• Immersed in Christ

The Eucharist is meant to be a source of unity, not an experience of division. This is what we affirm at every Mass when the presider says to everyone present: "The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

The Eucharist proclaims that the real bond of union between Christians is the mystical experience of being enlightened, inspired, moved, and guided by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each one's heart.

The "Communion of the Spirit" - trying to be united on the level of faith instead of divided on the level of its expression - is the starting point and the goal of the process: love that seeks unity. Our shared divine life is the theological basis this love is built on, the doctrine of faith that helps us understand the deep relationship we have with all who know Christ.

This communion is not perfect. It was not perfect in the early Church, and it is not perfect now. But to be aware of who you are through your divine relationship with God - Father, Son, and Spirit - is a mystical experience. A fresh look at the Mass summons us to look for and to deepen this communion wherever and with whomever it might exist.

Take action: Engage in conversation with a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance who does not share your faith tradition. Really listen to that person's experience of faith and see if you can find common experiences. When you have some quiet time, reflect on the conversation and see if you feel some bond of unity based on the common experience of faith.

  • Immersed in Christ

"In the Name..."

When we begin the Eucharist "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" we enter explicitly into a world of relationship and interaction -- with God.

The Sign of the Cross is the oldest Christian profession of faith. It expresses the meaning, and is the fruit of the cross, on which by Baptism, we died in Christ and rose again with Him as a "new creation." If we understand this, we have some understand of the mystery of Christianity.

The Sign of the Cross expresses the identity we have through relationship with the Three Persons of God. We can use it all week to remind us of who we really are. We can "extend the Mass" by making the Sign of the Cross when we wake up and go to bed, when we sit down at a table, or get into a car, whenever we turn on a computer or pick up a cell phone.

The Mass reminds us to do everything we do "in the name" of the relationship we have with the Father, Son, and Spirit. By making the Sign of the Cross, we can express all week our awareness of the relationship we have with each other and with the God in whose name we gather.

Take action: Make a decision to make the Sign of the Cross throughout your day. Whenever you make the Sign of the Cross, recall your relationship with God and with others who also make that Sign of the Cross. Take some time to reflect upon how your relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit impacts your relationships - or should impact your relationships - with others.

  • Immersed in Christ

The Real World

A fresh look at the Mass literally takes us "out of this world." The very first words the presider speaks lift us up into a new world. We enter into a world of mystery - the world of conscious relationship with God.

Every relationship is a way of interacting with another. The Mass is gathering us together to interact with God "the Father", as infinite Being and Goodness; with God "the Son" as infinite truth; and with God "the Holy Spirit" as infinite love.

We may think of the celebration of the Eucharist, not as the beginning of the week, but as a "time out" after which we return to the "real world" of family, school, and social life, business and politics.

But nothing could be more mistaken.

Mass is the real world, a world in which everything we hear and see speaks to us about the authentic relationship between God and all of creation. The real world reflects the Existence from which all existence comes: the existence of God, who is Existence itself. And God's existence, we know from revelation, is relationship.

Take action: Think deeply for a few moments about your perception of reality. Does what you what you can see, feel, hear, taste, and touch give you the full picture of all that is real? Or is there more? Who can show you "more"? Do you want more? Why or why not? If you want more, ask the Holy Spirit to give you "more" - and look for the answers the Holy Spirit provides.