Thursday, November 03, 2011

Communion matters

This week our high schoolers are studying Article X of the Augsburg Confession, which reads: 

"Concerning the Lord's Supper it is taught that the true body and blood of Christ are truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper and are distributed and received there. Rejected, therefore, is also contrary teaching (that is, all teachings that deny the bodily presence of Christ, as if it were only a "memorial," "symbolic," or a spiritual encounter with heavenly flesh).

I'm excited to have a conversation around this article, and talk about why communion is really real, and why it matters. I frequently remember a passage from Flannery O'Connor's collected letters, The Habit of Being. On communion, she has this to say:

"I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. (She just wrote that book, "A Charmed Life.") She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn't opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. . . . Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them.

Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it.

That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:46 PM


    I always loved that quote. Never knew the context.

    Thank you for this.

    -- Anna