“do this in memory of me”
January 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
Everytime someone who has meant much to me disappears from my life, my actions and interests change. I find myself engaging in little rituals that remind me of the person, or taking up new interests and activities to assure myself that the spirit of the person still lives on and is not entirely gone, as reality prods me onto believing.
This is something of myself that I have just realised, although looking back, I’ve done it for years. My realization of this leads me to think how sensible it is to have Mass, as it is among other things, a memorial of Jesus Christ. I can understand why the disciples would want to have something like the mass. It was a way to remember their Lord, someone whom they love dearly.
Don’t we have such rituals to remember the ones we have lost too? Some of these rituals may be painful to do. At the back of our minds, we remember that the person is no longer here. Sometimes such rituals only serve to reinforce that. Any attempts at comforting oneself also sometimes seem like merely desperate measures. Yet it is something that I, and I believe many others, do. Whether they realise it or not. It may be taking on the particular hand gesture we associate with the person, or a particular way of expressing himself/herself. It may be reading and re-reading the person’s favourite book. Among others.
Given the bittersweet enactment of these rituals, with the thought at the back of our minds that we may never see the person again, it is most comforting to know that unlike the humans whom we have loved and lost, Jesus in his perfection finds a way to make himself still present in the Eucharist, which we partake in during the mass. This Eucharist is not merely a symbol of Jesus Christ but the REAL presence of him, as Catholics like myself believe.
And why not? Why would Jesus in His perfection be content to merely leave behind a symbol of himself?
Believing that it is the real presence of Our Lord, the Eucharist then takes on special significance. It is a memorial of a loved one that is comforting rather than heart-wrenching. For we are trying to remember not someone who has not gone, but someone who still lives on and is ever present, in every moment.
When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it (again) until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you (that) from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22: 14-19)