I've been trying to decide what to write about for about the past month and a half since I've been here at camp, and every time i think about it the same thing pops into my head. I remember someone explaining once, probably in one or another of my theology classes, the fraction rite at mass, and telling us to look out for the moment that it happens. I realized before I learned about this specific part of the mass that I had honestly never noticed it before. It takes place right after the sign of peace, and most of the time I'm too busy peace-ing the people around me to notice. But, if you become aware of it and what it means, its a pretty awesome moment of the mass, and I'm beginning to realize just how much this small gesture means in my life right now. After the sign of peace, the priest breaks off a small piece of the body and puts it into the main chalice. I'm no theological scholar, but as far as i know there are a few things that the fraction rite signifies. When masses were celebrated in the early church, a small piece of the body of Jesus was taken from the Church where the Bishop of a region was saying mass to each of the other churches in the region. This was to signify, and literally act as the link between all of the masses in the area- they are one mass, the same celebration. My friend Claire and I have had a conversation (that I am positive I've written about before) over and over about how we are all united in the Eucharist. Catholics know that this is true, but it's one thing to know it and another thing altogether to truly believe it in your heart. I was excited, but skeptical to move out to camp and be apart from my family, my boyfriend, and know that all of my friends from school and home were moving on to new states, new jobs and new lives far from mine. Graduating college was like being separated from my own family, and in many ways moving out here was putting even more of a separation between myself and the people that i hadn't seen on a regular basis for four years while at Benedictine. But, as my boyfriend routinely reminds me, we are together in the Eucharist. Not in a symbolic way, but in a very real way. No matter when we go to mass, or where we go to mass, we are attending the same mass. The mass is same all around the world, and the same Christ is present, connecting them all. And the mass never ends. It is forever going on in heaven, and when we attend mass we are participating in that heavenly celebration. Being a human being means that I find my comfort and my peace in the physical presence of the people that I love. When i am separated from the people that I love, i miss them, i wish that i could be with them in person. There is only so much talking on the phone, and sending letters that i can do- even though i love the availability of this kind of communication-before I wish I could just sit across from someone and look at them in the eye. There is only so much talking on the phone that I can take before I just want a hug. I'm human-its natural. But this fact doesn't make the unifying reality of the mass any less real. No man is an island- we are all just a fraction of one body, in Christ. Because He is so merciful and loving, He has united us all in his own body. We are never far from one another, although we may seem to be. When we pray for one another, God hears and provides comfort. God is powerful within our relationships with the people that we love, and within our relationship with His church when we go to mass and receive Him. What a blessing.
Some other blessings that I am receiving in my life right now are the friendship and fellowship of a family who has taken me in (literally and figuratively), the joy of simple service, and the comfort of a God who loves me. I am also greatly blessed by phone calls, letters, good weather, coffee, very silly three, five, and six year old kids, food in my belly, clothes on my back, things to look forward to and all of the people that I am united with in the Eucharist.