"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eucharist as Marriage

I had an opportunity to have a short conversation with one of the guys at the seminary where I teach today on John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The lectures, delivered over the course of several years, are far too detailed to even summarize in a blog post. But I wanted to record a few thoughts on our conversation.

As marriage is seen as one of (if not the greatest) picture of redemption in the Scriptures, it only makes sense that the Eucharist wherein we participate in Christ's sacrifice, should be seen as a marriage. The liturgy leaves us with these words: "that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us." When the holy gifts are received we become one with Christ, who gives his Body to the Church-to us, the Bride.

This is the language of marriage. It is the reality of which marriage is a picture. The two are becoming one flesh. No, it is not that the Eucharist is necessarily sexual in nature. But Christ gives all of himself to us in the mass, and we in turn are required to give everything back to him. Thus, the liturgy goes on "and here we present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice." In the Eucharist, Christ and the Church our celebrating their pending nuptials, as we receive a foretaste of the marriage which will be consummated in Heaven. We become one with him that as he died and lives again, so too we may at last attain to the glorious Resurrection and spend eternity with the Bridegroom.

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