Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Last Supper

by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP (1877-1964)

“Jesus, knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” A father who is about to die wishes to leave to his children a supreme proof of his love for them. Often such a father cannot find words to express his love and he remains silent with a silence that is more eloquent than speech. When Jesus was about to die He found not only the words to express His meaning but also the words which would make His meaning a reality, the words of transubstantiation. He gave us the Eucharist as a testament, and in this sacrament He left to us His own divine Person.

The greatest proof of love is the prefect gift of self. Generosity is essentially communicative, goodness is naturally self-diffusive. Saint Thomas goes so far as to say: “It belongs to the essence of goodness to communicate itself to others ... Hence it belongs to the essence of the highest good to communicate itself in the highest manner to the creature ...”

Our Lord might well have been content to institute a sacrament which was a sign of grace like baptism and confirmation. He has chosen to give us a sacrament which contains not only grace but the Author of grace Himself ...

True and generous love, by which we wish others well and do them good, leads us to bend down toward them if they are below us. It inspires us to unite ourselves to them in perfect union of thought, desire, and will, to devote ourselves to them, to sacrifice ourselves if necessary to make them better, and to encourage them to reach out beyond themselves and attain their destiny.

When our Lord was about to deprive us of His sensible presence, He wished to leave Himself to us in person under the Eucharistic veils. Loving us as he did, he could not bend down any lower toward us, toward the lowliest, the poorest, and most wretched. There was no way by which He could unite Himself or give Himself more completely to us.

There are times when we yearn for the real presence of loved ones who are no more. The Eucharistic heart of the Savior has given us the real presence of His body, His blood, His soul, His divinity ...

The Eucharistic heart of Jesus has given us the Eucharist as a sacrifice, in order to perpetuate in substance the sacrifice of the cross on our altars until the end of the world and to apply its fruits to us. And at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our Lord who is the principal Priest continues to offer Himself up for us.

Father Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964) was a great Dominican theologian and preacher. He produced over five hundred books and articles over the course of his life.

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