Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All one



The Pope's conclusion at the general audience (December 10, 2008) in Paul VI Hall, during which he left aside his prepared speech and gave the intervention extemporaneously (reported by Zenit):

"Christ unites himself personally to each one of us, but at the same time he unites himself to the man and woman who are next to me," explained the Pontiff, according to L'Osservatore Romano's commentary. "And the Bread is for me and for the others. Thus, he unites all of us with himself and all of us mutually. In communion we receive Christ, but Christ unites himself in the same way with my neighbor.

"Christ and neighbor are inseparable in the Eucharist. All of us are one bread, one body. Eucharist without solidarity with the rest is an abuse of the Eucharist."

Benedict XVI said that this understanding is the root and the center of the doctrine of the Church as the body of Christ.

"Christ gives us his body in the Eucharist, he gives himself in his body and in this way makes us his body, he unites us to his risen body," he explained. "If man eats normal bread, this bread becomes part of his body, transformed into substance of human life. But in Communion, an inverse process takes place. Christ, the Lord, assimilates us, introduces us into his glorious body and in this way, all together, we become his body."

The Holy Father noted: "In Roman political science, this parable of the body with different members that form part of a unity was used by the state itself, to show how the state was an organism in which each one had his function: The multiplicity and diversity of functions form one body and each one has his place."

However, in St. Paul's letters, one can see that the Church is something very different from the "state-organism," he contended. "Because Christ really gives his body and makes us his body. We are really united with the risen body of Christ and in this way remain united with one another."

Because of this, he concluded, "the Church is not only a corporation as the state is; it is a body. It is not an organization, but an organism."

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."