Sunday, May 29, 2016

O Sacred Banquet!

You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. (Ps.23)

O Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is received,
the memory of His passion is renewed
the mind is filled with grace
and a pledge of future glory is given to us!
Many times during the day we pray this beautiful prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas when we come into the Presence of our Eucharistic Lord.  The Holy Eucharist is not fast food!  It is a banquet, lovingly and laboriously prepared for us by a most solicitous Host.  It is indeed what the ancient Christians called, “A Love-feast”.  When human beings eat, they do not merely devour plants like a herd of cattle or flesh like a pack of wolves.  Or they ought not.  Men and women “do not live on bread alone”, but on loving relationships.  In the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, food has a sacramental value.  Meals are prepared not only for the sake of physical nourishment, but as a means of self-giving love to the beloved.  The Eucharist is this in an eminent way.  The Bread from Heaven was baked in the fire of the Passion and the Wine of the New Covenant flowed from the wine press of the Cross.

Not only cooks have to work to prepare a feast, but also gardeners labor  by the sweat of their brow”, particularly in Virginia!  Our cool and rainy spring has given way to welcome sunshine and warmer weather.  The gardens are flourishing, flowers and vegetables as well as opportunistic weeds!  A bumper crop of beets as well as mustard and Swiss Chard are currently a major part of the Poor Clare cuisine these days.  Summer plants are up and coming!  The fight is on to rescue them from bugs, fungi and other pests eager to share the wealth and the space.  Such is life after the Garden of Eden.  In this fallen world, all self-giving love involves suffering and every labor done through love is blessed.  Since God has loved us so in Christ, we are privileged to show this same kind of love to one another.