|Reflection: "Year of the Eucharist"
The First Book of
Kings (19:9, 11, 13) recounts the story of Elijah; he was the Prophet who
fled from Queen Jezebel, who was persecuting him and wanted him dead. and
followed the itinerary of Israel by reaching Mount Horeb: here he had an
experience of God.
In the solitude of the cave, where he took shelter
for the night, the prophet searched for God according to traditional
methods, according to his own way of seeing things from the wind strong
enough to rend mountains and crush rocks, to the earthquake and fire that
suggest disturbing phenomena tied to the Presence of God.
God, however, was not to be found in these
Solitude inflaming the spirit
The Lord is unpredictable and appears in the peace
and tranquility of a light breeze: Elijah understands that the Lord is
familiarity, simplicity, a gentle presence perceived in the rumble of a
silent solitude that crushes the body while inflaming the spirit.
Likewise, in front of the Mystery of Bread,
meditation allows us to see ourselves as "lost children" who refuse to
accept the unacceptable.
The tears of the saints, like those of every person
pure of heart, demonstrate lost unity and the experience of defeat in
order to once again find God in the solitude and silent intimacy of
Adoration is penance and supplication. The glory of
the mystery becomes the memory of the death of Jesus and expectation of
the impossible: of love stronger than death in the mysterious
"nothingness" of bread and wine, the Paschal Sacrament announcing the
Lord's death proclaiming his Resurrection, awaiting his return.
In this memorable intimacy, like a "divine breeze"
invading the entirety of the person, the heart of stone is again made one
of flesh in the waters of Baptism; once again it is made pliable to the
"Memory of death" is transformed into "memory of
God", of the Crucified and Risen God who promised to remain with us until
the end of the world.
The Mystery of Bread is also this promise; when
meditating upon this promise fulfilled, daily anxieties are calmed and
complete silence envelops the spirit, here where the Face of all faces is
imprinted. God "is seen".
Closer to God: we are alone
"The closer we are to God the more we are alone", as
L. Bloy said. In this infinite solitude, like the breeze experienced by
the prophet Elijah. the words of the prophet Hosea resound: "I will
betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord" (Hos
Here, faithfulness is not used in the sense of
"believing" in a revealed truth; rather, it implies a nuptial
faithfulness, faithful surrender in the "hidden" God.
Solitude, silence, prayer and all types of religious
ascetics prepare and mold the soul for this mysterious encounter.
The journey, however, is long and rough so to as
arrive at a limpid vision which derives from a poor, humble, empty heart
where the mysterious presence of God is able to water and "fertilize"
activity and daily life.
Humility of heart is especially needed in front of
the Eucharist. This frees Religious from the illusions they have created
between themselves and reality, strips them of vanity by a "healthy
despair", where they finally experience the useless battle to make a god
They then come to realize that they live fully in
God, although God does not make himself visible; nonetheless, everything
has changed since God has become "all in all".
Purity and humility are key
Humility is an assent to God's secret action in the
fragility of normalcy and the dissatisfaction of daily life: it is
accepting our limits that God alone can fill. It is our surrender and
peace in the whirlwind of relentless questions and in the storms of
In this newfound purity of heart we are able to
continue to acknowledge ourselves as weak sinners but loved, redeemed and
changed by God, under whose tent we have the privilege to live and work.
"To seek God", Thomas Merton wrote, "means to live in
Christ, to find the Father in his Incarnate Son, participating through
faith and the denial of self in Christ's obedience, poverty and charity".
Christ, Sacrament of God for the salvation of the
world, can be perceived in the Mystery of Bread only by the "pure of
heart"; that is, by the simple and humble, for the humblest of all is the
sign of bread wherein Jesus wished to remain with us until the end of the
In Patristics this interior disposition is often
defined as puritas cordis; some people clearly affirm that the
finality of Religious life is to rise up to this vortex of purity and
humility of heart.
To reach this luminous mountain it is necessary to
take up the Way of the Cross, of the Crucifixion, the silent adoration of
the mystery of the will of the Father to the glory of the Resurrection.
In this sense, the Mystery of Bread contains in
itself the proclamation and memory of the death of the Lord, proclaims the
Resurrection, and each day, in vigilant worship of the mystery, awaits the
glorious Second Coming.