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Experiencing the Mass: Rite of Communion - Receiving Communion part 2

Saturday, February 4, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for today:

Dear Readers: Since the Church is presently engaged in a Eucharistic Revival, we thought it would be helpful to post excerpts from his booklet called Experiencing the Mass, for the next few weeks. (This is not a sales pitch. However, the booklet is available for order on this website for $5 per copy if you would like have a copy.)

In The Interior Castle St. Teresa of Avila says that “in the soul His Majesty must have a room where he dwells alone.” This is the “very interior center of the soul.” It is “where God Himself is, and… there is no need of any door for Him to enter.”[1]

Teresa explains: “I say there is no need of any door, because everything that has been said up to now [about experiencing God in prayer] seems to take place by means of the senses and faculties” [through the intellectual thought process of meditation, for example]. But this dwelling of God in us is on a level too deep for our senses or faculties to reach.

God can give us feelings or put thoughts into our heads whenever he wishes, and he needs no permission from us to do this. But there is a depth, a level of our soul that God will not enter in personal union unless we invite him. And when he is there, we cannot join him in any conscious or experiential way unless he brings us in by an extraordinary gift of mystical prayer. This is the deep center of our souls, deeper than any sense knowledge or feeling, deeper than rational knowledge or thought. This is the level of our being, the level of existence that underlies all the levels of our activity, whether rational, emotional or sensitive. This is a level that is deeper than thought or feeling. This is the level we are invited to be aware of “while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.”

Where God dwells within us is a “doorless room.” But we can sit outside the door just being aware of what is inside. Aware that He-Who-Is is inside us. Not saying anything (and we need not say anything to him). Not doing anything (and not asking us to do anything either). Just there. Giving us himself. Because we are given to him. That is the preview of heaven.

Because it is a preview of heaven, it is not precisely true that in this time of silent awareness we “enclose ourselves privately with Christ.” We do that, but with explicit awareness that we are not alone with him. We are sharing him together with all those present who are also united with him in Communion. We are at the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” It is a communal enjoyment, as heaven is.

We are aware in Communion that the “peace and unity” of the Kingdom is pervading this place. No one is acting. No one is arguing or fighting. No one is actively involved at this moment in any of the activities, pursuits or undertakings that sometimes cause division between us. No one is doing anything. We are all just being with God. Present to God. Present to one another as mutually present to God.

It is a “time out.” We are out of time and into eternity. Nothing exists for us now, during these few moments, except God and ourselves. Jesus and his body. All of us one with God and each other. We are at the “end time” when, in the words of St. Augustine, there “will be but one Christ, loving himself.”[2]

Communion is a time just to experience love. And peace. And the foretaste of total fulfillment.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid...

and the lion shall eat straw like the ox....

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD

as the waters cover the sea.[3]

This is the experience; this is the foretaste that motivates us to go out from Mass and work for the Kingdom of God. Holy Communion is a launching pad that propels us into persevering efforts to “renew the face of the earth.” The Rite of Communion impels us to stewardship.

[1] VII, ch. 1, no. 5. [2] Homily 10 on the First Epistle of John, no. 3. [3]Isaiah 11:6-9.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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