Message from Mr Barry and Mrs Berwick
Good morning, the attached document is a piece of work and a prayer that uses the teachings of one of our Saints, St Thomas Aquinas. It focuses on being able to receive and be in spiritual communion with God despite not attending mass. Whilst we are not together as a school community, this will be useful over the coming weeks.
Please read and share this with your family and friends and we hope that the Catholic life of our school continues to be at the centre of all we do as we move forward.
Mr Barry and Mrs Berwick
St. Thomas Aquinas is famous for his writing on the Eucharist.
There is much to think and ponder about the Eucharist, but let’s focus on just one element of Thomas’s teaching, the Eucharist as spiritual food.
In John 6, Jesus stuns His followers by saying: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The disciples begin to question. Jesus says even more shockingly:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
According to St. Thomas, Jesus explains that His words are to be taken according to a spiritual meaning, rather than a material meaning. “Our Lord said that he would give himself to them as spiritual food, not as though the true flesh of Christ is not present in this sacrament of the altar, but because it is eaten in a certain spiritual and divine way”
What is the difference between spiritual food and material food? Material food restores the strength and vitality of the body by changing into the one who eats it, whereas spiritual food nourishes by changing the person who eats it into Christ himself. When we eat Christ, it is rather we who are changed by what we receive: It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. To be clear: St. Thomas is not calling into question the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Spiritual eating is nothing other than being united to Christ by faith and charity. This is the proper effect of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Our own spiritual eating in the sacrament of the altar is ordered toward the more perfect spiritual eating that the angels enjoy. The Eucharist is a called the “bread of angels” because it is a foretaste of heavenly fellowship and spiritual eating that the angels enjoy and we look forward to in the life to come.
Near the end of St. Thomas’s life, he was seen praying in the chapel at the Dominican Friary in Naples. Those around him saw him lifted into the air, and heard a voice coming from the crucifix saying, “Thou has written well of me, Thomas, what reward will thou have?” He replied, “Nothing but you Lord.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.