The beginning and end of the chapter Thomas à Kempis writes (primarily written for priests, but it was in the meditation following that I found a truth for us all):
Had you the purity of an angel and the sanctity of St. John the Baptist, you would not be worthy to receive or administer this Sacrament. It is not because of any human meriting that a man consecrates and administers the Sacrament of Christ, and receives the Bread of Angels for his food. Great is the Mystery and great the dignity of priests to whom is given that which has not been granted the angels…. When the priest celebrates Mass, he honors God, gladdens the angels, strengthens the Church, helps the living, brings rest to the departed, and wins for himself a share in all good things.
Each and every time I consider that God has made me a priest through the laying on of hands by the Bishop, I shake my head in disbelief.
Here is my heart, Lord. My mind. My soul. You only need glance upon the surface of each to know with certainty that filth covers them all. Please, dear Savior, do not look to see what is within, my shame would crush me. Yet, through the great mystery of grace, forgiveness… Love… You chose me. So, there I stand, hands outstretched over the bread and the wine, praying for your presence. Praying once more for you to come to us, your people. I’ve seen the mist of Your Spirit upon the wine and the drops of Your blood on the bread and I’ve seen the wine “stirred up”, and I am… no words. We bow before you. We approach Thee.
When you approach the world, when you approach others…
Thine endeavor should be to cherish within thee throughout the day the same dispositions with which thou shouldst approach the altar.
We must seek to approach the world and others in the same manner, with the same reverence and holiness and awe and fear that we approach Jesus on the altar. Here, in this one, in this many, is God.
4 Replies to “Reflection: TAK IOC Bk. 4 Ch. 5”
Perhaps I’m being naive (and will happily remain so in this case), but I have never been able to understand why, even in our backward, sinful human nature, we can’t or don’t see ourselves, our shared humanity in the faces of others. Whether we manage to see Christ (and know that we have) or not can’t we at least see ourselves (who are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image)?
Very beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. I think I will experience the sacraments a bit differently now, with new thoughts and reverence.
Thanks. I’ve been enjoying writing on these. Helps me to get my head in the right place.