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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Eucharistic Contemplation

The Eucharist, the sacred banquet, is a mystery that evokes a certain kind of contemplation. Peter caught this gaze of love when Jesus asked him, "And you, will you also depart from me?" If we desire to enter into Eucharistic contemplation, we must allow this question to inconvenience us until we are uncomfortable.

Contemplative prayer is Christian insofar as it avails the soul to union and transformation in Christ. It is ecclesial insofar as it participates in the Church's gaze on the Bridegroom. It is taken up into the Trinity insofar as it receives the Word of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is experiential and personal but not simply a subjective experience. Instead, it is a relation with the One who is Other. It suffers with love the space between human and divine freedoms. It is satisfied by Christ's total gift of self when it leads to giving oneself in return.

The Body and Blood of Jesus are the source and summit of such a communion. Under the signs of bread and wine, this spiritual food sustains Christian faith in the very face of everything that stands in its way. This nourishment cuts against the grain. This medicine of immortality swims upstream. This antidote for death resists convention. This Life is new.

In this nuptial banquet, one forgets oneself and is captivated by the Light that shines in the darkness. By this mystic wine and mysterious manna, the voice of the Bridegroom leads into the Father's House. By this divine inflow, one welcomes the Word into the most hidden depths of one's own being. Unless we eat of this flesh and drink of this cup, we are left with meaninglessness. "To whom else shall we go?"

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