Eucharist requires tremendous faith PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 January 2016 11:43

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Now that we are holding in Cebu the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), it is imperative that we once again give this most important and sublime sacrament a long, hard look if only to savor more deeply its many implications, spiritual and moral, theological and practical, and so we can be more in conformity with them and most generous in living them out.

What we can say as the most crucial part in our understanding of this sacrament is that it requires tremendous faith, since everything about it depends on whether we believe that the bread and wine used in making it are truly the body and blood of Christ, or Christ himself in all his Christologicaland soteriological nature.

Obviously, since faith is involved here, what needs to be done is, first of all and always, to use the spiritual and supernatural means of prayer and sacrifice, with their accompanying complement of studying the doctrine, having recourse to the sacrament itself, waging continuing ascetical struggle, etc. It requires nothing less than a living piety. Absent these, we would be starting off on the wrong foot.

These we ought to do before we dare to embark on any effort to explain it theologically, and much more so before we try to decipher their implications personally, socially, culturally, historically, etc.

To be sure, faith is not merely an intellectual affair, though it certainly presumes the full use of our intelligence. It should involve our whole being, though our intelligence and will, our spiritual powers, occupy pride of place.

Faith demands that we give ourselves completely, and not just our intellectual assent, to what is told to us by Christ. It goes beyond rationality and comprehensibility, because our belief in it is not based on whether we understand it, but rather on the fact that it is told to us by someone who deserves to be believed because he does not deceive us nor be deceived by us.

The Catechism describes faith with these words: “What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason. We believe ‘because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.’” (156)

We believe that what Christ said in the Last Supper, “This is my body,” and “This is the cup of my blood,” have to be understood in the literal, if sacramental sense. This, because Christ, as the Son of God, said so. And so, even if we continue to see, taste and feel the bread and wine, we are actually seeing, tasting and feeling the very body and blood of Christ.

That may sound hard to accept especially if we still let our senses and intelligence, without yet being animated by faith, to lead us. But if we go beyond them to accept the words of Christ, then we should have no problem. We live out what Christ himself said and earn the reward he promised:

“There is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Lk 18,29-30)

In other words, there is some kind of holy exchange involved if we want to live our faith and follow Christ and gain eternal life, which is what piety is all about. We need to give up not only certain things, but in fact our whole selves, if we want to enter the world of faith. Without that, we would just be left in our own world.

Faith is like God asking everything from us, our very own selves, because he is also giving himself to us. With faith, we start to live a shared life with God.

If we have faith in the Holy Eucharist, then we are fully convinced that we have Christ with us, he who is the Son of God who became man to save us, and continues to be God and man for all eternity.

Here, we can see how important it is to understand what faith is all about, and to live it as fully as possible. We also have to understand that faith is first of all a gift from God, before it is something that we have to keep and develop.

Let’s hope and pray that we do not waste what we have been given by God. Let’s do all to make our faith vibrant and to be in touch with indescribable reality of Christ truly present among us in the Blessed Sacrament.