Christ in the Eucharist

Last Supper by Federico Barocci

Father Benson says of Christ in the Eucharist: “There is one last step of humiliation, even deeper, down which He comes to us—that step by which our Victim and our Friend descends to be our Food. For, so great is His Love to us that it is not enough for Him to remain as an object of adoration, not enough for Him to lie there as our sin-bearer—not enough, above all, for Him to dwell within our souls in an interior friendship in a mode apprehensible only to illuminated eyes. But, in Communion, He hurries down that very stairway of sense up which we so often seek to climb in vain. While we are ‘yet a great way off’ (Luke 15:20) He runs to meet us; and there, flinging aside those poor signs of royalty with which we strive to honour Him, leaving there the embroidery and the flowers and the lights, He not merely unites Himself to us, Soul to soul, in the intimacy of prayer, but Body to body in the sensible form of His Sacramental Life.”

“He at Whose table we desire to stand as servants comes forth Himself to serve us. He Who lives secretly within the heart, yet Who was Incarnate before men’s eyes, once more repeats that crowning act of love and presents Himself under visible appearances to those eyes that desire to see Him. If Humility is the essential of friendship, here, surely, is the Supreme Friend. And those who do not ‘know Him in the breaking of bread’ (Luke 24:35), however great may be their interior knowledge of Him, cannot know one tithe of His perfections.”

“Learn, then, something of His own Humility before the Sacrament which is Himself. As He strips from Himself that glory which is His, we must strip from ourselves the pride to which we have no right—every rag and shred of that complacency and self-centredness that are the greatest of all obstacles to the designs of His Love.”

Quotations from Robert Hugh Benson, The Friendship of Christ (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912).

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