Mike Aquilina is visiting us at the Siena Forum of Faith and Culture here at the Church of Catherine of Siena. In fact, it is a delight to have him, his brother and nephew here among the people of the Siena Forum. Here’s a key point: “With desire I [Christ] have desired to eat this meal with you.” We eat the big Passover –the Eucharist– in order to become partakers of the Divine Nature, it is a Communio: unity of hearts and minds with the Lord. No other form of communio can substitute for the communio we have with Christ in the Eucharist.
Mike explored with us the relevant themes of the Old Testament offering of sacrifice as foreshadowed in the New. That what is seen in the Old Testament is fullfilled in Christ.
“The Eucharist is not offered for faceless of multitudes.”
You may want to know what the Eucharist means, what it means to say that Christ is present to us in the Eucharist. You may want to see what it means to say abd believe that Christ is the only priest we have right now. Recall, priests in our churches don’t bless, forgive, heal, help in their own name, but they do so in the name of Jesus Christ. In Latin there is a cool phrase: in persona Christi capitis ecclesia
(in the person of Christ the head of the Church.) Jesus restores the priesthood of Adam and it continues today. He is our priest for ever. (In fact, 9 men were ordained priests today at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Many wonder why there’s so much emphasis in the Bible on rules, on the Law. Looking at the Book of Leviticus we notice all these rules for eating and worship. But taking into consideration the Book of Leviticus a NY Rabbi has said, the book of Levitucs is rightly seen as a etiquitte for eating meals in the Presence of God. Always living off the last Eucharist looking forward to eating the next Eucharist. Law is given to from sacrifice to sacrifice.
Todah: dominant elements bread and wine. A todah is a thank-offering, translated into Greek as eucharistia, from where we get the Christian word Eucharist. It is a way of orienting your spirituality to the manner of gratitude to God.
The Messianic meal: He extends his hand over the bread and each according to rank would offer a prayer of blessing. Sound familiar?
The Bread of the Presence = seeing the face of God. It is an ancient way of saying that one has “face time.” It is way of seeing, of beholding of God in what Jesus did on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.
The Prophecy of Malachi is instructive for our attitude of Thanksgiving: for from rising and setting of the sun may the name of the Lord be praised (enshrined in the Eucharist Prayer III): he’s speaking of the Bread of the Presence and Blood of the Covenant. A blood sacrifice –that which was done in the Old Testament An outward sign of an inner change of mind and heart; memorable expereinces to keep you remembering the work of conversion.
As Mike said, “We don’t have to be Carmelites or Dominicans; we do have to become saints. We have to be living stones.”