May we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives with each new day!
“Like the Dewfall” A Series of Reflections on the Image of Eucharistic Prayer 2
THE DEWFALL: PART TWO
In the Roman Missal Eucharistic Prayer 2, the priest prays, “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As I started saying in Part One of THE DEWFALL, I recognize now that the Holy Spirit is He Who is like the dewfall, for He Comes and Showers a Blessing on the Faithful, by indeed bringing us Jesus in the Eucharist, as the New Manna (and Our Forgiveness in the Blood). Let me continue those thoughts. It has all been brought to mind by the inclusion of a new image in our Eucharist Prayer 2 in the latest Roman Missal of the Church.
Psalm 133 is one of the short but more beautiful of the psalms. It has a priestly image to share and then a dew image to share. They are blended on purpose. Psalm 133 is also about God’s people being one in this image; they have come together in God. Let’s look at three lines…
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron’s* beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended on the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for ever more.
Do you note the Psalm author’s delight? They had always wanted Israel to become one. They wanted unity by a communal prayer of God’s people gathering in holiness, as God meets each person, and the whole collection of people, as people open to His Ways.
The priest Aaron (Moses’ brother), who is God’s beginning of priests for the Exodus, is mentioned as in covered in the oil of anointing, for special work for the Lord.
The dew of Hermon is mentioned as the high lofty sign of God bringing down from the holy mount His refreshment (Hermon is Israel’s highest point and a sacred place). What happens in result? People come into unity.
Isn’t this exactly the point of Catholic Mass? We have in Mass: √Encounter with God. √God’s delight. √The priests in delight in service. √Blessings coming from above, as fresh and good as clear mountain dew streams, as all God provides is pure. √ Unity as the Promise and Hope from the Eucharist.
I was at an ordination Mass yesterday for the Archdiocese of Washington, and guess what was in the program? It was the mention of Psalm 133, and priests, and dews, and the hope of unity in Communion with Christ!
Hmm! What an interesting God-incidence! I have been writing of this image in this blog.
I was also looking at the main chalice on the altar, and the main paten-plate there, and I remembered a verse in Scripture of 1st Corinthians 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of the Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of the Christ?
Yet, as Paul puts out this question to Corinth’s people two millennia ago, I think it could be asked of people today: Do you recognize the Presence of Christ to you in this Sign to the world in the Church? Or is it missed like the dew can be missed in the morning, or just walked (or driven) past? Is Christ being missed in the city, since it is so built up, in concrete and steel and glass and brick, distracting away from nature’s daily wake up call?
Dewfall comes among us rather in mystery. It’s just some small wonder of nature, almost taken for granted everyday. I have not really understood how dewfall works, but through the years I have come to expect it on the morning grass. So, when I take a walk across the dawn lawn, I look back and expect to see a trail of soppy steps being left behind me.
It is good to get out on a morning like today and just walk a bit at sunrise. You can catch on that God has been working while we have slept inside in our beds. He has the world ready for a new day.
God works through His Creation all around us, and He gives big hints of what His Own Existence is like, by these signs (like dew). God likes to just show up as He wants, in the dewfall, in the mist that produces a fresh air, and in the rainbow in the clouds between the showers and the sun. He just lays these kinds of signs of His Presence before us. They are not controllable by man, except sometimes to spoil or partly prevent their occurrence (like concreting over a meadow, as the song line goes “they paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”), but humankind likes these signs and regrets any interference on our part to them.
Dewfall is cool. Even a big soft drink company has tried to capitalize (make much money) on the refreshing image, saying “Do the Dew.”
God has His own appeal. ‘Be where the Dew comes in Sacrament to give new life and fresh blessings to you. Go to Catholic Mass.’ –GodOr to priests: “Do the Dew. Call on My Spirit at Mass today.”–God
The Spirit is like the Dewfall Who come to bring a wonder to the Mass.
There are natural wonders of the Lord that our natural senses can appreciate. Still, there are spiritual wonders also to be enjoyed, and to be received by our senses, but in tandem with our spiritual capabilities. Here’s where the Spirit comes like a dewfall to us at Mass. God comes in nature, but also in super-nature (or the miraculous, in soul-full sign). A Sacrament offers this. It’s a sign noticed by senses (bread and wine) which also is meant to be received and appreciated in the spiritual life of man (in our prayers together at Mass as God’s covenant people). It’s not mere bread and wine after the Spirit comes to the altar at the “epiclesis”
The Church works in this realm. As Christ Jesus has taught us, and so instituted among us, we learn that we can accommodate God’s beauty and simple wonders to us in special encounters.
For instance, in a worldly example, first, I can explain. A land developer can take a property and fashion it into a nice park with ponds and flowering trees and bushes and wide lush lawns. Next thing you know—you have a place to appreciate the dewfall and grass and fields and flowers and water—where there might not have been such a beautiful and simple place like that there before.
What about developing a time and place where we experience God in beauty and friendship and refreshment? For a spiritual wonder.
The Spirit comes to our house of worship to take a space and make it into an encounter area with the Living God. He is a dewfall that brings the Risen Christ’ Gifts; His is an anointing that has us refreshed in our baptismal life; and His is spread nourishment to the Church from Christ to feed up our soul’s being or even adorn it within, like as with flowers and fragrance and color and wonder on a mountain-meadow field.
Jesus gave His apostles (and their consecrated or ordained chosen priests to follow) the authority or God’s permission to call down the Spirit for a Eucharistic Miracle, and a Last Supper kind of encounter. The priests say “Come” to the Spirit. The priests use the consecration formula Jesus asked to be followed (remember Him saying “Do This…?”) and the Dewfall actually comes and happens at the altar. Or, like the Dewfall, the Spirit happens to make the gifts changed to be the holy Body and Blood of Jesus to us.
God allows a spiritual blessing to come to us—arriving so much in Mystery and subtle power—that it is like how He works in nature, but this is a Spiritual favor for His faithful followers. It is more than dew. It is Jesus as Bread and Wine to nourish us. It is Sacrament (we are meant to become holy or sacred in this way).
The ancient word for Sacrament is Mysterion. It means a secret experience. That is, with Faith we can experience God’s signs, and they no longer then are a secret, but now a window of God’s immanence and salvation in Sacrament.
We have understood for all the ages in Church history that this experience of liturgy with God is very special. Jesus did it Himself as the Last Supper. He also taught that “This is the Bread (Me)…I Am the Living Bread which comes down from Heaven: if any one eat of this bread, they shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is My Flesh…for the life of the world. Except that one eats of the flesh of the Son, and partake of the Blood, they have no life within them… whosoever does eat my flesh and partake of my blood, has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day (John 6:50-51, 53-54).”
So Jesus is saying that we need to participate and partake of the Gift of Himself in Sacrament, The Eucharist, for us to live the new life of a Christian. This IS what the Catholic Faith affords people. One must come and receive Him. “Seek and you shall find” as Jesus puts His offer in one line.
God is come to His people. He arrives at Mass, in the Body and Blood, first by the arrival of the Spirit Whom has been beckoned, as He taught us to ask for this grace. The priest prays a prayer, speaking on behalf of all, and acting as Persona Christi (or God’s delegate for the encounter): Make holy…these gifts we pray…by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.