How to live the central mystery of the Eucharist without Eucharist?

The Eucharist is the center and the link to unite all members of Christ at the same table close to the Father. For me the Host is always glorious. It is the sacrament of Joy… May I carry and radiate Christ, may I be “christophore” with all my life!

Claire Monestes

As Xaviere sisters we usually take part to the Mass every day. During all those last weeks we have lived the absence of sacrament in solidarity with all the Christians that were like us deprived of communal celebration at church. Reflecting on this stay-at-home experience, even if we were able to follow mass online, we perceive even more how much Christianity is the religion of the Incarnation. That is why the Liturgy is an act that requires the presence of the bodies. After a long lockdown we feel a lack and a desire to meet again as soon as possible in our churches to celebrate the Eucharist together.

The Eucharist according to the Second Vatican Council is the act of an assembly, an action of the People of God. Through communion with the Body of Christ, the assembly becomes itself “Body of Christ”. The Eucharist is not a solitary act of the priest-sacerdos according to the pre-Vatican II model of worship. That is why online celebrations raise real theological questions even though they may have a pastoral and spiritual sense in helping many Christians, especially the most isolated, to pray and live the communal dimension inherent in our faith. 

In and through this form of lack due to the absence of Eucharists celebrated in their usual form, we have experienced differently and strongly the presence of Christ who makes the Church. God did not abandon us. He made himself present to us in many ways, his grace is not limited to the sacraments. God’s grace is already fully given to us through our baptism and is continuously given to us day after day according to this important principle to keep in mind: “God always gives us the grace of what He calls us to live”. It is up to us to discern the spiritual means we need to get through this uncertain and challenging situation, to live and strengthen our faith day after day. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can discern and implement ways of praying, serving and celebrating where we are. Many online and other proposals are offered to us to support us in these difficult times.

We are not helpless in our Christian life, we can contemplate God in all things, discover Him in all aspects of our daily life, receive Him through the Book of the Word, through the Book of Creation, through every encounter, and especially in the service of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest. 

We can remember that if we usually participate in the Eucharist it is so that our whole life becomes Eucharist. That is to say, a union with Christ who takes us into his movement of self-offering to the Father to lead us to surrender. In this time of pandemic that calls us to solidarity, to the gift of oneself all the way to love and serve others, more than ever we can ask for and receive the grace to live this movement of thanksgiving and offering day after day. We can meditate on and deepen what is the Eucharistic dimension of our lives: the call to remain in this trinitarian movement of “receiving everything and giving everything”, in this communion that is stronger than the visible encounter. Through the baptism that inserts us into the ecclesial community, despite the distance, we can experience these strong bonds created by Christ.

Sr. Nathalie Becquart

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