Friday, September 3, 2010

Because of the Density of the Instant

As summer slips away and I spend my days shopping for school supplies for our sons, taking one last visit to the beach, and enrolling in graduate school classes, I've been contemplating what difference the existence of the Eucharist makes in my life.

How long exactly, does it take to receive communion? Maybe a few seconds, yes? In that act, we unite with eternity. This is what Fr. Luigi Giussani,  founder of the Communion and Liberation movement, refers to this as the "density of the instant." How many instants are our lives comprised of? Each one is an opportunity to fix our gaze on God.

Fr. Giussani puts it this way: "the Eucharist becomes the beginning of Christ’s triumph in time and space, in history." This amazes me. And here is something else astonishing: the density of the instant begins, not ends, with the Eucharist. We enter eternity every time we lift our thoughts to heaven.When we pray, no matter what we are doing (driving, chatting, shopping, making dinner) while we are praying, we are communicating with God, who exists beyond space and time. We pray for the souls among us, and souls who have gone before us. We pray for them; they pray for us.

Until several years ago, I had no idea what the Communion of the Saints meant. The Cathecism tells us: "We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always (attentive) to our prayers" (CCC 962)

Realizing this, I remember the days, full of instants wasted with worry, impatience and regret. The challenge before me is to recognize that every moment holds the possibility for transcendence.

I like what Saint Clare of Assisi had to say about that:

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! 
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! 
And transform your entire being into the image 
of the Godhead Itself through contemplation.