Listening to the Eucharist

Meditation of French Monk, Father Daniel Ange

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ROME, MARCH 23, 2005 ( Here are selected passages of the meditation of a French monk, Father Daniel Ange, offered last Thursday to young people in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, in preparation for forthcoming World Youth Day (WYD). Father Ange is founder of the school of prayer Jeunesse Lumière.

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How can we speak of the Eucharist without trembling? Our words can so deform what is the greatest mystery of all God’s mysteries. We are like Moses before the burning bush, and we would like to prostrate ourselves on the ground. The fire of the Spirit, the fire of Love burns in the Host, and it seems to us only bread, and we do not see it reduced to ashes!

When I receive this Body in which loves burns, it is a miracle that my flesh does not catch on fire! I would like to show you how the Eucharist continues among and for us the three mysteries of the coming of Jesus into the world, of his passion and of the resurrection. …

And now we immerse ourselves in silence. Why silence? Because it is the most beautiful song of adoration.

The Eucharist is Christmas: At Bethlehem, everything was enveloped in silence. Besides the heavenly music of the angels, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Wise Men did not say a single word. Their wonder was so great before the beauty of the Child, that they couldn’t say anything! And he spoke only with his smile and his eyes. The light of heaven shone in his eyes, and light is silent.

The Eucharist is Jesus’ passion. And during the passion, Jesus is silent. Only a few words, above all the seven words on the cross: the last, his testament. But stronger than all the words, a sign, a signature at the end of all the others, at the end of the Gospel: a silent word, a gesture: his heart pierced by the spear: an immense, silent cry.

Mary and Joseph do not speak: silent witnesses, gripped by the mystery …

And our Holy Father has become a cry of silence, immense, who cries out before the world, as Francis: «Love is unloved!» And like little Thérèse: «To love is to make Love loved.» To love so much that all may love Love, and let themselves be loved.

The Eucharist is the resurrection. On Easter day, Jesus invites us to contemplate him in silence: Mary Magdalen, the disciples of Emmaus, Thomas … from their astonished silence a few words gush forth, cry of joy: Beloved Master! Stay with us! — My Lord and my God!

So, behind Francis, we also cry out this evening: «My God and my all!» And Jesus now, in heaven, walks again with us and speaks to us. How? Above all, with the Eucharist. And the Eucharist is the mystery of silence. Jesus waits for us. He listens to us. He loves us. Is silence not the strongest language of Love? The language of a heart that is too full and, at the same time, too wounded. …

The silence of adoration is a silence that loves and listens. It listens because it loves. Certainly, he must be acclaimed, praised, sung, as young people did on the morning of palms in Jerusalem — the first WYD!

Jesus was so happy that he challenged them: If they kept quiet, the stones would cry out. But after having sung at the top of our voices, and before receiving his blessing, we must open our ear, and listen to the silence; perhaps he has something to say to us.

Let us give him the microphone. He does not ask for it, because the Lord is timid. … His discreet voice never imposes itself beyond our decibel. He whispers, and I do not hear him … his voice is more gentle than a light midnight breeze, than a mountain stream. … Let us stay here. Let us listen.

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