“Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” Diary of Saint Faustina, 1146
I have been asked to speak on the Eucharist for our Padre Pio Nashville prayer group. Speaking on a topic like this is often hard because it is so overwhelming and immense, and let’s face it, there are theologians who are way better speakers than I am on this topic. I went to adoration to talk to God about what I should say that hasn’t already been said better by someone else.
It was in adoration that I felt the tug to speak about Justice. Justice is the virtue where you give God His due. You give to God what belongs to God. Religion is a sub-virtue of Justice. The fact that we owe God everything, that means everything belongs to God, and should come out in our worship.
Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, to make atonement for our sin. He could have done this by just becoming incarnate. But he didn’t. Instead, God came in the form of the Son, to offer Himself back for our sin, to pay the debt. But He didn’t just do it for us to be spectators. He was trying to show us how to do “what is right and just.” For you see, when our first parents fell and ushered sin into the world, death was what was just. Jesus Christ came so we would have life and life abundantly, yet here were are some 2000 years later and our world is more messy than ever.
And it got me to thinking, everything in the economy of Salvation is about bringing back unity. The unity that Adam and Eve had in the garden before the fall. Jesus even prayed for this;
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. John 17:20-24
This kind of unity isn’t some sort of worldly “let’s all get along and agree to disagree” kind of unity, this kind of unity is not of this world. It is the kind of unity that brings harmony with creation because it is a complete recognition of what is due to God. It is complete humble adoration of God, purified of sin. It is the kind of unity that Saints achieve.
The Eucharist is meant to bring this kind of unity. This kind of unity does not know the knowledge of evil, but of good, childlike in reception and filled with Thanksgiving. It looks upon each man and woman without envy and malice and wants only for their good. How many of us can say that we truly want this for others?
In my mental prayer the other day I saw a Priest make the offering. The Priest was ad orientum. The crucified Christ came into that tiny little host. Jesus the Son, offering Himself to the Father. When the Priest turned to the congregation to say “behold the Lamb of God” in my prayer that tiny host turned into the Divine Child.
I have stated before that we can treat the Eucharist as we treated Christ on the Cross, abusively, or we can treat the Eucharist as Mary and Joseph treated the Divine Child. Both Mary and Joseph were pure and received willingly all that God had to offer them. Their yes made them co-redeemers for with their yes the redeemer entered the world. Their suffering was united to His.
When we receive unworthily, we treat Christ like they did on the Cross. We have a choice in this life. We can receive in a state of grace and be more and more conformed to Christ, accepting our suffering with Thanksgiving and love and mercy, or we can receive in a state of sin, which drinks judgement on ourselves.
For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 1 Corinthians 11:29
This judgement can actually purify us if we eventually recognize it and repent, but it is a much harder path to heaven and is likely to make you end up in purgatory or hell. Hell would be your rejection of God’s mercy because you chose to sit in the pride of your sin. Purgatory, though a great mercy itself, is not a fun place to be, separated from that total love of God. All of the Saints who were offered a choice to suffer here or in purgatory chose to suffer here, so great is the pain of separation in purgatory.
Either way God will be just. He will give you what you asked for. But the soul that asks to be conformed to His will, that offers up their suffering, and lives a life in thanksgiving, that soul brings unity. Unity to their own interior, and unity that can spread outward towards others and into creation.
Have you ever wondered why Saints could perform miracles? They had purged of sin and let go of idols, so much so that they were given full domain. Full domain is what God gave us, and it makes you harmonious with creation. You cannot earn this, it is a free gift, but our sin does block this gift because every time we sin we give that domain to Satan, and you can see what he is doing with it by a cursory glance at the headlines.
We as a society are so steeped in sin we don’t understand this. We are blind to the way to heal our world. It starts with the healing of our souls. Admitting in full transparency all of our sin and idols and handing them, in suffering, to Christ on the Cross, so that when we receive, we receive the Divine Child as Mary and Joseph did with trust and love. We should not want to receive our own sin and keep it on our souls. Jesus came to take away our sin, so we must give it to Him in order to be purified and saved.
The Eucharist is the way to this purification. Eucharist doesn’t just mean thanksgiving, it makes our hearts thankful. It teaches us to love others like God does. It makes us give God His due, so that we in turn can truly have God in us. We should all want God’s justice because justice restores love.
My talk for Padre Pio Nashville Prayer Group can be found here.