Laudato Si 236: The Eucharist

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

236. It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became (human) and gave himself as food for his creatures.

Food, meal.

The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living center of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God.

A thread of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin? That’s what I hear. Woven in are these 2003 and 2006 insights from recent popes:

Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love: “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world”.[Ecclesia de Eucharistia 8] The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. The world which came forth from God’s hands returns to him in blessed and undivided adoration: in the bread of the Eucharist, “creation is projected towards divinization, towards the holy wedding feast, towards unification with the Creator himself”.[Benedict XVI, Homily for the Mass of Corpus Domini (15 June 2006): AAS 98 (2006), 513] Thus, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.

Alas, not all see it this way. Sometimes the substances of this world are just used, and the ritual perpetuated as part of an inward vector in the Church. But I think Pope Francis has a better instinct for us to consider.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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