Doing Isn’t Enough

For me, it’s very real. I don’t care what others think anymore, because for me, the presence is my daily call. It is what moves my entire being into service. But experiencing a thing is so much different than doing a thing – and trust me, it is such with the Eucharist. Each time I celebrate there is a moment – no matter how brief – where…

Sorry. My mind must have wandered off. I have experienced the two forms of “doing” mass and “celebrating” mass at various times in my ordained life. In “doing”, I get up to the altar and ensure proper form and function. I am in control and assured that I have said everything correctly, held my hands in just the right way, swatted every fly (a personal term for all the self-crossing we do during mass), and been absolutely not present to the miracle that has just transpired. The other form… yeah, that’s a bit more difficult to convey through words.

Imagine for a moment… you are standing at a table that is just a little over waist-high. It is a magnificent table with a book, cup, plate with bread on it, candles, linens, and in today’s day and age, maybe some electronics (microphone or tablet). Perhaps there is even some decorations that celebrate an event or time of year. It is neatly organized and is beginning to appears as if it is larger and larger until it is all you see. As you look up and gaze out beyond the table, you see the faces of those who are about to share in a rare moment – a moment that makes your knees tremble as the Divine makes its presence known and then they are blurred together. Gone are the people – they are replaced by the commingling of the Divine with the mundane. You attempt to gather yourself and in a single breath you are lost in another world. You hear words, but they are not your own. You are, for a moment, a puppet.

Then, in a flash – ecstasy. You are no longer standing at a table. You are caught in that fraction of a moment when two worlds unite; you are blinded by a promise fulfilled by the Creator to be ever present healing grace for the world, which has melted away. There exists only you, the Creator in full glory – Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier – and the People of God for whom this loving miracle is achieved.

In that brief moment, it matters not whether form and function have been achieved because the presence of our Creator has determined the validity of the sacrament. If a word or two are moved or changed, it was because of the direction of the Holy Spirit. If the hands were not held in just the right way it was because love, for that moment, was more important than rubrics. All of this is of course dependent on the understanding that the Creator makes itself known to us through the celebration of the Eucharist, but in reality the Creator is just as present in a piece of toast as it is in the Eucharist. The difference? We allow ourselves to be moved during a celebration that has for centuries defined the Catholic faith – the imparting of our Christ into the host – transubstantiation, or the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at the consecration during Mass. But in truth we know our Christ – the God – is omnipresent and is therefore with us at all times. The difference – us!

We frail beings have come to believe that the Divine will only present itself in that rare moment when two worlds collide – the spiritual and the physical. However, our celebration of the Eucharist is a focusing of our minds to the presence that is always with us. When we share in the Body and Blood of our Christ, Jesus, we allow ourselves to participate in a moment of Creation itself – to share that fraction of a moment with our God in the fullness of grace. But make no mistake – that grace is with us always and we can experience it anytime we allow ourselves to be transformed by the teachings of a Divine human being.

This is the difference between doing a thing and BEing a thing. In the above example, it is the difference between going through the motions of “doing” mass; and allowing one’s self to be transported by the Spirit in “celebrating” and “BEing” the Eucharistic, who for a moment shares with the People of God the experience of God’s presence. When we take the Presence of the Divine into us, we are, as was the Eucharist, transformed. But then it goes away? I’m confused!

There is an important step in receiving God’s Grace – we forget to bring it with us wherever we go and whatever we do!

God doesn’t just play with us for one hour every week – God is with us ALWAYS! It is up to us to experience the Divine in ways we have never before allowed in our lives – to BE the fullness of Grace for others – to be LIVING representations of the Eucharist every day of the week.

So… Doing is no longer enough. Be transformed and LIVE the teachings you espouse. Find the Creator in the everyday things you do and CELEBRATE the gift we have been given.