A Eucharistic Form of Christian Life and Membership in the Church
We move ahead in our study on Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation on the Holy Eucharist this week by examining the Eucharistic Form of our Christian Life and our Membership in the Church. Sundays, if you recall, remind us of the important relationship between Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and our subsequent membership in the mystical Body of Christ. Here, we rediscover the communal dimension of His life as being the one redeemed. Taking and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ on the Lord’s Day deepens and intensifies our belonging to the One who died for us.
Pope Benedict remarks that, “The Eucharistic mystery helps us to understand the profound meaning of the Communion of Saints. Communion always and inseparably has both a vertical and horizontal sense; it is communion with God and communion with our brothers and sisters.” Both of these mysteries are found in the Eucharist. Therefore, not to commune with Christ in the Holy Eucharist means the destruction of not only our relationship with Him, but also with one another. We are called to be members of both Christ and one another. We are united through Baptism, and nourished by the Eucharist; something which demands a visible presence in our life and our community.
An enemy to this lifestyle is always the secular culture which stressed individuality. It is a danger to the faith because it works contrary to God’s plan for human beings. Yes, we are all individual members in the Body of Christ, and we all play an important role in salvation history by our gifts and talents, but we all work together with the same end, or goal, in mind, being led by the same Spirit. It is not an “everyone for themselves” mentality. I’ve always referred to the Church, when operating properly and doing what it ought, as a well-oiled machine; everything – life, purpose, meaning, lasting happiness, fulfillment – all receive their due. We must always beg God for the grace we need to be able to see how we fit it. We need the faith to follow through with our call and the charity to motivate us and keep us going. All of these can be uncovered in the Holy Eucharist!