I asked Notre Dame’s Tim Matovina if I could tell this story that he shared with us at the Symposium at Notre Dame a few weeks back. It was one of the most beautiful ways to talk about the Eucharist that I have ever heard.
Tim had become friends with a brilliant woman who grew up in a close-knit hispanic family. However, her Father, who had a quiet confidence, realized that in the United States it was very important for women to be educated so he insisted that she would go on to the State University.
She was excited. Then she got worried.
From a small close knit community she would travel far to be all alone at a large State University. That was indeed a bit more than she bargained for and she wondered what she had gotten herself into. She confided in her father and told him of her fear of being so far away from her family and her comfort zone.
He replied, “Hija, there is nothing to worry about! We are not that far away. When you get to campus, make sure you go to the Newman Center and when you get there, go to mass. I will also be going to mass here and each time you and I receive communion it will be as if we are in the same room. And the distance will not seem so far away.”
He added in Spanish:
“Nos vemos en la comunión.” (I will see you in communion.)
I’m paraphrasing here and not really doing the story justice. Listen to his entire talk here and really hear the tenderness of the whole story.
How often we forget, and Dr Matovina reminds us, that there really is only one Eucharist: The Last Supper. We recall that moment each time we break the bread and pour the wine and we are there again with Christ and the disciples but also with every other person who has partaken of the Eucharist over time. Jesus is really present there but what is even deeper is that Christ is also present in each and every one of us who has received the Eucharist as well. Therefore those disciples are united with us in communion, as are our parents and grandparents and people that we don’t even know. Friends and enemies meet here again along with Presidents and peons. Pot smokers and Popes are united together along with the banker and the pauper. Through the centuries we have this unbroken unity with each other.
That indeed is a lesson for all of us. We are all united in communion and that transcends time and place and even death. Not only are we united with Jesus by eating His body and drinking His blood but we are united to all communicants. That’s what we call the communion of saints.
Who will you see in communion?