Reflections 18th June 2017

A Reflection for Corpus Christi

JN: 6: 51-58 (  )

In the opening passage in his book ‘The Devil’s Advocate’, the Australian author Morris West tells the story of Fr. Blaise Meredith.  Unwell, the English priest goes to the doctor who takes an X-Ray. Holding it up to the light, the doctor points out a large tumour and tells Fr. Blaise that he has carcinoma. “Can you operate on it?” asks the priest. The doctor says that he could and that if he did the priest could live for about six months. However, he added that if Fr. Blaise did not undergo the operation he would live longer but would die somewhat more painfully. They both agreed that it was a grim choice, and one that only the priest could make. 

After this encounter with the doctor, Fr. Blaise walks across to the public park. It’s the spring, HIS spring and he begins to reflect: “Why is it that when his encounter with the risen Christ through death is revealed, the date is almost set?  Why no sense of confidence or hope? What’s holding him back? Surely his job as an archivist is hardly enough to hold him back from the great vision of God! Nor would his misty old room in the Vatican, lined with volumes of books, be enough to postpone the Beatific Vision. As for relationships, he’s an academic and happier in isolation than in community; would anybody shed a tear at his passing?

Finally, he reflects on his personal relationship with God, and on his prayer life. He says his daily Office but as a matter of routine and without enthusiasm. As for the celebration of the Eucharist / the prayer of invocation, he realises that this is an expression of our longing for God. Calling on God to come and be with us is essential for receiving the gift of the sacrament. It is to call on the Holy Spirit to make real among us the gift of the Body and Blood of the Lord, that we are receiving.

God comes to us to the extent that we hunger for Him. If there is no hunger, he may come to us sacramentally, but not personally.

It is a moment of Truth. Fr. Blaise realises that he never hungered for God at all. He is shattered!

Hugh Fagan C.S.Sp. – Fr Hugh was ordained in 1961, and took up appointment in The Gambia, in west Africa, the following year. Now resident in Kimmage, he has also ministered in Ireland and Australia.