7 August 2022

The Eucharist as a societal paradigm (2)

Dom Gregory Dix continues: " But the eucharist is not a mere symbolic mystery representing the right ordering of earthly life, though it is that incidentally and as a consequence. It is the representative act of a fully redeemed human life. This perfected society is not an end in itself, but is consciously and wholly directed to the only end which can give meaning and dignity to human life - the eternal God and the loving and conscious obedience of man in time to His known will. There the eternal and absolute value of each individual is affirmed by setting him in the most direct of all earthly relations with the eternal and absolute Being of God; though it is thus affirmed and established only through his membership of the perfect society. There the only means to that end is proclaimed and accepted and employed - man's redemption through the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ at a particular time and place in human history, communicated to us at other times and places through the church which is the 'fulfilment' of Him. That is the eucharist. Over against the dissatisfied 'Acquisitive Man' and his no less avid successor the dehumanised 'Mass-Man' of our economically focussed societies insecurely organised for time, christianity sets the type of 'Eucharistic Man' - man giving thanks with the product of his labours upon the gifts of God, and daily rejoicing with his fellows in the worshipping society which is grounded in eternity. This is man to whom it was promised on the night before Calvary that he should henceforth eat and drink at the table of God and be a king. That is not only a more joyful and more humane ideal. It is the divine and only authentic conception of the the meaning of all human life, and its realisation is in the eucharist."

1 comment:

  1. The idea that the 'Body of Christ' was the society of believers, and that the Eucharist was a symbol of that (conflating the Institution of the Eucharist with John 15:5) was heavily and widely propagandized in Catholic RE and in general among da yoof in the 1960s, around the time VII was ending. It all sounded very warm and cuddly, but even as a boy with the pan-socialistic instincts of youth, I knew it was not right, without being able to put the why into words.
    Later, I remember my puzzlement in the 1990s when an elderly Benedictine propagated this 'theory' with a prefaced 'of course'. I thought, 'Good heavens, this is no better than weak protestantism: it's all been much worse than I had imagined.'