Friday, April 15, 2011

Consuming and being consumed by the Eucharist

In Being Consumed William Cavanaugh argues that consumerism is more about shopping than owning. Contented ownership is antithetical to the pursuit of novelty essential to consumerism. Like religion, consumerism preaches a sort of transcendence and promotes a sort of community - but a transcendence and community without a shared telos, or end.

The Eucharist turns consumerism upside down. We do consume in the Eucharist, of course, but we are also being consumed. "St. Augustine hears God say, 'I am the food of the fully grown; grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change me into you like the food your flesh eats, but you will be changed into me.'" We are "absorbed into a larger body."

We also become food for others. Cavanaugh cites Matthew 25, where Jesus says that whenever we serve another, we serve him.
What is truly radical about this passage is not that God rewards those who help the poor; what is truly radical is that Jesus identifies himself with the poor. The pain of the hungry person is the pain of Christ, and it is thus also that the pain of anyone who is a member of the body of Christ. If we are identified with Christ, who identifies himself with the suffering of all, then what is called for is more than just charity. The very distinction between what is mine and what is yours breaks down in the body of Christ. We are not to consider ourselves as absolute owners of our stuff, who then occasionally graciously bestow charity on the less fortunate. In the body of Christ, your pain is my pain, and my stuff is available to be communicated to you in your need, as Aquinas says. In the consumption of the Eucharist, we cease to be merely "the other" to each other. In the Eucharist, Christ is gift, giver, and recipient; we are simultaneously fed and become food for others.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to start by asking you two questions. One: Can you can give an accurate definition of the phrase: "Lamb of God"? We all know that this is one of the names used for Jesus, like Messiah, Savior, Son of Man, or Christ.

    But exactly what is the importance of the name "Lamb of God"? And why is it important to me as a Catholic? The second question I would like to ask you is: Why the Catholic Church would offer The Holy Eucharist every day at every Mass throughout the world in over 3000 languages.

    What knowledge do they have that would make them feel compelled to do this for thousands of years? In answering this question, we'll see why the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.'" (CC 1324)

    For more information on Jesus New Covenant and how everything ties together -- Passover Meal -> Manna -> Prophecy of the New Covenant -- go to The 4th Cup.com and watch the video! You can also read along while the video is playing.

    ReplyDelete

About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.