“Sir, Give us this bread always.” (John 6:34)
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, was a devout Catholic whose love of the Eucharist was central to his creative imagination. Every third summer in August we read at Mass the powerful reflection on the Eucharist in Saint John’s Gospel, chapter 6. This weekend we hear some in the crowd asking Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Tolkien poetically and splendidly shares the wonder and power of the Eucharist in the following lines:
Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.
By the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste — or foretaste — of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.
How many of Tolkien’s characters experience “sagging” faith and require almost “eternal endurance”? And what nourishes Sam and Frodo on their journey into darkness? The Eucharist, which is “the only cure”:
The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise.
This summer Sunday let the Holy Eucharist renew your sagging faith and, if you can, enjoy the blessing of daily Eucharist and Communion as the bread for the journey to eternity.
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Copyright 2018 Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C.