This Vortex is coming to you from our 6th annual Retreat at Sea off the Pacific coast. Many of you expressed a deep desire to come on board but for a slew of varying reasons were unable, so we decided to recap some of the themes we treated on board in these few Vortex episodes. The overall theme of this year's Retreat at Sea, owing to the fact that it was Easter week, was the "Glories of the Faith." The first of 10 different conferences was on the Eucharist, the centrality of the Faith, because it is Our Blessed Lord, and as such, it is the glory of the Faith because in Holy Communion we have direct access to the God who created us for Himself.
When you stop and consider, meditate, on that from all eternity God the Holy Trinity knew that the Second Person would unite Himself to us in the Flesh as an even deeper sign of love than creation itself — it is beyond our capacity to really comprehend. We can both possess that knowledge, while at the same time never possess it. It's like the ocean here that we are floating on. Yes, you can scoop up a handful of water and it posseses the substance of what the ocean is, even in this tiny amount, but you can never actually possess the ocean itself, only its substance — that which makes it what it is. And so it is by analogy with Our Blessed Lord. He is infinite but contains Himself — a prisoner of love — in the finite so that we finite creatures may possess Him as He is in His infinite glory.
At the Last Supper, Our Blessed Lord made explicitly clear to His Apostles that what He was doing or enacting in the Upper Room, as well as what He would do on the Cross the next day — both of these were sacrificial and one and the same sacrifice. In Judaism, bread and wine were extremely familiar sacrificial elements going all the way back to the high priest Melchizedek's encounter with Abraham on the mountain range of Salem that would be become Jeru-Salem where the sacrifice was offered. The very words at the institution which fell from the sacred lips of Our Lord when He spoke of the New Covenant of His Body which would be given up, of His Blood that would be poured out, of doing this in memory of Him — all of this has deep sacrificial implications — as Fr. John Hardon reminds us.
From the very first Apostles on, there never existed a shred of doubt that Christ intended that this sacrifice be perpetuated in a ritual manner until He returned. This is why, as Abp. Fulton Sheen says, He would not leave it to errant man to devise the ritual but rather He would enact it Himself and command that it be done this way. That the sacrifice would be perpetual, that redemption would be an enduring event, is the principal theme of the Letter to the Hebrews, that Christ's priesthood remains forever since He is living forever to intercede for all who come to God through Him.
Natural creation, even after the instant of creation itself, lasts and perdures as an event which continues, rolling through time, ever new and ever ongoing. How much more then supernatural creation, the reality of Christ's redemption made ever new, re-presented to all of humanity, rolling through time but always referencing back to the moment.
The Sacrifice of the Altar and the Sacrifice of Golgotha are so intimately related that here and now in time and space the Divine Will is that we have access to the moment of supreme love and that time and space can be transcended as we find ourselves at the foot of the Cross. As is often the case, an analogy may prove helpful although always insufficient.
The water that we are floating on right here and now is the same water from which Caesar launched his navy 2,000 years ago, that Moses led the Israelites through on the way to the Promised Land and that Our Blessed Lord was baptized in by St. John. Time and space are no barriers for the God who created them, and He does not allow them to be barriers for us who wish to stand on Calvary with Him in His agony and participate in the moment of redemption.
Yes, you can hold the ocean in your hand.