by Sr. Karen Mohan, VHM
“Our faith tells us that the Eucharist is the ultimate Thanksgiving meal and the best preparation for being sent.”
For the past 25 years our monastery dining room table has been the setting for good food, stimulating conversation and amazing people who enrich and inspire us to “walk the talk” of our mission embodied in the motto of the Visitation Order, “Live Jesus“.
This Fremont table was a gift from previous owners, Lacious and Margaret Burgess who raised six children and fed many friends and neighbors long before we arrived in north Minneapolis. We learned from their pastor that no one was turned away at the Burgess’ home.
The Sisters recognize the sacredness of this table. We hope that those who have been fed at our table will “taste the blessing” received “where two or three gather “ in Christ’s name. Such blessings flow from the nourishment received at the “Table of Thanksgiving” which we call “The Eucharist”.
As part of our way of life as Visitation Sisters, we participate in the great prayer of the Mass daily.
“Feeding on the Body of Christ strengthens and unites us as we are sent forth to share Christ’s love…”
Many priests have made time in their schedule so that we can celebrate Mass regularly in our monastery. We are very grateful to them and to others who join us for this great prayer. On some days the congregation may be small; on other days we are “shoulder to shoulder” as we pray!
The word, “Mass“ means “to be sent”; Eucharist means “Thanksgiving”. Our faith tells us that the Eucharist is the ultimate Thanksgiving meal and the best preparation for being sent. We come as the family of God, to praise and thank God for the blessing of life and to intercede for the people and needs of the whole world. We ask for mercy. We listen to and share the Word of God in union with people across the globe “breaking open” the same Scriptures. We witness the Spirit alive and active among us as we share.
In the Eucharistic prayer the crucified and risen Lord gathers us all into unity. With confidence, then, we join our hands and pray as he taught us, share his peace with each other and partake of his very life in communion. Feeding on the Body of Christ strengthens and unites us as we are sent forth to share Christ’s love that day.
I am aware that the Mass holds the intimacy of Christ loving me as I hear his Word and unite my life with his offering to his Father. I am also aware that the Mass holds the expansiveness of Christ’s transforming presence in the community gathered at this “covenant meal”. As a deeply personal prayer and a communal prayer, the Eucharist prepares us to live the mandate of Matthew 25:
“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”
I like how C.S. Lewis once put it, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest object present to your senses.”
In this, our 25th anniversary year, I can imagine those who once came for Eucharist at our monastery but now celebrate the “full vision” of Christ’s presence in heaven joining us as we continue to acclaim at every Mass, HOLY HOLY HOLY…. HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE FULL OF GOD’S GLORY !