Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, May 26, 2016)
For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,
It is a great mystery that the Church offers today to our adoration and thanksgivings. The Blessed Eucharist is the gift of the God Who wishes to abide in our midst. It appears as a continuation of the mystery of Incarnation. After He came not for those who are healthy, but for those who are ill and sinners, after He encountered in His humanity the entreaty of the widow, but also the joy and thanksgivings of the man who was curved under the burden of sin and then became free, Jesus offers us today to encounter Him in His Eucharistic presence.
Let us go to the Eucharist, as the Samaritan woman, as Zacchaeus, as the centurion, or as the poor, went to Jesus!
In the last moments of the Old Covenant, the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem was empty, separated from the rest of the world by the veil of the Temple. Who rent the veil when Jesus died? Who uttered for the first time the words of the consecration on the bread and wine, and commanded that these words should be repeated, thus giving as a nourishment His Body and Blood? God has covered the whole length that separated Him from man, and from now on, He wants to abide in our midst.
For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me: and I in him. (Jn 6:56-57)
The Epistle to the Hebrews asserts:
Having therefore, brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the blood of Christ, a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, [...] let us draw near with a true heart, in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for He is faithful that hath promised), and let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works. (Hb 10:19-20:22-24)
The veil is no longer a separation, it has become the Way.
May we tread it with faith, and answer the Master Who knocks at the door of our hearts, and awaits us! Let us listen as a conclusion to a spiritual master of the Russian Church:
There is no question for the moment to expatiate on lengthy explanations, nor on sermons, but rather to praise and give thanks. Focus your attention on the Lord Who has visited you. You have in you at the present time the Master of all masters. Listen to Him. Listen carefully to what He is going to tell you in the innermost depths of your being, in a mysterious, yet very effective way. He will not talk to your soul through outer words, but He will stamp directly onto your heart the teaching that you need. Only, be very careful to keep inner silence, whet the hearing of your heart, incline your ear towards His mouth, and listen. (Theophan the Recluse, hermit of Vycha in the 19th century)