We recently had a wonderful discussion about the Eucharist in our family. Here is the question we were pondering. What does it mean that we believe that we eat the body of Christ and drink his blood? More specifically, how does taking Christ’s body and blood into our own bodies change us?
These are very deep, powerful questions, and we have had some deep, powerful discussions. One of the gifts of Lent is that it provides an atmosphere where we have time to talk about deeper issues. Our "normal" conversations are usually about the events of our days and what we have on our to-do lists and where everyone needs to be over the next 24 hours. During Lent, though, we seem to make an effort to eat together, to linger after dinner, to take some extra time to check in with each other. And these efforts pay off in more satisfying conversations.
This Lent, we have talked about our hopes and dreams, our fears, our struggles. Past hurts have been revealed and discussed and healing has begun. There has been enough time for struggles with faith and church issues to be grappled with honestly and respectfully. There is an easiness in our conversations that I am really enjoying.
Into this atmosphere of openness and acceptance came a discussion about the Eucharist. I could not have planned it if I had tried. If I had set out to initiate a lesson about how partaking in the eucharistic celebration every week changes us, it would probably not have gone over very well. But when the subject came up spontaneously and naturally when we were together after Mass, it generated a wonderful and interesting and profound discussion. I am amazed at the intensity with which the people in my family believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist.