Saturday, October 14, 2006

Augustine on One Bread, One Body

No, not the song, although Augustine was quite fond of song as a form of prayer (think of his quote, "Qui cantat, bis orat" or "to sing once is to pray twice"). This is another extract from Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians, a book I can happily say would be worth twice its price. If you don't have it, get it - heck, buy two and give one to someone you love. But I digress.

I was caught by Augustine's artistic representation of bread and the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church. It's sad to think our use of language in this present day has dropped so low that we find very few who would be likely to image things in such a way (Sermon 272):

Why then in bread? Let's say nothing on our own here, but listen instead to what the apostle says when he speaks of the sacrament: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor 10:17).

Ponder and rejoice! Unity, truth, piety, charity - one bread! And what is this one bread? "We who are many are one body!" Remember that bread is not made from a single grain of wheat, but from many. When you were exorcised, it was like a grinding. When you were baptized, it was like being mixed into dough. When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, it was like being baked. So be what you can see, and become what you are.