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The Chapel at the End of the Hallway

Rev. Stephen M. DiGiovanni

There is a chapel at the end of my hallway in the seminary. Each week more than 700 people come to visit it. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week, these people come, each to his or her assigned hour for one reason -- to be with God in the Eucharist.

The faith of these people is the faith of the Church, unchanged since the time of Christ Himself, who said "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him." (John 6:54-56)

The language of Our Lord in the Gospels is graphic and startling, so much so that He could not have been speaking symbolically. His meaning is as real regarding the reality of the Eucharist, therefore, as was his taking on human flesh and blood and his dying on the cross and rising from the dead.

He entered his creation in order to make us more like himself. St. Augustine taught that "God became man so that mankind could become God." He transforms us by giving us himself in the Eucharist. It is there that he waits for us and there that he remains with us until the end of time, beckoning us to allow his presence to make us like himself.

The Lord, truly present in the Eucharist, is the heart of the Church's life and mission. His presence is the reason why those 700 people come every week to the chapel at the end of my hallway. They believe as the Church has believed for nearly two millennia. The Church believes because Our Lord taught it the reality of his love, at his birth, on the Cross and in his words that he would remain with us until the end of time. He remains with us, not in our memory, nor as an idea, nor as printed word, but in the reality of his flesh and blood. God became man so that mankind can become God. He loves us, in the flesh. That is the Eucharist -- God with us.

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