One Bread, One Body…

“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:17)

One bread, one body. In the wax and wane of life it is easy to let some of the simpler and more beautiful truths of the faith go un-pondered. The feast days of the Church give us an opportunity to pause and reflect. On the feast of Corpus Christi we have a chance to reflect on what it means to be members of the Body of Christ, to imitate the Trinity in unity and peace.

There is a beautiful story in the book Saint Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources in which an abbot who was speaking to St. Francis humbly asked the saint to pray for him. St. Francis assured him that he would and as soon as the abbot got on his way, St. Francis immediately fulfilled his promise as was his habit when he was asked for prayers. The story continues:

“Therefore while the saint was praying to God, the abbot suddenly felt in his soul an unusual warmth and sweetness, such as he had never experienced before in his soul, so much so that he seemed to be completely carried out of himself in ecstasy. He paused for a moment and when he came to himself, he recognized the power of St. Francis’ prayer. Thereafter he always burned with a greater love for the order and related the happening to many as a miracle. It is becoming that servants of God bestow upon one another little gifts like this; and it is fitting that there be a partnership between them in the matter of giving and receiving.” (Celano, Second Life, #101)

This story of St. Francis gives us a practical example on what it means to work for unity and peace. To give one another little gifts of loving prayer—that is working for peace. We can see how the prayers of one humble man made such a difference in the life of another. I love that last line given to us by Brother Thomas of Celano—it speaks so clearly about the value of community, and the obligation holy love places on us to give one another priceless gifts of prayer, to live in a partnership of giving and receiving. That is how we should think of it when we offer prayers for one another, that these are little gifts we place in each other’s heavenly basket. The Rule St. Francis has left us is a blueprint to unity in community. 

This giving and receiving is signified in the Sacrament we celebrate on the holy feast of Corpus Christi. Christ gives himself to us; we receive him with joy and thanksgiving. But it does not end there. True gratitude impels us to enter into the thanks-giving of Christ. We give thanks and in turn we give with thanks. The members of the Body imitate their Head in tending to the spiritual and temporal needs of the other members. This is unity in love, and it is a foretaste of the glory of heaven.

The unity of heaven alone can sustain all things. The more we seek and yearn for unity, the more peace will flow into the world, for we are bringing heaven—perfect unity—to earth. Miracles abound where heaven dwells. Love in unity is the only true remedy to a fractured world; until there is unity in the Body of Christ, there can never be peace on earth.

Then, let us follow the example of St. Francis and pray with renewed fervor for one another, for the Church, and for the whole world. Let us pray for peace and work for unity. One will not be achieved without the other.

From my other blog:

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Little child, this is a great truth. There is not one of you who stands alone, but each of you, by virtue of your membership in the Body, is connected—in communion—with each other. This is especially true within the church, but also applies to the human family as a whole, since all have their origin in me. Therefore, when one sins, not only does he sin against God and other, but also against self, for other is part of self. This connection has its origins in the creator. Unhappy is the one who puts self above God and other. He spits upon his own joy. Beloved child, pray for unity in the great and wondrous family of God.”

Lord, grant all your children the grace to live for God and other, putting self last. Lord, open hearts to your gracious love. Blessed Mother, pray for us. Amen.


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