I am preparing a witness presentation for an upcoming Catholic women’s retreat. My topic is to give witness on Eucharist.
One of the questions which I’m supposed to answer in my testimony is, “What was your strongest experience of ‘being Eucharist’ to others?” I never really thought of Eucharist in this kind of context.
Any thoughts on how to approach this one? (Changing topics is not an option.)
I’ve often heard of “being Christ” to others, meaning to be generous, forgiving, helpful, considerate, compassionate, to teach, to turn the other cheek, to maintain a high moral standard and firmly ask that others do the same.
OTOH, I have always seen Eucharist as somewhat more extreme than just “being everyday Christ.” I perceive Eucharist as the ultimate connection with the divine, our connection with the ultimate sacrifice. The Catechism sums Eucharist up this way:
1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.
Maybe I’m just somewhat fixated on “Lord I am not worthy…” The Ultimate Anything is not me, and I’m certainly no summit. Usually I feel more like the publican who stood way in the back of the temple beating his breast and pleading, ‘O God be merciful to me, a sinner.’ Too often I’ve felt bitterness (and felt guilty for being bitter) when my attempts to be perpetually open and forgiving have inspired others to take advantage of me instead of inspiring them to be generous and forgiving themselves.
Some thoughts in the retreat’s Eucharist witness preparation material refer to the Real Presence of Christ, and to giving up our selfishness to be like Jesus to our neighbors.
[The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church](“http://www.vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html#The sacraments of Christian initiation”) has this to offer:
271. What is the Eucharist?
The Eucharist… is a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet, in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
274. What does the Eucharist represent in the life of the Church?
It is the source and summit of all Christian life… Communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God are both expressed and effected by the Eucharist. Through the eucharistic celebration we are united already with the liturgy of heaven and we have a foretaste of eternal life.
281. In what way does the Church participate in the eucharistic sacrifice?
In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, their suffering, their prayers, their work, are united to those of Christ… in reparation for the sins of all and to obtain spiritual and temporal benefits from God.
292. What are the fruits of Holy Communion?
Holy Communion increases our union with Christ and with his Church. It preserves and renews the life of grace received at Baptism and Confirmation and makes us grow in love for our neighbor. It strengthens us in charity, wipes away venial sins and preserves us from mortal sin in the future
I guess I’m kind of answering my own question here. But I still would appreciate whatever thoughts anyone has to offer. And if you have examples to share which I might relate to, I’d appreciate that too.