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Christian thinkers have long linked the Eucharist with the Cross – Holy Thursday, when we celebrate the Last Supper, with Good Friday when the theme of loss reaches its climax in the death of Jesus. When we link them both to the experience of meditation we can see why they both bring healing to the human condition. Why Holy Week is said to be the ‘climax of the history of salvation’.
Eucharist means thanksgiving and shows us how thankfulness is our true nature, arising from the joy of being rather than the satisfaction of having. Our habit of always complaining interiorly and focusing on what we lack is suspended. Happiness, we discover, comes from being thankful rather than thankfulness depending on happiness. Similarly, we may sit down to meditate trapped in anger, discontent and complaint. We start digging through these layers which may be many years thick. But we make up our mind to say your mantra, nothing else, through waves of negativity or flights of fantasy. We let go of the old stuff, let it die the spring of joy flows again.
This voluntary loss leads to poverty of spirit and to the self-acceptance and humility that we need to love God with the same love with which he loves us. Meditation soon shows us that we don’t fall in love with God. That is fantasy. We fall into God’s love. Meditation and the Eucharist are complementary healing and how can a person feeling healing not feel thankful?
The Eucharist has always mean seen as medicine for the whole person. In celebrating it, we feel the care and attention of the divine physician moving within a community united in koinonia. Trust in a healer makes healing happen through the medium of relationship. Yet, without the loss that Jesus accepted on the Cross he would not be present in the Eucharist or in the silence of our heart at meditation. He would not be available for the unlimited relationship which is made possible by the continuous releasing of his spirit.
Today Christians everywhere venerate the Cross. Here at Bonnevaux we will kneel and touch it as a humble sign of reverence at its power, which is far beyond anything we can explain. This is deeper than seeing the Cross only as a tragic, noble example of the integrity of which human beings are rarely capable. With more insight than that, the act of veneration, a light kiss or finger on the wood of the cross acknowledges it as an event in history that touches and heals human nature backwards and forwards in time.
That is saying, trying to say, a lot more than words can handle. The long silence that follows tomorrow is necessary. What rises out of that silence is the torrent of health, fullness of life, to which healing restores us, changing the way we live, see everything and love.
Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2022
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