“For are we not about to receive the Eucharist wherein we come to Christ Himself, and begin to reign with him forever? The Eucharist is our daily Bread. But let us so receive it as to be thereby refreshed, not in body merely but in mind. For the power which we know to be therein is the power of unity whereby we are brought into union with His body and become His members. Let us be what we receive….” St. Augustine.
After dipping our fingers into the basin of holy water and genuflecting toward the altar, we filed down the aisle and into pews. Because I was not allowed to partake in the Eucharist, Sister Christy asked me to sit in the most interior seat so that I wasn’t required to excuse myself when the Catholic children exited the pews for communion. This was the particular seating arrangement for all protestant children.
The Liturgy was predictable. We knelt, stood, and sat on que. We returned the peace of Christ to the priest and each other. We watched the consecration of holy bread. We moved en masse to the silent crescendo–that moment when the wine and wafer were said to become the body and blood of Christ.
Rows were one-by-one excused and children made their way to the altar, forward to the cross of Christ hanging in the apse. Sometimes if I were close enough I could hear Monsignor Galvin identify “the body of Christ” before placing the holy wafer in the cupped hands of child-like faith. My classmates responded, “amen,”–let it be so.
If my eyes had been awake in that moment, would I have seen what Isaiah saw? Would I have known that the unleavened bread burned red-hot? Would I have sprung from my protestant place, eyes chalice fixed, sprinting to the cup of salvation?
“This is the Body of Christ,” he would say, and longing to live in the midst of that holy metaphor I would respond, “Amen.”