All You Need is Love

By Chris Sparks

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. - Mt 28:20

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. - Jn 14:18

On Holy Thursday, we commemorate Christ's institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood at the Last Supper. To understand this mystery at all, we need to understand quite what we get out of the whole thing.

There's a great lyric from one of the songs in The Muppet Christmas Carol that goes like this:

The love we found
The love we found
We carry with us
So we're never quite alone.

That, right there, is the heart of Catholic spirituality. Why? The reason is in the teaching of St. John:

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another ... God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. - (1 Jn 4:7-12, 16)

God is love! What sort of love? Is He romantic love, or the love between friends? No - He is agape love, self-sacrificing love, pouring Himself out in a cataract of love and gift that will never end. We see that mystery of His self-gift most clearly on the Cross, and that gift is given to us again and again until the end of the world through the Eucharist. Jesus died once, and made a once-for-all sacrifice that will be re-presented to God the Father at every Mass till kingdom come, a sacrifice which seals the covenant of communion between God and humanity, and, through humanity, with the entirety of creation. (For more on that, see Fr. Michael Gaitley's book The 'One Thing' is Three.)

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC 1324) because it is Holy Communion - it is what it says. We commune with God and the entire Mystical Body of Christ. We share in the life and love of God almighty, and are sent forth into the world to spread the fire of the Holy Spirit to all nations. God is really present in the Eucharist, and so fulfills His promise again and again for all time.

He does not abandon us. Every Mass is a Second Coming, every Eucharist a revelation, every Communion an apocalypse, and so it shall be until the skies roll back, the earth parts, and the living and the dead are summoned to judgment when the time of mercy has passed.

You might also like...

On Sunday, Jan. 2, we celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord. Come, let us adore the newborn King as the Magi did.

Dec. 7 is the feast day of St. Ambrose. He helped convert St. Augustine and encouraged St. Monica in her many years of prayer for her unrepentant son.

If costuming your children as witches, ghosts, or demons concerns you, fine — exorcise the demons from the wardrobe!