The Eucharist, the very source of Christian life, demonstrates God’s deliberate choice to love us. In this scaled-down human model, Christ presents our God in flesh and blood, whom we can reject or accept, ignore or love. We see clearly that God the Almighty willingly relinquishes all power for love of us. Jesus became our God’s unilateral disarmament, because power, no matter how well intended, causes suffering. Love, by contrast, being totally vulnerable, readily absorbs all suffering. The sure cure for suffering can only be accomplished by this love that voluntarily sacrifices all. This powerless Lord we encounter as Bread of Life is never God’s impotence, but the fullest manifestation of pure love that is unconditional. In making this Divine Love present, Christ defeats sin, routs death, triumphs over evil, and wins God’s family back.
“In the Eucharist, Jesus gives all. The bread is not simply a sign of his desire to become our food; the cup is not just a sign of his willingness to be our drink. Bread and wine become his body and blood in the giving … God not only became flesh for us years ago in a country far away. God also becomes food and drink for us now at the moment of the Eucharistic celebration, right where we are together around the table. God does not hold back; God gives all … The word that expresses this mystery of God’s total self-giving is ‘communion’.” [Henri Nouwen]
The communion of Christ’s love for the Church is the foundation of the nuptial love:
“Precisely because the love of husband and wife is a unique participation in the mystery and of the love of God himself, the Church knows that she has received the special mission of guarding and protecting the lofty dignity of marriage and the most serious responsibility of the transmission of human life.” [Familiaris Consortio 29]
The Eucharist: Sustains marriage
The Eucharist transforms estranged lonely and dispirited couples. In becoming what they receive – Christ – the Bread of Life, they now become the beloved and the lover. This encounter transforms couples into companions of hope and from bitter rivals into grateful lovers. Because they are transformed by Christ they recognise each other as his beloved. As companions and lovers they willingly nourish and nurture each other.
Realising Christ is living in us is empowering, because when God is at the centre of our life, we worship God. But when something else is at our centre, we just worry sick.
Though entrusting or surrendering to Christ may not be our cup of tea, it is the only way. In letting Christ live in us we become Christ-like, and this is crucial in a relationship, especially marriage. The fact is that we never see others as they truly are. Being human, we always see them as we are. When we can see ourselves like Christ, the chances are that we may see others just as we are: Christ-like.
“God desires communion: a unity that is vital and alive, an intimacy that comes from both sides, a bond that is truly mutual. Nothing forced or ‘willed’, but a communion freely offered and received.” [Henri Nouwen]
Being freed to give thanks
What is evident in our entire life story, especially married life, is that gratitude is not our common attitude. Our disappointment, rejection, and disillusionment keep dragging us into anger, bitterness and despair. We easily give in to thinking, feeling and worse, believing that in life, including marriage, “I have no choice but to be angry. Life is not fair, and I need to release my frustrations to survive in this cruel world”. In this battle ground, gratitude is alienated from our hearts.
In the Eucharist Christ enables us to choose gratitude. We need to make this personal choice; nobody can make it for us. This choice opens the possibility of gradually letting go of our many hurts and resentments. The Eucharist presents us countless opportunities to be grateful than to be bitter with life.
The Eucharist is normally celebrated in public and in splendid cathedrals, but it also occurs in private and ordinary life events. Christ comes in the midst of lowliness and even in the thick of an intense showdown between husband and wife, or in the stonewall of indifference built up over years of husband-wife conflict. Devoid of splendour and ceremony, the Eucharist never fails to keep faith, hope and love alive, even in a marriage that is constantly on the brink of destruction. Whether in public or private, in triumph or in obscurity, the Eucharist is always the Gift freely offered by God that is to be freely received by us. In this sacred encounter we get our affirmation that love, being of God, is stronger than fear.
You may think, or even give in to believe, that no good can come from an irreparable broken relationship. But you may be in for a surprise, because the Eucharist offers us the inner freedom to hope. The Eucharist gives us the choice is true that forgiveness and gratitude can open up possibilities and choices. Remember that the Sacraments of Baptism, the Eucharist and Marriage have ensured that “We are spiritual beings on a human journey rather than human beings on a spiritual journey.”
The truth is:-