So the last post ended with me saying God needs to nurse us back to health. Every time I hear the phrase “nurse back to health”, I think of the following scene from The Princess Bride (look at me getting all techy!).
Leave it to Inigo Montoya to show us how to get holy.
We must, as Montoya says, go back to the beginning. We go back to the Alpha, back to our beginnings in Baptism, back to who we really are. And it doesn’t matter how smelly or drunk or Spanish we are; all that matters is that we return, and when the enemy tries to make us leave, we swing our sword as hard as we can at him and tell him to go away.
And then, God comes.
No, Andre the Giant is not God, but his presence and amusement at his desperate friend’s situation is a beautiful representation of how God comes to us in our weakness. Inigo comparing his hands to Fezzik’s, realizing his smallness, Fezzik feeding him soup to restore his strength and prepare him for his mission: this is what Christ does for us. This is how He nurses us back to health.
Only, it is not soup he feeds us, but His own body and blood.
Certainly all Paul’s “body” talk in Corinthians isn’t a mistake? I mean, the words “Body of Christ” are familiar to us for more reasons than the passage I mentioned in the last post. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we are given another, perhaps more important treatise on the Body of Christ in Scripture: the Bread of Life discourse. In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we hear Christ say, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
Flesh and blood, flesh and blood, flesh and blood: over and over, Christ talks of His body. When we receive the Eucharist, the extraordinary minister says, “The Body of Christ”, and we respond, “Amen”, which really means, “I would stake my life on it”. We affirm that we know it is literally Christ’s Body that we are receiving and consuming, that we would die rather than deny that truth.
So if being holy means being ourself, and being ourself means being a part of the Body of Christ, and in the Eucharist we literally receive and consume that Body, then holiness is to be found in the Eucharist (Did that make sense? It did to me anyway…)
When we go to Mass, we receive our identity; we receive who we were made to be. Again, that’s what holiness is: it’s becoming who we were always meant to be, and who we were meant to be is one with Christ. We are meant to show Him to the world in our own unique way.
God is infinite, and so there is no end to the facets and manifestations of His goodness that He could show us. So how does He show us all of His beauty and truth? Through His Church, Scripture, the life of His Son Jesus Christ, and also…through us. He gives each of us a part of Himself to reveal to the world. He makes each of us to be a unique part of His body. So if it is Him that we are supposed to share, and our identity is found in and with His Body, then we must receive His body and blood in the Eucharist to maintain and perfect that identity. This is the path to holiness. This is the path to saving our true selves from the desperate grasping of lies, from the Brute Squad tromping around the forests of this world looking to clear it for the Evil Prince. The Eucharist is the source of our life, and a destination unto itself. It is a taste of our Heavenly reward here in this often drab and difficult life, and not only that, but it is the means of figuring out and becoming ourselves.
So go and receive Him. Go and receive your true self. Let go of the lies, eat of the Truth, and find the Health promised us by the Divine Physician.
Ah, but there’s one other thing. After Fezzik feeds Inigo, he nearly drowns him in those buckets of water. Oddly enough, there’s a pretty direct spiritual parallel there, but I’m afraid we are going to need a Part 3 to this post to hammer all this out. Ya’ll come on back now, ya hear?