As Catholics, we take it for granted that the One, the Be All, End All, Beginning and End of every breath, the Alpha and Omega, is the bit of food we grind between our teeth. Willing, He allows us to salivate over him; to swallow Him; to be digested and become one with us.
In the turning of that last phrase, we come to the realization that Communion – consuming the Almighty as the food in our hands at Mass – is a unitive act.
It is the Commemoration of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, the Feast of Corpus Christi. Each of the readings circle around the idea of bread and wine as the locus for unity with God.
St. Paul’s reading strikes at the core of what is fundamentally a truly sensual act:
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ ”
Curious how the entire meaning of the words becomes raw and scandalous when viewed in a literal light. Behind the earthly veil of the communion bread, and the chanting of traditional words made mudane by overfamiliarity, Christ’s words – “my Body, given for you” – are none other than the call of a Lover. He is begging His beloved to take Him, consume Him, become one with Him.
Seen in this light, communion is a sacrament of utmost intimacy. The Feast of Corpus Christi is more than just a celebration of a tired old Catholic platitude. It is a recognition that the love of Christ offered in communion signifies sexual union with His communicant, His lover, who takes Him into their body and consumes Him.
The Creator pines with longing for union with His creation. He is willing to humble himself to the inconceivable point of becoming our food, in order to offer intimacy to those born from the dust wrought from His hand.
What shall we say to Him, when we approach?
Will we say yes to the call of the Lover?
Jennifer Riley is the co-blogger for The Shoeless Banshee. She’s an emotional writer, engulfing people in her tidal wave of life experiences and interpretations. She’s a bad Catholic, a good sinner, and a pernicious writer who tries to find who she is to herself and to God through her words.
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