Buster and “The gift freely given…”

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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://americandigest.org vanderleun

    I, for one, am listening.

  • http://ohhowilovejesus.com Jeanette

    “That’s why Wonder Bread and Grape Juice won’t do.

    As a member of a Christian denomination that uses wafers and grape juice I can tell you that I feel just as blessed after taking Communion as I think you do.

    We use grape juice because in the Baptist Creed we are told we are not to consume alcohol so we don’t consume it in church.

    Who is right and who is wrong? Is either right and the other wrong? I don’t know, but I know I love and worship my Savior who shed His precious blood so that I may have fellowship with Him, the Holy Ghost and the Father and be with Him, the Holy Ghost and the Father throughout eternity.

    It is not proper for any person to desecrate any part of any church sacraments. For those who do I can just say they must be evil and need extra prayers. To go into God’s house intending to desecrate something held holy by so many people is showing how brave Satan is getting in this day and age. But then he’s always been that way.

    Anyway, I’ve had communion with broken bread, the reasoning being that Jesus broke bread and said it was His body. Do they still make Wonder bread?

    Taking Communion, to me, and I hope to anyone else, is a very serious matter. There should be nothing between me and God to prevent the fellowship of Communion.

    I guess I’ve said enough, but you have a smart boy there, Anchoress. One who thinks deeply and is blessed with a mother who answers him honestly.

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Buster needn’t be a priest for people to listen to him.

    The call to serve comes in many tenors and timbres.

    Who knows that better than you?

  • TheAnchoress

    J – I hope you did not take offense at the “Wonder Bread” crack – it was just a toss-off and not intended to offend – if I did offend, please accept my apologies…I just think “Wonder bread” is a funny thing to begin with. And yes, they do still make Wonder Bread…but they don’t say it “builds bodies 12 ways” anymore, I don’t think!

    In any case, I was insensitive in not expressing to Buster (and others) that for non-Catholics, how they commune is very serious and meaningful to them, and I apologize for falling down on the job, there. The point I was trying to make was that I’ve never heard of unconsecrated species being used for those ugly, nefarious purposes.

  • http://www.eternityroad.info fporretto

    You have a remarkable son, and he’s had a remarkable insight. I can only wish that what he’s realized would be recognized as widely as possible.

  • Gracie

    Maybe Buster will be that musician who brings glorious music back into our liturgy.

  • TheAnchoress

    Heh, Gracie, his Elder Brother is the composer. I keep begging him, “please, PLEASE write a new Gloria – PLEASE write a singable, beautiful mass…”

    So far, he’s not biting! :-)

  • http://ohhowilovejesus.com Jeanette

    My dear friend Anchoress,
    Re:Comment #4

    No offense taken then or now and no apology necessary. God bless.

  • JMC

    Music can be a very effective ministry. Our own choirmaster, also a composer, carefully chooses the music we present at Mass, and, when he can’t find anything suitable, he writes it.

    Watch your e-mail, Anchoress. Over the next few days, if our choirmaster consents, I may give you his e-mail address. He’s written some Mass music I think you’d like. (He reads your blog, too, BTW. Heck, he may decide to contact you himself, for all I know!)

  • Jean

    Anchoress, please don’t say “It’s a shame you don’t want to be a priest.” You don’t know what God has in store for Buster. Buster doesn’t know. I smile because one of my greatest teachers was Deacon Stan Bellanger. He was a Navy “frogman” sent to Japan after the dropping of the bombs. He had 12 children and worked for the auto industry. And God called him to other work.

  • Jean

    Oops. Cut myself off there!

    I just think that God won’t waste a guy like Buster on anything less than an important call. And if he thinks that people would hate him, he’s so wrong. Strangely enough, Jesus talked about lots of things that people didn’t want to talk about – and the only ones who hated him were true enemies.

    I think that being able to look at things differently, to talk about things that ordinary people don’t consider is a great gift. It’s what Fulton Sheen had. My parents’ parish priest, Fr. Donner, recently died after suffering a heart attack during Mass. I only met him a few times, but I was so impressed by the way he wove theology and story-telling into homilies. I had a couple of “ah ha!” moments because of him.

    He was also a gifted musician and artist, although I didn’t find that out until people at his former parishes talked about the stained glass windows and mosaics he designed.

    There’s an obituary here, if you’re inclined to read about him. http://www.ctkinggladwin.com

  • Owen

    I was a member of the juice and bread {sometimes crackers were substituted} and no doubt I who served and those receiving felt blessed. We appreciated the significance of the debt paid that we couldn’t pay. We worshiped our Lord in the heightened intimacy of that moment called Communion. We did as the Lord commanded and remembered him until he comes again.

    But, with ALL due respect, feeling blessed is not what the Eucharist is about and there is where the difference is.

    Jesus clearly taught that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood and he did this without explaining as a metaphor {as he did with other word pictures}. It was so offensive those close to him misunderstood it. He did not stop those who turned away because of this hard thing but only said to those most close to him, Will you leave me too?

    The essential matter is not over what the items are, wine or juice, wafer or bit of bread, but what these become, not merely symbol that makes us feel blessed but the flesh and blood of our Lord that nourishes us and apart from which we cannot live. I didn’t say it, He did.

    If this is not so, then I have made a grave error because it was for this central reason that I left my Protestant life and ministry position to enter the Catholic Church.