Monday, April 21, 2014

TO HELL WITH IT: AN EASTER REFLECTION ON THE REAL PRESENCE

This is probably the most profound thing I've ever read about the Real Presence:

“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. (She just wrote that book, “A Charmed Life.”) She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. . . . Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them.

Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, Well, if it is a symbol, to hell with it.

That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

- Flannery O'Connor, (1925-1964), "The Habit of Being"


And that is exactly what this whole conversation has been about. If the bread and wine truly become the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, then everything about how we view, treat, handle, reverence, and even reserve the Blessed Sacrament is either in accord with its being the "center of existence" or "to hell with it." 



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