Weary at the foot of “the” Mountain…
Devotional Thought of the Day:
28 So then, you should each examine yourself first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For if you do not recognize the meaning of the Lord’s body when you eat the bread and drink from the cup, you bring judgment on yourself as you eat and drink. 30 That is why many of you are sick and weak, and several have died. 31 If we would examine ourselves first, we would not come under God’s judgment. 32 But we are judged and punished by the Lord, so that we shall not be condemned together with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:28-32 (TEV)
Seventh, when a man has this hunger and so is prepared for the sacrament, he must carefully avoid receiving it while trusting in his own worthiness. Nor must he merely pray, as some do, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but say only a word, and my soul will be healed” [Matt. 8:8]. I am not rejecting that prayer, but one should be aware of something else. I am referring to the words Christ spoke when he instituted the mass: “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Take, drink, all of you; for it is the cup of the new and eternal testament in my blood, poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins” [Matt. 26:26–28].
Although the priest utters these words softly during mass (would to God that he would shout them loudly so that all could hear them clearly, and, moreover, in the German language), every Christian should have these words close to himself and put his mind on them above all others. For just as they are meant for us all, so they are spoken by the priest in the stead of Christ to all who stand around him. We should take all of these words to heart, placing our trust in them and not doubting that with these the Lord invites us to be his guests at this abundant meal.
928 You are right. “The peak,” you write me, “dominates the country for miles around, and yet there is not a single plain to be seen: just one mountain after another. At times the landscape seems to level out, but then the mist rises and reveals another range that had been hidden.” So it is, so it must be, with the horizon of your apostolate: the world has to be crossed. But there are no roads made for you. You yourselves will make the way through the mountains, beating it out by your own footsteps.
It seems like the last month (or is it the last decade) has brought one more challenge after another. And just s one challenge is climbed and another challenge looms. Not all are mine, yet some I walk over with others, for the church never journeys alone. We weep and laugh together, we strive together, even as we sometimes strive against each other.
The reality St. Josemaria paints is painful, to know this journey isn’t easy, to know the pains we will feel, the times where we are spiritually out of breath and feel like we cannot walk one more step.
Then we look up, and we realize that on this mountain is something worth the effort, something that is worth it, something that will sustain us, give strength to our weariness, and heal our brokenness.
The Lord’s Supper is neither about our worthiness, or a brief confession (often without thought) of our unworthiness. It is about the promise, the incredible blessing of what Christ promised as He broke the bread, as He blessed the cup. He invites us to share in His being broken, that we can also be made whole.
I have seen it over and over again, the sinner, barely able to address their brokenness, finding peace there, at the communion rail.
This mountain is different, it not another challenge, it is the destination. It is the feast with God, long foreshadowed in the Old Testament, and which foreshadows the final feast…
May we never lose our hunger and thirst for it…
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 173.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on April 20, 2020, in Ancient Future, Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Martin Luther, The Way and tagged Holy Communion, the Eucharist, The Lord's Supper. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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