To Our Lord, earthly bread is only a copy, and really, an inferior, distant copy of the true bread from heaven. If we are to genuinely perceive the nature of earthly realities, then we want to begin with heavenly realities as Jesus did, not the other way around. We think of God first designing bread for our use, and then "in the fullness of time" instituting the Eucharist under the form of bread to remind us of earthly food. But the sequence was actually like this: first God saw the need for the Eucharist for the benefit of our souls. So He gave us earthly bread to prepare the way for the Eucharist-the true bread-so that whenever we eat the communion bread, we will be reminded of the Eucharist. In other words, God did not design the Eucharist to be something like bread. He designed bread to be something like the Eucharist.
Sadly, the things that often leave the greatest impressions on us are the passing things of earthly life. Our minds and hearts are so chained to our senses, and Jesus encourages us to avoid falling into that trap when He says, "I am the living bread come down from heaven." The cares and concerns of yesterday, today and tomorrow, i.e. the noise and clatter of my life: these, things are nothing but passing shadows if we think of them in the light of eternity. Reality is in the Eucharist, and our senses alone are inadequate to grasp that reality.: The funeral motto of the great English churchman, Cardinal Newman, should be ours as well. When he died, Newman said that He was moving from "Out of the shadows and appearances into the truth?"
The Eucharist helps to correct our perspective, to catch and even make our own a piece of the "real world," the world of heaven and eternity. And so we pray:
0 Lord, wean me away from the illusion of the comfort and permanence of earthly life. Purge my heart of any complacency when it comes to receiving the true bread come down from heaven. I cannot live without this bread and yet I am sometimes tempted to present myself at the altar not out of sincere desire, but perhaps more from pale routine and habit. This is not the way I wish to receive You, 0 Jesus. In the Eucharist, You give me a glimpse and taste of heaven, my true and lasting home, where my restless heart longs to dwell with You for eternity. Amen.
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