After Mass this evening Buster and I headed out for a quick hamburger and somehow the discussion came up about how the Holy Eucharist is sometimes accepted at Mass by someone only to remain unconsumed and spirited out of the church for use in various – always nefarious – ways.
“How exactly,” Buster asked me. “I’ve read that the Eucharist has been stolen for use in black masses — but what do they do with it, actually?”
I don’t like talking about this stuff, but I related a little – that some have put the Consecrated Host upon an “altar” and stabbed it, or sliced it, so as to “stab” Christ. “They believe, as we do, that the Eucharist is the actual, physical Presence, the Body and Blood of Christ,” I explained. “That’s why Wonder Bread and Grape Juice won’t do [nor will the unconsecrated wafers lying on the sacristy shelf of a Catholic church]. They want the Consecrated Host — they know what it is. Sometimes the desecration involves tearing it up and stomping on it, or doing disgusting things to it. And sometimes the Host is even abused sexually. Just as sexual abuse is about power and control and domination, someone who sexually abuses a Host, sees it as controlling and dominating Christ.”
“But, it’s a Gift,” Buster said, “So they only cheat and hurt themselves.”
I was a little confused. “What do you mean, which is the Gift, the Holy Eucharist, or sexuality?”
“Both,” he said. “They’re both gifts, but I’m talking about the Gift of the Body of Christ. Christ gave himself to us, feely, of his own free will. A Gift freely given. If someone takes the Gift and spits on it or whatever — they’re only destroying what was given to them, they are destroying what is “theirs.” They don’t in any way destroy the Giver of the Gift, or lessen the Giver, or the Gift. So they have no power over it, they can’t dominate it. All they can do is destroy themselves within themselves.”
“Yes,” I agreed. If I freely give you a car, and you decide to smash it up, you’ve lost out, not me. If I give you my life, and you are unappreciative, it doesn’t lessen what I have done, but reveals the void within you.”
“That’s why even during the Passion, those who wanted Jesus dead could not have victory over him,” Buster mused, picking up on today’s Gospel reading. “So, no matter how they mistreated Him or misjudged Him, or tortured Him…He had consented to it. And so they lost, and He won.” The Power was always His.”
“Right,” I said, wondering what I was thinking about when I was 16 years old.
“And so, these people at the black masses — they have an illusion of power, but the power is always Christ’s, because He is the Gift.”
“It doesn’t make me feel any better to think of anyone desecrating a Host,” he mused. “But if they don’t realize that the power they think they have is only an illusion, then really…’they know not what they do.'”
I ordered espresso and wished for whiskey.
“It’s the same, then with the gift of our sexuality,” Buster said, eyeing a brownie sundae on the menu. “That’s a gift, too. Abuse it, and that doesn’t mean you have power over it. Abuse it, misuse it…it actually dominates you.”
“Yes,” I said, quietly. “Why don’t you order that thing? Why don’t you eat some chocolate, or something.”
He did and his mood brightened considerably.
“It’s a shame you don’t want to be a priest,” I said, shaking my head, referring to the fact that he has a push-me-pull-you going on with that idea. “You have something to say, and you’d sing a heck of a mass.”
“They’d hate me,” he said, flicking sloppy hot fudge all around him. “I’d talk about all these things no one wants to talk about.”
I stirred my coffee and thought…kid, you’d be surprised at how grateful some people would be to hear what you have to say.