A certain desperation seems to be spreading through the world these days. Technological innovation has made our lives easier, yet seems to be bringing new problems in its wake. A disturbing trend of polarization is corroding the sense of civic unity that once made our nation so strong. Age-old problems like social inequality seem to be getting worse rather than better. And as we were struggling to maintain civility while grappling with these issues, a global pandemic arises and leads to widely divergent attitudes on what it means to safely respond to a public health threat. All of these developments seem to challenge our basic assumption that the world is gradually becoming a better place. This is a very discouraging thought.
However, as Catholics, we have a grounds for confidence that stands loftily above these worldly commotions. Not only did the Son of God give Himself up for us on Calvary, He makes Himself present to us every day on the altar. Jesus, Victor over the World, renews this victory every day, and he wants us to be there to share in this victory. But He does not want us to simply stand by as observers. No! We ourselves are key players in this great battle which has already been won. How do I know this? Because as Catholics we have the extraordinary privilege of receiving the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not merely a symbol. The Eucharist, by a great mystery, truly becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. And we don’t just stand there and observe the mystery from a distance. We consume the Mystery. And this is no ordinary food. Ordinary food gets digested and transformed into the flesh of the one who eats. When we consume the Eucharist, the exact opposite happens: the Eucharist doesn’t get digested and transformed into us, we get digested and transformed into the Eucharist!
So when we receive the Eucharist, Christ dwells in us, and we in Christ. I can’t think of a single thing that is more empowering and confidence-inducing than this. Nothing in the world can take this away from us. Not polarization, not pandemic, not inequality, nothing. The only thing that can take this away from us is our own sin. In this sense, a struggle still remains. It remains for us to overcome our weaknesses, and to grow into the sons and daughters of God that Jesus wants us to be. That is our highest destiny. If we say ‘yes’ to this destiny, nothing can get in our way. The future belongs to those who say ‘yes’ to God. And that is very encouraging.
Br. Athanasius Thompson, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE