Eucharist in the Time of Corona
By: Fr. Wayne Cavalier, OP 

The toddler’s favorite question is “Why?” They want to understand underlying reasons for our actions that we seldom explain. What if we were to apply that to explore whether our actions are as faithful to Christian discipleship as we think they are? For example, if we are honest about why we attend Mass, we might uncover surprising motives such as a habit instilled by parents, or fear of going to hell. You can hear the 2-year old responding: “Why?” It’s a good question, and the reason it might be irritating is because we don’t like looking that honestly or deeply at our motives. It’s hard work! 

When we do the hard work of uncovering our actual motives and comparing them with what our faith says about the eucharist, we may gain insights that help us to make sense of the eucharist in new ways. Our practice might not change at all, but our experience of it may change dramatically. We may discover new meaning for our adult experience of faith that had previously remained childishly motivated. We move therefore from an action motivated primarily by fear or a response to authority to one informed by what it means to make daily sacrifices of love or to be part of a community of shared faith. 

As we joyfully return to celebrating the eucharist in person, we can take this opportunity to be childlike and question our real motivations. Why do I go to mass? But, why? Really, why? And then we can compare our reasons with what our faith says about the eucharist to better grasp what it means that we are here together to “give thanks” (the root meaning of “eucharist”); what the eucharistic prayer means when it says that we offer ourselves together with Christ’s offering; what Augustine meant when he said, “Be what you see; receive what you are.” 

To feed your understanding of the Eucharist: 

Growing in communion: “Be what you see. Receive what you are.” by Joan Patano Vos. 

Corpus Christi: Be what you receive  by Mary M. McGlone 

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