Our Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist by Ronald Rolheiser
Ronald Rolheiser in his gift for broadening our horizons on teachings of the faith, including the Eucharist, shares with his readers a unique perspective on this sacred sacrament in his book, Our Great Act of Fidelity. Rolheiser begins with the central tenant of the faith, namely that in the Incarnation God became flesh. From this point, he makes the claim that the continuation of the Incarnation, of Christ’s presence is mediated or found in the Body of Christ, the Supper. Yet, God still has skin in this world not only in the Eucharist but in the body of Christ, his church (16-17)
Ronald outlines the difference between Catholics and Protestants as a difference in focus, one is focused on the Eucharist as giving meaning to the entirety of the Mass and the other tradition places the Word of God front and center, making worship flow from the Word. Yet, Ronald focuses on the complementary lenses upon which we should look at the Supper, namely that the Supper invites us to see it as a memorial, as an act of reconciliation, forgiveness and unity, etc (28-29). Yet, all these approaches can be taken together, for there is not one Scriptural or theological position on the Eucharist that trumps them all.
One of the chapters on the intensification of our unity within the body of Christ struck a chord with me. Ronald writes, “The Eucharist tries, first of all, to change us so that we become what we receive, one body, one community, one heart, one spirit (38).” Be what you are, in other words meditate on the fact that as you are joined to Christ in union with him you are also joined to each other believer in an indestructible bond. This unity helps us fight off the loneliness that comes with broken relationships, depression, and sin. The Eucharist is also a call to send us out to in grace for service, to wash another’s feet, to bring hospitality to those who need it (68).
Although I don’t have the same view in terms of the physical concepts of the Eucharist as Ronald, I really appreciated this book as it challenged me to see the Eucharist as embodying both union with Christ and his body. Furthermore, Ronald pushes us out of our comfort zones to see the Eucharist as besieging us with grace to go out into the world in service.
Thanks to Blogging for Books and Image for this book in return for an honest review.