Church of the Immaculate Conception
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN
In the book Lent and Easter, Wisdom from Thomas Merton, I was called to reflect on this subject, Finding Ourselves in Public Worship. He says,
Now it is precisely in the liturgy, the public prayer of the Christian Assembly, that the Christian discovers the secret of his own inviolable solitude, and learns to respect the solitude of his brother and sister while at the same time sharing it...
Christian persons find themselves and their brothers and sisters in the communal celebration of the mystery of Christ. But what is manifested, proclaimed, celebrated and and consummated in the liturgy is not my personality or your personality; it is the personality of Christ the Lord, who when two or three are gathered together in His Name, is present in the midst of us. This presence of Christ in the liturgical celebration leads to our discovery and declaration of our own sacred and spiritual self.
It struck me as I read this that, indeed, I gather with my Family in Christ as a community. And though we are all there with the purpose of praising the glory of God through Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, only I know and understand who I am in relation to my Savior. Though we celebrate together our redemption in the saving act of the Eucharist, I am still truly alone with my Savior in prayer and celebration. I cannot truly understand someone else and their relationship with the Almighty. And yet we are called to communion one with another because we do share the same belief in the Risen Lord. Yes, I am alone with Christ in the midst of others!
To paraphrase Scott Hahn in his book, The Lamb's Supper, at the consecration it truly is when heaven comes to earth! Jesus, our Lord and Savior is truly in our midst and again he offers himself to me as always in love.
Thanks be to God!