At Mass yesterday (yes, I have become an early-morning-Mass-Catholic… 6:30 AM three-four days a week!), after having received the Blessed Sacrament, I was kneeling praying, reflecting on the words, “This is the Lamb of God, who was given for you.” It hit me: the Lamb of God, raised up at the Cross and now exalted in the heavens, is not merely given for me, but, re-presented and exalted in the Mass, is actually given TO me as well! Christ did not simply die for sinners, but in dying for them, gave Himself to us! The Mass brings this “divine action”, quite literally, quite mystically, into our daily lives, into our very bodies and souls.
The shift in perception was immense. Whereas a few years earlier, as a Protestant, I had cherished and proclaimed the truth of Jesus being given for our salvation, I had never been able to bring Him down to the concrete level of being given TO me for my salvation. Obviously, Protestants “receive” Jesus as their “personal Lord and Savior,” but it dawned on me this is in effect the reception of a Great Idea, a Noble Truth. Without the existential and liturgical “intrusion” of God’s life and love into our own all-too-concrete lives, the Gospel message remains a mere word about what happens in the heavens. But, thanks be to God, at the Mass, Heaven touches down again; Heaven descends to my palm, to my tongue, to my body, to my soul — to the only “me” I have. Far from “caging God in a wafer,” the sacramental Presence of Christ is the only thing that ensures we do not cage Him in the heavens. Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Contrary to _The X-Files_, the Truth is not “out there”; in the Mass, the Truth — this living Person whom Christians adore — is right here, where we are.