Loss, gain and loss

Just as it was two thousand years ago, the promise in what follows is still a very ‘hard saying’. It is not clear from the account of its original utterance how many walked away, unable to take it on board. Today, among those who have actually heard it, the numbers are, well, considerably greater. And yet, as the author of the book from which the passage comes intimates, the loss incurred in that retreat from reality is enormous.

The gravest danger for the human person and for civilisation is to lose touch with reality. The twentieth century saw what happens when pure fantasy replaces the realism of the good: two world wars, totalitarianism, political breakdown, social chaos, moral disintegration, exploitation of the helpless, disregard for human life at its beginning and its end. In sum it was the century of mass genocide, physical and spiritual, the beginning of civilization’s descent into suicide. Reality is lost sight of when we lose touch with God because God is man’s foundational and ultimate reality. The twentieth century lost sight of God.

The Eucharist and the sacraments put us in touch again with him who touches us through them, re-forming our minds and hearts, bringing them back to reality. Given this, the Church is no optional extra for the pious and reverent, not a footnote to social history, some inconsequential aside non-essential to the text. Rather it can be said that without the Church and sacraments, primarily the Eucharist, the world would cease to exist. For they embody the mercy of God which alone sustains the creation in Christ ‘through whom and for whom all things were made and in whom all things hold together.

From: Maelstrom of Love by Oliver Treanor.

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