You Will Understand -- Later!

So should we remember, especially as we celebrate Holy Thursday and the institution of the Eucharist, and the gift of the priesthood. We are living in the later time that Jesus foreshadowed: The Holy Spirit has guided the Church in thoughtful, prayerful reflection on the mysteries of that holy night for two millennia. Catholics today benefit from that collective memory. The Church's wisdom helps us understand the unfolding of "later," which, in part, is living in communion with Christ and the Church through the graces of sacramental life in the now. And living "later" with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.

St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church writing in the 2nd century, describes how we might think "eucharistically." It helps us to focus our trust on God. He wrote: "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking." The Second Vatican Council taught that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. Everything flows from it and toward it.

Let us take courage in those "ugh" moments when we struggle or wonder what God is doing. For there's something productive we can do while we are waiting and trying to patiently trust: We can receive the Lord in the Eucharist and yield to him our questioning hearts. That's what Peter did, and things turned out pretty well for him.

For the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist answers the questions of every moment . . . both now, and later . . .

The Eucharist means God has answered: The Eucharist is God as an answer, as an answering presence. Now the initiative no longer lies with us, in the God-man relationship, but with him, and it now becomes really serious. That is why, in the sphere of eucharistic adoration, prayer attains a new level; now it is two-way, and so now it is really serious business. Indeed, it is now not just two-way, but all-inclusive: whenever we pray in the eucharistic presence, we are never alone. Then the whole of the Church, which celebrates the Eucharist, is praying with us. (From the book God Is Near Us, Pope Benedict XVI; as quoted in Benedictus, Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI, Ignatius 2006)

4/20/2011 4:00:00 AM
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  • Pat Gohn
    About Pat Gohn
    Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press.