Saturday, August 8, 2009

In the Strength of that Food

Vernacular Mass at St Francis continues to be unexpectedly bearable and pleasant - a devout priest at the altar, and decent music too (Panis angelicus during Communion).

The first reading caught my attention, it being the account of Elias being fed by an angel (III Kings, xix, 4-9):

In those days: Elijah went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers. And he cast himself down, and slept in the shadow of the juniper tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him, and said to him: Arise and eat. He looked, and behold there was at his head a hearth cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.

Exhausted and dismayed by having to flee from Jezebel's wrath, when he had thought himself victorious in the battle against heresy by calling down fire upon his right sacrifice, and slaying the false prophets of Baal, Elias had fled despairing into the desert, and was like to die. Then came an angel...

Now for those lost, seeking faith and hope confusedly, cast down by thoughts of an evil life no better than one's fathers, those lost and disheartened, it is indeed vital to heed God's messengers (for a priest is as the angel of the Lord) and receive with all thankfulness the Holy Eucharist - and not heedlessly, falling back into spiritual torpor, but partaking with intelligence of its riches.

Solely by profiting by this, the Sacrament Most Comfortable, our only true strength, in the strength of this Food alone may we walk the forty days and forty nights of this present life, through the desert wilderness fraught with serpents and danger (not to mention the alluring mirage of Egypt's fleshpots to deviate our course), unto our final goal, the Mountain of God. We must treat our Eucharist as Viaticum, as our Waybread: for assuredly It alone can give us the strength to walk to heaven, along the Way Which is Christ, Who is our Truth, ani in this His Body is our Life.

Too often to-day we look not up heavenwards whence cometh our help, but keep our eyes downcast upon this miserable mutable earth! As the Apostle tells us (Heb. xii, 22-24):

But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel.

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