The Discipline of the Eucharist
The following was submitted by a member of St. Philip the Deacon reflecting on our recent practice of daily communion during the season of Lent:
I love the Lenten disciplines. Fasting. Prayer. Charity. Many years ago, I discovered that I could “take on” a Lenten discipline in a whole new way. Kind of super-sizing it for 40 days. Some years my choice of what I “gave up” or “took on” might have seemed odd to someone else. But I always learned something dramatic during the course of time. Sometimes about God. Always about myself.
The year that it was “No Restaurant Food”, I learned to be more organized and prepared. The year that it was “Soup and Bread Only,” I learned that I often love what I cannot have, regardless of what I need. The years that I would fast beginning on Mondays and break the fast at the soup suppers before church on Wednesday nights, I learned that I do not need all that I think I need, but that I need worship. I crave worship.
This year the discipline was Holy Communion. When I saw the schedule to offer the Sacrament every weekday at 7 am and Noon, the new Lenten discipline formed for me. I would fast each morning and break my fast only after the Noon Meal of Christ’s Body and Blood. And, of course, I learned something very wonderful…again.
I learned about forgiveness. As I would sit and pray in the quiet church, awaiting the meal that I longed for, I would look over the past 24 hours and consider my thoughts, words and deeds—the prayer of Examen. And what I found was love and forgiveness. The reality hit that I absolutely cannot be good enough. Not for a day…or even an afternoon. I didn’t feel the heavy hand of a disappointed parent, upset with me for thinking those thoughts or saying those things—yet again! I felt the loving, welcoming…forgiving embrace from the one who knows and loves me still. Me! Still!
Now it has been a short time after Easter, and I while I miss my daily Eucharist, I think it lives on with me. I have learned something about myself yet again. That I need a Savior…and thank God I have one in Jesus Christ. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.