The Failure of Containment

What can I possibly tell you that you don’t know already? After all this time, our God still dines with prostitutes and sinners. After all this time, still he calls us from the trees we hide and peer from, looks with love in our eyes and says, “Tonight I change your life.” And yet, after all this time, he is still the mad, mad Creator God, who dances a dance incomprehensible to we who waltz the world, though exhilarating none the less. He is at once overwhelmingly outside of us, the supernatural and eternal Creator that I argue with atheists, and overwhelmingly personal, the God of the Eucharist, the God that sings through our songs, that alights upon us in prayer.

The Mass has always been as much the summation of this dichotomy – it is dinner with the Pharisees and the Last Supper. It is huge – we worship the God of the Universe – and so very small – he greets us by our little, unimportant baptismal names – and makes them important. I’ve mentioned it before, the Eucharist is at once small and simple, unleavened bread, and infinite majesty. But what does it mean?

It means that it doesn’t make any sense for us to be filled with the Eucharist. There is a mathematical disconnect – we finite beings receive the infinite? That doesn’t work. How could we, flesh and bone, hope to contain that which by infinite nature surpasses us? I suppose you could limit such a reception to  to our souls, saying “it is our infinite souls that receive the infinite the Eucharist, so it all works out.” But that amounts to heresy on two levels. First, it makes us but souls trapped inside bodies, when in actual fact our bodies and souls are inseparably intertwined – one cannot receive the Eucharist without the other. Secondly, it makes the Eucharist “spiritually God”. It says that the bread that fills our souls is all well and good, but the stuff that slips down our throats and into our guts, the stuff that flows through our red, red blood, that stuff is just the carrier for that God.

So what to make of it? How can we be filled by God any more than we can our homes? The answer is that we can’t. If we think that we will be perfectly filled to the brim, and no more, by the Infinite, then we are stupid and bad at math. No, God bursts out. He is not contained. He spills from our eyes, our mouths our lungs. The reason we are sent out from the Mass is so we can shine in the world, so we can overflow onto our cities, houses and streets. We cannot contain our God, and that is His purpose. We are to be around others; our family, our friends, our enemies, prostitutes and sinners, boiling over, radiating with the Holy Spirit, radiation therapy for this cancer-afflicted world. The consummation of the Eternal is here to bring us peace, to be sure, but also to make us explode. Dear Catholics, those two are not mutually exclusive, peace and explosions. Having received Him in our breast, we must share Him with a world ill with want.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01658116461483425280 Brandon Vogt

    "The consummation of the Eternal is here to bring us peace, to be sure, but also to make us explode. Dear Catholics, those two are not mutually exclusive, peace and explosions."Beautiful and terrifying! Oh how we've forgotten that Jesus brings both contentment and shock, comfort and subversion.


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