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Anima Christi Faith Formation Ink Slingers Michelle Prayer Series Spiritual Growth

Line -by-Line Prayer Reflection: Anima Christi, Part 2

This is the second of a series of posts reflecting line-by-line on the Anima Christi.

body of christ save meWhen I was assigned to write about this line of the Anima Christi I felt a sense of relief. After all, we all know that without Christ’s bloody sacrifice of His body we would not be able to have everlasting life. He traded His body and His life for our salvation. His passion is our salvation! But as I began to pray about what this particular line of the prayer meant, I knew God was telling me that I was just scratching the surface. And, that to do justice to this part of the prayer, I had to talk about the Eucharist and how it saves us daily. God is so wise… I’m glad He’s my partner when writing!

My 7 year old son is currently going through classes so that he can receive his First Holy Communion next month. He is so excited! He has been waiting years for this.  Yes, he’s only 7 but he’s wanted and craved the Eucharist for years! Perhaps it is seeing all his older siblings (he’s number 7 in the line-up) receive and he wants what they have, but perhaps it is something more. When I asked him he said, “Mama, that is Jesus! I want Jesus to be in me!” You see he knows that while the Eucharist looks like bread and wine it truly is Jesus’ body and blood. Shouldn’t we all be craving Jesus each and every day the way my 7 year old son does?

eucharist 3The Liturgy of the Eucharist is not just a remembrance of Christ’s last meal with his disciples. No, it is a literal continuation of that meal. The priest isn’t just repeating words up on the altar helping us to think about that Last Supper so many years ago.  No, the priest is there to allow Christ Himself to use his hands during the consecration so mere bread and wine will become the Body and Blood of our Savior and so we too can participate in that original first Mass that Jesus offered to His followers.  Just as Jews today believe the Passover meal they celebrate is not just a remembrance but a literal continuation of the first Passover, we too know that when we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist we also are celebrating alongside of Jesus and His disciples as they shared Christ’s last meal- the Passover Meal.

But what makes this meal so special besides the fact that we believe it has continued for 2000 years? Christ Himself tells us in John 6: 47-51 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes in me has everlasting life.  I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

The Jews, in disbelief, began to question saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said unto them,” Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever.”

eucharist21Did you know that the word that is translated here for “eat” is literally “to gnaw”? When we read the passage in this manner we see how it stands to reason that shortly thereafter many of Christ’s followers left Him. The idea that they had to eat or gnaw on His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life seems so far-fetched that they just couldn’t stay. But Jesus didn’t run after them telling them He was just meaning it figuratively (as He often taught with parables), no, He said, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” He doesn’t tell them He is speaking with a parable, He tells them the words spoken are spirit and life.  Later He asks the remaining twelve if they will leave Him too and they respond, ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus taught many hard lessons to His followers both then and now. Lessons that often times we have a hard time accepting or living. Christ asks so much of us but most importantly He calls us to have faith in Him and in what He teaches. Many, despite reading His words, will look at the Eucharist as mere bread and wine… symbols of Christ’s body and blood and not His true flesh and blood. It is a difficult teaching to accept when their human senses tell them it is impossible for the bread and wine to become the body and blood of our Savior. However, we know that with Christ nothing is impossible.

last supperChrist tells us at the Last Supper (and then again during every Mass), “Take eat, this is My body, given for you.”  He says as well, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” Christ gives us His literal body and blood through the Eucharist as instituted at the Last Supper. He told us He was the bread of life and now He shows us how we are to remember His sacrifice on the cross… through our meal of the Holy Eucharist where we, just as the disciples did, are able to partake in the Body and Blood of Christ. How can we not crave Christ in the Eucharist when we look at its true meaning?

My Lord, You are the Holy One of God. You have the words of eternal life. You are the bread of life, given to us to eat and to be saved.  Lord, to whom shall we go? Your flesh is true food and Your blood is true drink, given to save us. Thank you, dear Savior, for your gift of salvation.

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Adrienne Communion Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Sacraments Sacred Scripture

Bible 101: Beginning with a Beginner

Gospel of John Chapter 1, NAB

“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1

I’ve been attending Mass all my life, and thus whether or not I was listening, I have been exposed to the whole Bible, most all passages as least once, and many passages (especially those in the Gospels) more times than could ever be counted. Yet… until recently I couldn’t have told you squat about squat in the Bible. So, here’s my attempt to help the me of yester-year (or, maybe even last year, or the year before). And for anyone out there who is at a similar place of complete indirection, I am inviting you into the Bible with me! I’m no Bible scholar, I’ve taken no formal classes, I have no credentials to do this … come, join me!

I’m planning to do a series on this subject, but have no plan laid out, except to get you to a place that you should be able to figure out where to find something in the Bible, beginning with the Gospels and the New Testament. Did I already lose you?

Many years ago I was watching an episode of Friends where the guys are in a hotel, and Ross steals the Bible from the nightstand drawer. Chandler asks Ross (a Jew) what he’s going to do with it, because it’s a New Testament! “Huh!” I thought. Yes, it was a light bulb moment. That’s how I learned that the New Testament has Jesus in it. The Old doesn’t. Thank you, Friends! I’m still impressed that at that time I even knew it was Jesus who separated Jews from Christians (Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Jews do not and are still preparing for the Messiah).

When I was just beginning Catholic apologetics, I knew I needed (and had) Scripture on my side, and I would find my self asking the question, “I wonder where all in the Bible we can find out what Jesus actually said and did?” The answer was painted in the cupola of my parish church…. it would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… you know, the four Gospel writers. It was then I finally learned what distinguished the Gospels from other books in the Bible. Though, that left me wondering what was in the remaining 69 books…. I mean, isn’t the Bible supposed to be about God, and Jesus? Why only four books for Jesus? We’ll get to that in my series of rambling posts on beginning Scripture!

So, journey with me, your utterly unqualified tour guide, through the Sacred Scriptures! I’m hoping for an interactive learning experience. So please leave your questions (and encouragement!) in the com boxes, and for the Biblically enlightened among us, please, share your knowledge in the com boxes!

Up Next…

Next time we will be exploring Scripture in the Mass!  You’re on pins and needles, aren’t you?  I can see it in the glow of the screen on your face.  I love your enthusiasm!!

Homework

I will be assigning homework with each post to keep things interactive.  Today’s homework is to either find your Bible at home, or click the link below!  There.  You have a Bible at your fingertips.

Find readings for any day of the week and find also the Bible online here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/.