The Eucharist- The Supreme “moment of transcendence.”
Every person experiences in their life what I call “moments of transcendence.” A moment of transcendence is an experience where our hearts, minds and souls are lifted up away from ourselves, and for a moment, often only a very short moment, we experience the presence of God in a deep and profound way. They can occur while we are walking on the beach as the sun begins to set, while a parent holds their newborn child in their arms for the first time, or even when we are simply enjoying a meal with a friend who we love dearly. These moments do not follow a strict pattern or method, they can occur anywhere and at any time.
What do these moments tell us about ourselves? Are they merely just psychological projections resulting from frustration with our daily lives or are they tiny glimpses into the destiny that we are all a part of?
These moments, though they are often rare, remind us of our destiny. They whisper to us of a future life, a life we are slowly moving towards each day. A life where suffering and pain are extinguished, a life where confusion and anxiety is replaced by clarity and peace, and a life where God, no longer “hidden” beyond the distractions we have placed before him in this world, stands before us with arms ready to embrace us. In short, these moments are little glimpses of heaven, that “place” of ultimate fulfillment, peace and joy.
Yet these moments, as wonderful as they are, do not have to be rare occasions for us. They occur everyday in the Eucharist, because it is there where we not only encounter God and adore him from a distance, but it is there where he allows himself to be consumed by us and enters into the very depths of our being. He who is the creator of the universe “hides” himself under the appearance of bread so that we would not be afraid to approach him.
The Eucharist is a foretaste of heaven because it is Jesus Christ we receive in the Eucharist, not a symbol but a person, and it is that same Jesus Christ who is heaven itself. At each Mass we have the opportunity to experience the ultimate “moment of transcendence,” that moment where we are lifted up from ourselves and this world and kneel before the destiny that awaits us all, the destiny which we are all created for.
There is nothing greater in this life than the Eucharist. Though there are many “moments of transcendence” that we experience in this life, the Eucharist is that supreme moment of transcendence because it reveals God himself. The good news is that we do not have to search far and wide for this experience, it is available to us each day in the Mass.
God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, New York