The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.
The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of the communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. 1324-1326 CCC
From the show’s Press Release
“For medieval Christians, the Eucharist (the Sacrament of Communion) was not only the heart of the Mass — its presence and symbolism also wielded enormous influence over cultural and civic life…(the exhibition) explores how artists of the period depicted the celebration of the Sacrament and its powerful hold on society in more than sixty-five exquisitely illuminated manuscripts drawn from the Morgan’s renowned collections.”
The exhibition, curated by Roger S. Wieck (photo), who is not a Catholic but who has a particular interest in the bleeding host of Dijon, starts out well but turns out to be a bait and switch scheme — ending with assertions of antisemitism by Christians of the late Middle Ages, who were driven to hatred by bleeding hosts that may not have been truly bloody but rather had red fungus on them, according to the curator.
Illuminating Faith seems designed to appeal to various interests and audiences. Even with its prejudices, the show presents profound artworks that offer edification for everyone. “It must be remembered that the Eucharist as the table of the Bread of the Lord is a continuous invitation.” John Paul II
When Mr. Wieck commented, during a recent press tour of the show, that Christians blamed the Jews for the bleeding hosts and then treated them badly, OC mentioned to him an anecdote of being in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 12/10/89, when members of Act-Up and Wham threw communion hosts to the ground and stomped on them. The reaction of Cardinal O’Connor to that abomination manifested the real fruits of the Eucharist. He said to everyone in the Cathedral that day: “We can’t hate these people otherwise our faith is meaningless.”
Artwork (top): Illuminated for Ste. Chapelle, Macheco Master 1536-37
Photographs: Stephen Wise
Oscar De Rojas, former Director UN Financing for Development Office, moderated. The speakers were Tariq Al-Ansari, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations and John Klink, President International Catholic Migration Commission.
The evening’s theme can be distilled down to this comment by Mr. Al-Ansari: “In order for a ‘culture of peace’ to become a reality, religions must play a constructive role.” Tariq Al-Ansari, Qatar Foreign Ministry
Mr. Al-Ansari emphasized the need for mutual respect and the rule of law — with “Arab leaders engaging with one another.”
That sounds good, but many of the world’s leaders are not themselves playing a constructive role in bringing about a culture of peace. Some have conspired to overthrow Bashar al-Assad of Syria, as they did Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt. The arbitrary removal of recognized sovereign state governments, which in varying degrees the UN has condoned, makes the alliance of civilizations more like an alliance of gangsters.
Peace within and among peoples is all but impossible with a mindset of pride and utilitarian self-centeredness. Religious people, especially practitioners of Christianity, should understand a more truthful way to live, and hopefully are working for reforms that bring about a more just society — not joining with the wolves who are destroying nations so as to reap the spoils, while calling it ‘humaitarian intervention.’
OC asked the panel about the contradiction of UN officials undermining peace and stability (and their own charter) by supporting rebels against sovereign states, and then turning to religious leaders to bring about a ‘culture of peace.’ Mr. De Rojas responded by saying: “interesting point.”
If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person. The awareness of that dignity becomes the deepest motive of our relationship with our neighbor.
We must also become particularly sensitive to all human suffering and misery, to all injustice and wrong, and seek the way to redress them effectively. Let us learn to to discover with respect the truth about the inner self that becomes the dwelling place of God present in the Eucharist. Christ comes into the hearts of our brothers and sisters and visits their consciences. How the image of each and every one changes, when we become aware of the reality, when we make it the subject of our reflections! The sense of the Eucharistic Mystery leads us to a love for our neighbor, to a love for every human being. John Paul II, The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist, 1980