Friday, July 20, 2007

In Memory of Me

Today's first reading (Exodus) gives all the elaborate instructions for the first Passover. It reminded me of the beautiful account I read last night of Sr. Margaret's recently deceased dad: as he was dying, he called for all his children and grandchildren to come over for a picnic, and then he instructed them to do this every year. For the devout family, it was a Last Supper, and their father was instituting a "memorial." But today I understood it in a different light: their father was ensuring a continuing family unity through this annual gathering. Year by year, their family identity will be more and more anchored by this reunion.
How can I not think of the Eucharist, which St. Augustine called "the sacrament of unity and bond of charity"? But in recent decades the one celebration by which Jesus wished to anchor his Church in unity around himself has been greatly damaged because of arguments over rites. The Papal document liberalizing the permission to celebrate the Eucharist with the Tridentine rite restores not just a ritual, but a greater sense of unity in the Church.

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