What is Holy Communion really? First, we have the re-enactment of the Last Supper with its beautiful and moving imagery of Jesus giving over to and for us, His physical body (the bread) and blood (wine), the very powerful symbols of biological life. This Self-sacrifice is given that we might take His essence deeply into our very being on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Yet it also occurs to me that the bread and wine are also first century symbols of “everydayness”. Therefore, as we eat and drink, we are asked to always give thanks to our Father in Heaven and remember Jesus, divinity walking before and beside us, leading the way and ever present. Yet, is such prayer really Holy Communion?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 Paul tells us, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” [bold emphasis has been added by me]. Communion is Holy, not primarily through priestly blessing of the elements, but because we strive earnestly toward the unity with and through God to which He has called us. It is this communion which is the essence… it is this effort toward unity that I believe is the essential element of holiness. Certainly the sharing of our dreams, our questions, our feelings, all that seems to make up our lives with our Heavenly Father is a wonderful start in prayer. This reminds me of a great quote from an interview with Mother Theresa by Dan Rather:
“What do you say to God when you pray,” he inquired. “Nothing,” replied Mother Theresa. “I just listen.”
“What does God say to you?” he responded rather derisively. “Nothing,” replied Mother Theresa. “He just listens.”
From Catholic Education Resource Center, “Chilling with Jesus” by Douglas McManaman
Perhaps, more than being about any specific communication, prayer is more about being in communion with our Beloved beyond worldly distractions. Such continual rejoicing, prayer and gratitude seems like a wholly fitting way to live Jesus commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). What commandment, what devotion, what communion could be more holy than that of which Jesus says is first and greatest?