice Jesus is doing in you and for you by his communion with you.
- Thank Jesus and ask him for the grace to live more intently as his friend and disciple and to live in a more friendly way with others and the entire earth. Don’t be surprised if Jesus challenges you. Do remember Jesus graces us to live his challenge.
- Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Our daily bread is Jesus and his Spirit; it also is our way of living.
- I first heard Fr. Aidan Kavanagh, O.S.B, say that in class in 1980. No doubt he used it in his lectures and published work
- John 6.48-50, immediately before today’s gospel.
- Nearly six years ago to the day, Pope Benedict quoted St. Bernard of Clarivaux during in his midday Angelus address. The saint addressed his former disciple, Pope Eugene III. "The dominant theme of [his message], extremely personal, is the importance of interior recollection—and he said this to a Pope—an essential element of piety. ¶This admonition is valid for all kinds of occupations, including those inherent to the governance of the Church. The message that, in this connection, Bernard addresses to the Pontiff, who had been his disciple at Clairvaux, is provocative: “See where these accursed occupations can lead you, if you continue to lose yourself in them—without leaving anything of yourself for yourself”
- General Instruction to the Roman Missal, 88.
- Augustine’s conviction of divine indwelling his Confessions make clear: “Why, then, do I ask thee to come into me, since I also am and could not be if thou wert not in me?” (I.2.2). His eucharistic teaching elaborates on the sacrament’s effects on us. In Sermon 57.7 Augustine taught Christians “are what they receive.” Also, Sermon 272 is often cited. Another line of his Confessions is telling: “You do not make Me into yourself, like the food of your flesh into you, you become Me!”—my paraphrase of Book 7, ch. 10.