Day 20 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast
‘Jesus, may Your pure and healthy blood circulate in my ailing organism, and may Your pure and healthy body transform my weak body, and may a healthy, vigorous life throb within me…’ (1089)
I have the privilege of taking communion most mornings at a church down the street from me. This is my daily bread: the Word spoken, the Word broken and offered generously to hungry ones like me.
At the center of this church is a huge cross, on which Christ hangs, His finished work dripping upon the communion table beneath Him. Amazing: He who gave everything for us now says: ‘Take Me, drink Me, eat Me; I gave Myself wholly to you.’
John Paul ll describes communion as the re-presentation of the Cross in which the central event of our salvation becomes present to us. I marvel: Jesus longs to be savored, and so impart Mercy to us at the most basic, authentic level possible.
He who was broken and punctured for us wants to sustain us with the fruit of His wounds. He wants none of His suffering to be wasted. He wants life to spring forth from His death. Communion is how death becomes life, how Holy Wounds heal us. He who fills all in all allowed Himself to be broken in order to become the Merciful Source and sustenance of our lives.
Raised in an Anglo-Catholic Church, I am not unfamiliar with communion. Yet as I age its meaning becomes increasingly precious and essential. At 53-years-old, the wounds I have sustained and the wounds I tend in others requires daily Mercy. Humanity is fractured—longing for love and connectedness and yet defended, bitter, stuck. The Church of Jesus is as unified as she is divided. We are her!
So daily I savor the host as it breaks within me, and like St. Faustina I trust that His brokenness will intermingle with mine and raise me up whole. I drink the cup, trusting that its Almighty Mercy will dissolve walls in me.
As I circle around the church after communion en route to my seat, I am usually overcome with an inexplicable joy, as if all present are one, the bride that has made herself ready. I go forth onto the fragile ground of a new day, stepping lightly and lively from the Mercy just received.
Truly communion embodies the fullness of both Christ Crucified and Resurrected! In the words of St Ambrose, ‘He rises daily for us’, setting our hearts on fire with the burning love of Jesus!
‘It is most important that the Holy Eucharist becomes life’s focal point; that every day is received from His hand and laid back therein; that the day’s happenings are deliberated with Him. In this way, God is given the best opportunity to be heard in the heart, to form the soul, and to make its faculties clear-sighted and alert for the supernatural.’ Edith Stein ‘Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.’ (Is. 55:2) ‘Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains, abides, and dwells with Me, and I remain, abide, and dwell with him/her.’ (Jn. 6:54-56)
‘Jesus, thank you for Your Holy Meal. You died to give us this gift of life. You rose to raise us up through it. May we never take communion for granted but approach it with child-like faith and adult sobriety. Let Mercy have its perfect way in us through these elements that embody You, Merciful God. Make us Merciful and generous like You, through You.’
Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.