Holy Discommunion…

After Lament

During my recent silent retreat, I found myself writing some odd things.

I was thinking about the nature of the Communion/Eucharist/Mass. This was triggered in part by an encounter with the centrality of the Mass within the Catholic church. Rightly so of course- it is one of the few specific things that Jesus told us to do- when you meet, do this in rememberence of me.

For many of my brothers and sisters the Mass is a place of mystical exchange. It has power that must be mediated through the ministry of Priests- and the exclusion of those outside the boundaries of the church. Having said that, many Catholics bemoan some of the power stuff that has attached itself to the church, and there is a long tradition of openness, generosity that warms my heart.

However, at one of the celebrations of mass that I attended recently, a Priest said something like this- “Each time we take this bread and this wine, it is doing its work of salvation within us.” I found myself in a place of divergence.

And I started to think about that final meal in the upper room- Jesus looking around at his closest friends, holding them in his heart, longing for them to get it. Get that it does not get any better than this- friends who laugh and love and share life together. Friends who take the stuff of their humanity- their bodies, their life blood, and lay it out for one another. And how Jesus knew that he would soon be gone. That a place at the table would be empty. How his heart must have ached.

Then I started to think about all those people who do not get to share a table like this- ever. All those people who life has broken and split off to live a kind of discommunion. Unmass. Nocharist.

And I suddenly felt a grief that our communal remembering of who Jesus was could ever become exclusive.

And I wrote this;

Holy Communion

.

Make me a mass from the broken bread

Of the schizoid on ward C

And for wine there’s a pool of Rogers blood

After suicide number three

.

And mix me some bread from the words he said

To Carrie when she was nine

The secret stains that drip from her

Will do for communion wine

.

Tear me a piece of the angry bread

Of Leroy on ICU

It took three nurses to inject his wine

They’ll need more before he’s through

.

Bake me bread in the boozers head

His clothes they sure do stink

Instead of wine have the turpentine

That was all he could find to drink

.

These are the holy broken ones

Gone soon and not much missed

From the first and the last of the least of these

We make our Eucharist

5 thoughts on “Holy Discommunion…

  1. Your silence wa worth it for us to to share in that poem!
    Your thoughts about the eucharist are very true. Jesus would never have wanted his memory to be so exclusive and power based. We believed that joy in life should be a sacrament and so in fun when ever I hear the phrase “Holy Communion” I always feel it should be followed by the phrase “Batman!”.
    Thanks for all you share,
    Mark & Dee x
    PS Ashley is 18 today!!!!

  2. I have often felt the same about communion. My brothers also write poetry and I think I once stole the idea for a poem from them which went something like:

    “And since when did an intimate meal
    between a teacher and his friends
    turn into ceremony
    where those with access
    to God
    dole out His forgiveness
    to the universal
    priesthood of believers”

    I guess you get my drift. It’s a serious question, which one day perhaps I will find some dusty theology books to confirm that the “evolution” of communion was about power…

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