Celebration of the Eucharist

In an article on the Eucharist written many years ago by Henri Nouwen, he spoke of “four hidden treasures” in our lives. He came to this conclusion after years of study and reflection on the life of Jesus Christ, especially the scriptural accounts on the Eucharist – the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the Last Supper, the breaking of bread with the disciples at Emmaus and the early Christian community’s gatherings for the breaking of the breaCotE_1d.

“In each of these accounts”, he said, “I keep reading four words, four events and I have come to think of them as four hidden treasures we all have. They are: he took, he blessed, he broke, he gave. Every time Jesus took, blessed, broke and gave, something happened and those with him recognized him.

These four words and four actions continue to be celebrated in our Church today every time we gather for Eucharist and like the early disciples, whenever we eat and drink together, our eyes are opened, something happens and we recognize the Lord.

The paradox of the Eucharist, and indeed the whole of the Paschal Mystery, is that in remembering and celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, our own lives and the life of the world are swept up into him. As St Augustine says, we “become what we eat”. In this way, we too are called to take, bless, break and give…. to make something happen, to bring light, love, justice and peace to those with whom we live and to our world.

The hidden treasures to which Henri Nouwen refers are not solely the four words and actions of Jesus which we know so well, but also their embodiment and transformation in our own lives and living. Henri concludes, “Christ was called, blessed, broken and given. By responding as he did, he made these four words, these four events, treasures for us, and, if we respond to them as he did, they need no longer be hidden treasures.”

“He took, he blessed, he broke, he gave.”

Here at the Abbey in Jamberoo, we break the bread of the Word and the Eucharist each day and endeavour to uncover these hidden treasures Jesus has lavished upon us. All are welcome to join us for this “happening”, this Eucharist, which nourishes us, heals us and opens our eyes to recognize him in the Body of Christ which encompasses all humanity.
Note:  Unfortunately, the source of the texts by Henri Nowen is unknown. The title of the article is Hidden Treasures in our Lives and was published in an American magazine in 1990.