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