The Supper of the Lamb

As an unbaptized convert awaiting a declaration of nullity from the Tribunal for a civil marriage, I am explicitly not called to the table of the Lord. Though I participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist spiritually, I remain particularly unworthy to receive Him. This would be hard enough in itself but I feel my situation exacerbated by witnessing the carelessness with which so many approach (or avoid) this wondrous gift.

I wrestle with these issues on a daily basis. I have been, however, trying to look at it all as a formative exercise — in patience, in humility, and in submission to the teaching of the Church. For, in a certain sense, this trial truly is a blessing.
How many people are given sustained opportunities to know how far their love of God goes by having it tested? How can a servant be called patient or obedient who has never had to wait nor been given a command that chafes?

What better way to learn compassion for the hungry and impoverished than to hunger and to gaze upon those who squander their riches?

What understanding can one have of exile if he has never gone out into the desert, never been locked out of the temple? How much more fervently have I been taught the Salve Regina, giving myself over to the Blessed Virgin’s comfort and intercession when I pray, “…To thee do we cry, Poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send forth our sighs,Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us; And after this our exile, Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus…”? Who could devise a better lesson in preparation and in sincerely saying,

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”

Looking at it that way, well, it’s quite a remarkable gift, no?

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “The Supper of the Lamb

  1. What makes you think you’re unworthy?

    I can see what you’re saying, but I find it sort of sad that someone would believe they are unworthy and must be taught a lesson to receive a piece of bread and a sip of wine.

    Just my 2 cents. Sorry if it sounds harsh.

    I hope they judge you ‘worthy’ soon so that you can take part in the Eucharist.

    Like

    1. I don’t necessarily feel any less worthy than, say, my wife and certainly no less than (not to be prideful but…) those folks who pull a “Judas shuffle” [showing up late and darting out immediately after taking Communion]. I think I am particularly unworthy, in the sense that I am not in full communion with the Church, just because that is part of the law to which I have made myself subject.
      [One of the things I genuinely appreciate about the Catholic Church–and a substantial part of my own reason for intellectually assenting to the experience of faith–is that I very often don’t like what it demands. This isn’t a masochistic impulse but rather, as I understand and experience it, a minor confirmation that at the very least I’m not simply worshipping myself by another name. From my perspective (even long prior to my conversion), any ‘believer’ whose God always agrees with him and makes the path of belief easy is most often just an extreme narcissist.]
      It can be sad and there are Catechetical Catholics who have expressed frustrations with my predicament not too dissimilar to your own — as I’ve also done (to the Bishop installed at my parish, no less). My seeking “lessons” in this period, then, is not out of an intuition that I “must be taught” before I partake. Rather, it’s an effort directed towards turning my focus away from seeing and feeling bad and, instead, working to make this unavoidable waiting worthwhile.
      [This last bit isn’t even especially faith-driven; it’s a carryover from the Nietschean aspects of my existentialism. To become a yes-sayer (Ja-sagender) to life requires a perspective that rejoices in the immediately ‘high’ experiences and makes valuable (through being strengthened by) the low and painful.]
      Finally, were it all about just “a piece of bread and a sip of wine” then, rest assured, I wouldn’t be working so hard at patience; I’d be headed to the local Kosher bakery and then picking up a couple bottles of Barolo [what? Rome is in Italy, and Scripture doesn’t say Jesus turned water into crappy wine]. The issue is–and here I expect our respective worldviews encounter an absolutely radical irreconcilability–the salvific Body and Blood of Christ, really present in the blessed Host.
      …And yes, I really do know how that sounds from the outside and can completely empathize with “that is some batshit crazy nonsense” eyeroll that is likely being prepared by your facial muscles right now. It is, nevertheless, where I’m at [no one is more surprised than me on this point] and it is completely inexplicable. To this concept only “mystery of faith” can answer and, if you don’t have the faith, there’s no wrapping your head around the mystery.
      Thanks for offering your hope; I’m glad for any support I can get.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right that we’d disagree with the end part there. You certainly have a different outlook on things then most people I’ve talked with online or off. It’s unique. Thanks for answering the question. Much appreciated and I offer you hope that you’ll achieve whatever it is you’re trying to achieve through your religion. All the best to you, my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I know how you feel. I was raised Catholic and then fell away for a while. When I came back I knew that I wasn’t in the right state to receive the Eucharist, and it seemed odd to me to see everyone else around me taking it for granted. I’m at a point now where I can receive the Eucharist, and I assure you that don’t take it for granted.

    On a related note, I used to be friends with a guy who called himself Catholic but said, “I’m not sure if I believe in the Real Presence.” (!) Well then you’re not actually Catholic and you shouldn’t be receiving Communion. “Well, JESUS never excluded anybody … (blah blah blah)” Yes of course Jesus never excluded anybody, but that’s not relevant to this issue. It was like talking to a wall – he simply would not comprehend that one should approach reception of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ with oh, I dunno, some sort of reverence. And if you can’t honestly say “Amen” when the minister says “The Body of Christ” you shouldn’t receive at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the same argument with my Father [lately Presbyterianish, on third marriage, at least half a dozen adulteries spread across the first two] when he decided to go to Mass with me and, during breakfast, kept insisting that I was being unreasonable, unChristian, and probably making stuff up when I said, “It will be kind of nice not to be the only one in the row who’s not going for Communion.” «what do you mean?» “Well, you can’t go either.” «why the hell not?!?»

      Meanwhile, as my t-shirt today reads, “What part of hoc est corpus meum don’t you understand?”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hah! I’ve actually seen that shirt and actually regret not purchasing it when I saw it.

        And yes – it is really awkward to be the only one not just in the pew but seemingly in the entire church not going up for Communion. I will admit that some Sundays I didn’t go to Mass just because I didn’t feel up to dealing with all the awkward.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s