Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 31

FAST FOOD: Thirty-First Helping

Is withholding knowledge and/or information a Christian needs to make a moral decision, that is to do the will of God as revealed by Jesus, morally permissible in Christianity?

He said these things while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” . . . From this time many who were his disciples turned back and no longer followed him

(Jn 6:60, 66)

Jesus never wanted to drive away people, let alone drive His disciples away. Yet, that was exactly what happened when Truth Incarnate told people the truth. Jesus did not seek unity or a large following at the expense of truth. He sought unity and community in the truth. He did not try to attract followers by withholding the truth from them, and thereby making discipleship more culturally acceptable and more psychologically, emotionally, philosophically, economically, politically and theologically palatable. Jesus spoke to his listeners in terms of what He knew they really were, namely, sons and daughters of the Father in whose image and likeness they were created. He spoke to them as human beings who could not save themselves from evil—not as people who needed the evil in which they were ensnared religiously validated as the will of God by Him.

Countless times over the last forty-six years of trying to call the Churches back to teaching what the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels taught about violence and enmity, I have been told—by bishops, priests, ministers and pastors, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, black, white or yellow, by leaders of reform movements within the various Churches and even by leaders of Christian Peace and Justice organizations—some configuration of the following:

“I agree that the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is what Jesus taught. It is His Way. I know that the absurdity called “Christian” just war theory cannot be found in or logically derived from anything Jesus ever said or did. But I can’t say that to my Christian community. I would lose half my congregation before the sun went down. It would divide my parish (diocese) like nothing else could. I can’t teach that. It would destroy my Church. Jesus does not want that. And, I am not going to let that happen!”

The three negative assumptions behind such a statement are first of all a human calculation that “My people are not ready to hear this. It is too much for them to deal with.” Secondly, that it is good, proper and right to keep a Christian community together by lying to it via intentional omission and thereby permitting its members to do in clear conscience the opposite of what Jesus called them to do. And, thirdly, that the Word of God which “is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12), cannot make a Christian congregation, community, organization or diocese ready and able to deal with the Gospel truth of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies by ways and means beyond human imagination. “The radical reality of the Gospels is the reality of grace,” writes the Biblical scholar Rev. John L. McKenzie as noted in the previous FAST FOOD Helping, “and there is just no calculating what grace can do,”

There is, then, never a need to eliminate anything that God, who is love (agape), communicates to the world through His Son, the Incarnation of Love (agape), for us and for our salvation. All of God’s communications through the Jesus of the Gospels, His Word made flesh, are grace. For a Christian to think and/or act otherwise is to be conned by the Prince of this world—“who is a murderer and a liar from the beginning” (Jn 8:44)—into abusing and wasting the gift of life and the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, God and Saviour, the Way, the Truth and the Life.


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FAST FOOD: Thirtieth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 30

FAST FOOD: Thirtieth Helping

True or false:

A bishop, priest, minister or pastor can morally withhold the proclamation of the Gospel, or some portion thereof, if proclaiming it would cause discomfort for a person or a group?

A bishop, priest, minister or pastor can morally—that is, in conformity with the teaching of Jesus who in His great commission to the Church commanded, “teach them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20)—refuse to proclaim a part of the Gospel because, if the withheld section were known, it would demand serious alteration to a person’s or a group’s value system, sense of meaning, economic existence, relationships and/or his or her willingness to support the bishop, priest, minister or pastor who told them the whole Gospel truth?

It is better to have a great deal of financial assistance to proclaim a partial gospel, than to have only a little financial assistance to proclaim the entire Gospel?

Proclaiming only the content of the Gospel that your Church’s, or your Christian organization’s, financial support system will tolerate being proclaimed before withholding its funds, is prudence, good old common horse sense?

“If the Roman Catholic Church were to decide to join the Mennonites in refusing violence, I doubt whether our harmonious relations with the government would endure the day after the decision. I believe that both here and elsewhere the Church can avoid persecution by surviving as it has so far, that is by being the lackey of the establishment of wealth and power, that is, by not being the Church…From the beginning of the Church we have observed that the proclamation of the Gospel has been risky. The risk is never an excuse for suppressing the Gospel. Jesus said that the proclaimer must have trust in the Father, who can do things impossible to diplomacy. The radical reality of the Gospels is the reality of grace and there is just no calculating what grace can do.”

John L. McKenzie, Catholic biblical Scholar


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Ninth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 29

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Ninth Helping

“Through the Eucharist the deity is rendered present in a striking and unique fashion. Communion is achieved only through Jesus Christ, who is Man and as Man is Body. The Body is therefore rendered really present; the language of the four sources on the institution of the Eucharist (Mt 26:26-29;Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:15-20; 1 Cor 11: 23-25; Jn 6) leave no room for mere symbolism in this respect.”

-John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible: Eucharist

Question: How does a Christian know that Holy Communion is really the body of Christ? If he or she rejects the authority of the Jesus of the Gospels when Jesus teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, has not he or she rejected the same authority that tells him or her that the Host they have come forward to receive is the Body of Christ? If a Christian cannot say, “Amen,” to Jesus’ teaching and Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—which is the clearest of teachings by Jesus in the Gospels—how can he or she say, “Amen,” to the offer of the Body of Christ at Holy Communion?

Or, can such Christian just break off a piece of the Host offered to them before receiving Communion and hand it back to the Eucharistic minister—symbolizing thereby their non-belief in the authority of Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—and only then say, “Amen,” to receiving the Body of Christ? This would be terrific personal and communal symbolism, if the Consecrated Bread were mere symbolism.


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Eighth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 28

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Eighth Helping

The earliest account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper is by St. Paul. It reads as follows:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me.

In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

 (1 Cor 11: 23-29)
Douai Rheims

“The meaning of the formula, “Do this in remembrance of me,” in this context is determined by verse 26 “you proclaim the Lord’s death.” The death of Jesus, which is an act of love, is proclaimed existentially in and through the eating and drinking. Authentic remembering is imitation of Christ, whereby God’s saving love is made present effectively in the world. From this perspective it is clear why the comportment of the Corinthians [refusing to share their bread with other Christians who did not have enough to eat] made an authentic Eucharist impossible. If participants in the Eucharistic meal are not united in love, they class themselves among those who murdered Jesus”

(emphasis added).
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary on 1 Corinthian 11:23-29
Catholic Commentary on the Bible (Imprimatur 1988)

“Jesus taught that violence belongs to the Reign of Satan, and that men must expel violence if they wish to liberate themselves from the Reign of Satan. If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him.”

Rev. John L. McKenzie, Catholic Biblical Scholar

“Become what you receive, receive what you are.”

St.Augustine on the proper disposition for the reception of Holy Communion

What is the correct name to be placed on this normal, commonly occurring, traditional Christian activity: a group of Christians with their Christian military chaplain celebrating the Eucharist at 9.00am on the east side of a battle line, while another group of Christians with their military chaplain is celebrating the Eucharist at 9.00am on the west side of a battle line, with both groups intending to go forth and slaughter each other at 11.00am?

Would it make any spiritual difference, or difference to Jesus, if the group on the east side was not Christians and was therefore not celebrating the Eucharist at 9.00am?


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Seventh Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 27

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Seventh Helping

Noam Chomsky is neither a Christian nor a pacifist. He does, however, know a thing or two about words, grammar, rhetoric, logic, phrases, clauses, sentences, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. He is Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for over fifty years. Chomsky is considered the “father of modern linguistics.” He knows how to read and interpret texts. He says,

The Gospels are radical pacifist documents never very popular among the powerful, including Rome…The contents of the Gospels are mostly suppressed (in the U.S.); they are a radical pacifist collection of documents. It [Christianity] was turned into the religion of the rich by the Emperor Constantine, who eviscerated its content. If anyone dares to go back to the Gospels, they become the enemy.

I would only add: Also never very popular in Constantinople, Canterbury, Moscow, and Geneva (World Council of Churches headquarters); and not only suppressed by the Churches in the U.S. but also in Russia, England, every country in the European Union, Latin America, South America, Africa and Australia.

Let’s now listen to a Christian on the same subject—Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, who was the first American in forty years invited to give the prestigious Gifford Lectures in theology and who was named by Time Magazine “America’s best theologian:”

Nonviolence is not one among other behavioural implications that can be drawn from the Gospel but is integral to the shape of Christian convictions. Indeed, nonviolence is not just one implication among others that can be drawn from our Christian beliefs; it is at the very heart of our understanding of God. If we do not think it possible to love our enemies then we should plainly say Jesus is not the Messiah.

So the issue behind the issue of Jesus’ teaching a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is the most serious of faith issues, not a lack of clarity on Jesus’ part or by the authors of the Gospels. What Jesus teaches is clear; the issue is, “By what authority does He teach it?” Depending on the answer to that question, a person chooses obedience to what Jesus taught or evaluation of what Jesus taught and whether it is applicable or not to his or her life. If a Christian, however, says “Amen” after being offered the Body of Christ at Holy Communion, then he or she is publicly saying that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God, and by that fact that what He teaches is the will of the Father and possible.

Become what you receive, receive what you are.” -St. Augustine on the proper disposition for the reception of Communion

If a Christian, when receiving Holy Communion, is committed to being or becoming a lean, mean, killing machine in some military organization, what is the correct name or word for what he or she is doing when they say, “Amen,” to receiving the Body of Christ at Holy Communion?


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Sixth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 26

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Sixth Helping

The Eucharist is the memorial, which Christ gave us on the eve of his death, when he said, “Do this in memory of me.” It is the solemn assurance of his abiding, life- giving presence—“ I shall be with you.” — bringing us into intimate contact with his saving sacrifice: “This is my body given for you, my blood shed for you.” It provides a redeeming entrance into the company of the “Lamb of God” who destroys the vicious circle of violence, enmity, and treachery.

New Testament leaves no doubt that Jesus was and understood himself explicitly to be that Servant of whom the four songs in Isaiah speak (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; and 52:13-53:12). He is the Servant who suffers like a lamb and by his gentleness breaks the deadly circle of violence. He bears the horrifying burden of the world’s transgressions, and opens the way for a saving solidarity and peace. At the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (Mt 3:16-17), “a voice from heaven was heard saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, on whom my favor rest ” (Isaiah 42:1). And, it is John the Baptizer who points to Jesus, saying,. “Behold the Lamb of God; it is he who takes away the sin of the world.”(John 1.29).

The whole Eucharistic memorial exhorts us to “behold the Lamb of God!” It urges us to learn from him who is meek, nonviolent, humble, and thus points out the way of peace.

The Lamb of God turns our eyes and hearts to his ways of loving forgiveness. He rescued even his enemies, the sinners, by his life and death; he shows us the healing power of nonviolence as the expression of redeeming love for those who oppose him, and his disciples. He alone, in whom there is no violence, and no treachery, can deliver us from the solidarity of sin and lead us into the solidarity of salvation… It is not possible to speak of Christ’s sacrifice while ignoring the role of nonviolence. Jesus is Nonviolence Incarnate.

-Bernard Haring, C.Ss.R., the premier Catholic moral theologian of the 20th century.


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Fifth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 25

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Fifth Helping

“Thanks to the Eucharist, God’s absolute ‘no’ to violence, pronounced on the cross, is kept alive through the centuries. The Eucharist is the sacrament of non-violence. With his sacrifice, Christ defeated violence, not opposing it with greater violence, but suffering it and laying bare all its injustice and uselessness. He inaugurated a new kind of victory”

(emphasis added).
-Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap.
Official Preacher to the Papal Household, (1981 to 2013)

He holds doctorate degrees in Classical Literature (Milan, 1965) and in Theology (Fribuorg, 1962). He was a member of the International Theological Commission of the Catholic Church 1975-1981. He has been a priest for over fifty years.

Excerpt is from the Third Lenten Sermon, to the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops and prelates of the Roman Curia and the general superiors of Religious Orders, March 11, 2005.


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Fourth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 24

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Fourth Helping

The motto of the great ones might well be “Winner Take All—Even the Memories.” The winner owns history and bends it to his will.

-Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
The Kings and Their gods

It does not take much reflection to perceive how detail-devoid Eucharistic Prayers—that do not mention Jesus’ new commandment given at the Last Supper, that do not mention His rejection of violence, that do not mention His love of even lethal enemies, that do not mention His prayer for persecutors, and His struggle to overcome evil with good—serve a critical function in amalgamating Christianity into the local, national or ethnic violence-ennobling myths. Intentional forgetfulness, structured inattentiveness, and a cavalier disparaging of the Savior’s teachings of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies have always been part of this process of Churches validating Christian violence and enmity by calculated evasions. Without thses cultivated liturgical blind spots Jesus could not be drafted as a Divine support person for the home team’s homicide and enmity.
It is possible today, as it has been possible for 1700 years, for a normal person to spend a lifetime listening to the Eucharistic Prayers of all of the mainline Christian Churches and never apprehend that what is being remembered is a Person—who at the moments being remembered in the Prayer—rejects violence, forgives everyone, prays for persecutors, returns good for evil. In other words, in most Christian Churches, the anamnesis, remembrance, of Jesus’ passion and murder has become an agency for the loss of memory about truths in the suffering and death of Christ; truths that if consistently brought to consciousness at the sacred time of the community’s Eucharist would stand in judgment on a multitude of community activities, past and present. So until this very day, in the Eucharistic Liturgies of the violence-endorsing, war-approving Churches of Christianity the words “suffered and died” have been quite enough memory, commemoration, remembrance, recall, or anamnesis for fulfilling the Lord’s command, “Do this in memory of me.”

Below is a prototype of a simple Eucharist Prayer supplement that can be added to any Eucharistic Prayer of any of the Churches without changing a sentence of their current Eucharistic Prayers. Its addition would not be a whimsical or arbitrary or forced insertion of just another event from Jesus’ life into the Eucharist Prayer. This is factually what happened from the Cenacle to the Crucifixion. This is the Apostolic memory given to us by the ultimate historical, theological and pastoral documents on the subject: the Four Gospels.

A Prototype of
A Historically Truthful, Theologically Accurate, Pastorally Urgent
Eucharistic Prayer/Anamnesis Supplement

…At the time He was betrayed, on the night before He went forth to His eternally memorable and life-giving death, like a Lamb led to slaughter: rejecting violence, loving His enemies, and praying for His persecutors, He bestowed upon His disciples the gift of a New Commandment:

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Then He took bread into His hands, and giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying:

Take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my body which will be given up for you.

In a similar way, when the Supper was ended, He took the chalice. And once more giving thanks, He gave it to His disciples, saying:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this in memory of me.

Therefore, obedient to this precept of salvation, we remember and reverence His passion where He lived to the fullest that which He taught for our sanctification. We remember His suffering at the hands of a fallen humanity filled with the spirit of violence and enmity. But, we remember also that He endured this humiliation with a love free of retaliation, revenge, and retribution. We recall His execution on the cross. But, we recall also that He died loving enemies, praying for persecutors, forgiving, and being superabundantly merciful to those for whom justice would have demanded justice. Finally, as we celebrate the memory of the fruits of His trustful obedience to your will, O God: the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, the second and glorious coming, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks…

Certainly such an insertion would not be clogging up a Eucharistic Prayer with out-of-place, inappropriate, irrelevant factual detail—nor with speculative theology. What it would be is an extraordinary medium of metanoia, conversion, repentance, change of mind. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, “the law prayer determines the law of belief determines the law of life,” may be an ancient Christian maxim, but the dynamic it illuminates is as operative and as powerful as ever today—and the great ones in the Church and in the state are fully aware of this. That is why by fiat they keep the Way Jesus responds to evil, even lethal evil, at the time of His passion and murder off the table, off the Eucharistic Table by composing and enforcing Eucharistic Prayers that repress communal memory. “Suffered and died” is enough remembrance (anamnesis) for their purpose. But, is it enough for God’s purpose?

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetfulness.

-Milan Kundera


CatholicScout Comments:

Firstly, I’m not God! I am not Eternal, Omniscient or Omnipotent. I am soul, with a body and have a finite intellect. Why do I state the blatantly obvious? Because I am about to share my opinions, which, sadly, often-times are not those of God!

So on to my opinions; by you should by now understand that I am a Catholic who believes that the Traditional Latin Mass transmits Divine Grace to the soul more efficaciously, than the Novus Ordo.

Secondly, I am also the type of Catholic who has largely given up hope of the Novus Ordo-fabricating-and-advocating side of the Church (including the Curia), ever rescinding on their fabrications. My lack of hope in this area, has given to rise of a lack of care too.

Not a lack of care for Souls who suffer the detrimental consequences of all the fabrication, innovation, and falsehood.

But a lack of care for what those – who think the Novus Ordo is an objectively better thing than the Traditional Latin Mass -, what they do to the Novus Ordo rite. They can chop up the Novus Ordo, change it, do what they will with it, for all I care. But in my humble opinion the best thing would be to bin it, and everything that went with it.

That being said, I would be very interested to see what happened if the Novus Ordo fabricators did adopt this prototype Supplement to the Novus Ordo Canon. I think that there would be a very positive result: a great out pouring of Grace.

Now regarding the Traditional Latin Mass: The Canon was fixed in 1570 with the Papal Bull: Quo Primum. The Canon itself is sacrosanct and according to Quo Primum, only a Pope may make an alteration. An alteration, is understood as an addition, never a subtraction.

In this view, the Pope (alone) does have the authority to add this supplement to the Canon of the Traditional Rite. It would be the first of it’s kind since 1570, and should be accompanied with much fear and trembling. To add something to the very heart of that which has been held as the summit of holiness for centuries, if not millennia, would be similar to open heart surgery.

The temporal and spiritual consequences of a Pope making the addition of this supplement to the Traditional Canon (duly and reverently worded, with much prayer and deliberation), I think would be inconceivably stupendous. I think, that it would be akin to a Second Pentacost.

Of course there would be a reaction from the Traditionalist part of the Church, especially the more extreme Traditionalist (such as SSPX:SO or sedevacantists). But I think Traditionalists recognise the Pope as having the necessary authority, and that the supplement would be a Eternal Good for the Church.

If all this terrible destructive fabrication and innovation of the Novus Ordo happened solely to return the Truth of Christ’s Way back to where it belongs; in the centre of the Canon. Then maybe, just possibly, I might be convinced to say a quiet Deo Gratias. I would say it quietly, because I just can’t rationalise the terrible destruction that has gone hand-in-hand with it.

Not many people are willing to say that kind of thing in the public forum, but I will, the souls who were lost (perhaps now eternally), those who are currently lost, and those who in the process of being lost, deserve it. May God have mercy on each and every one of them and upon us all.

Of course, the sad thing is, that currently the Daniel Berrigan quote at the beginning, is applied to the current reigning teachers in the Church. Some of these, have the power to be in control of history, and they are bending it to their will, which is not favourable to anything that happened before the 1960’s.

Lastly, just remember these are my opinions. My opinions are not God’s. Go find them out. Pray. Do your research. Read things, and especially things from before the 1960’s!


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Third Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence

My sincere apologies for not keeping up with the postings, I am very busy! Over thirty days ago the Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence began. Every day meditations were sent out and I am going to post them all up for public consumption.

Please note, some of this stuff is hard to swallow, and where applicable, I will note where I disagree.

It’s one of those things, let the truth sink in. God bless.
CatholicScout.

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 23

FAST FOOD: Twenty-Third Helping

The motto of the great ones might well be “Winner Take All—Even the Memories.” The winner owns history and bends it to his will.

-Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
The Kings and Their gods

Mrs. Rooney lived down the street from me in the 1940s when I was a little kid. The street was a small dirt road going between two moderately used paved roads. For the most part it was only driven-on by the few residents who lived on it. Mrs. Rooney was in her eighties. Most of the day she sat at a first floor window of her home in a rocking chair and watched the children playing in the street. She also prayed the Rosary all day long, while looking out of the window. When asked for whom she did all that praying, she would say, “For the children playing out there.

Now suppose, someone asked me, if I remember Mrs. Rooney. I would answer, “Yes, she was the old woman who sat at the window all day.” Would that be a historically accurate memory and a truthful answer? Yes. Would it be a historically complete memory? No. Would it be a memory that was leaving out a very important and well-known piece of her life at that time? Yes. If my questioner was trying to find out information about Mrs. Rooney’s religious belief or spiritual life or sense of compassion or spiritual consciousness would my brief response that “She was the old woman who sat at the window all day” be sufficient? No. If my questioner was trying to write a book, presenting models that others could be inspired by and imitate, on good and kind things anonymous people do would my “She was the old lady who sat in the window all day,” be of any significant psychological, emotional, cognitive or spiritual value to the author or to those he wished to help by his writing? No!

Mrs. Rooney and Jesus

Jesus does not merely “suffer and die,” as the texts say in most of the Eucharistic Prayers of most of the Churches. He does not die of a heart attack. Jesus is tortured and murdered. He dies when His heart is attacked by human beings inebriated with the diabolical spirit of justified, religiously endorsed homicide and enmity—and He dies giving a definite, discernible, and consistent response to that satanic spirit in action. The Gospel fact, of the Way He responded with love to even lethal evil, cannot be insignificant in discerning the Truth of the revelation God is trying to communicate to humanity for the good of humanity in Jesus. Yet, it is absent from nearly all Eucharistic Prayers.

The Sacrifice of the Cross is not about mere animal pain that is meant to assuage the lust of a sadistic, bloodthirsty, parochial god. It is about the revelation of the nature and meaning, Way and Power of Divine Love, a Love that saves from an Enemy and a menace that the darkest phenomena of history can only but hint at. The historically and theologically emaciated phraseology of “suffered and died” in Eucharistic Prayers, while not erroneous, is anemic revelatory remembrance (anamnesis).

There may be more to remembering Jesus in his passion and death at the Eucharist than the historical memory. But, there is no substitute for accurately and actually remembering the historical content of His passion and death—which is not just that He “suffered and died.” It must also include the Spirit in which He suffered and died: rejecting the use of violence, loving His enemies, returning good for evil, praying for His persecutors, and forgiving His torturers and murderers. This is Gospel fact, not spiritual conjecture. It is Gospel fact every bit as much as the Gospel fact that He was crucified.

To consistently ignore and to structurally bracket-out within the Eucharistic Prayer this major fact in the God-given revelatory memory, is to assure that little of what God intended to be communicated and accomplished by this costly revelation will be communicated and accomplished by it. To side-step this authentic Apostolic memory in order to get to a more profound or holy or deep spirituality of the Eucharist is sheer folly. One has to have the humility to accept and work with revelation as God offers it. If one does not want to prayerfully enter into revelation as presented by God, then one has no access to revelation, for who but God can author revelation?

So, while the mere use of the words “suffered” and “died” in the Eucharistic Prayer is not theologically inaccurate and does meet the letter of the law in fulfilling Jesus’ Eucharistic command, “Do this in memory of me,” it is pastorally shriveled revelatory remembrance (anamnesis). It has all the depth of truth and meaning and witness that there would be in describing Mrs. Rooney as merely “the old woman who sat at the window all day.”

The terrible pastoral danger of a mere skin and bones, “suffer and died Eucharistic Prayer,” with no serious communication of the Spirit in which Jesus suffered and died, is that it leaves the Eucharistic Prayer wide open to being transformed from an avenue of anamnesis to an agency for amnesia.

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetfulness.

-Milan Kundera


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FAST FOOD: Twenty-Second Helping