Christians, especially Anglican Christians, know that the sacred has met the material of God’s creation most perfectly in the incarnation of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. As the Letter to the Philippians reminds us, “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:6-7) Eucharistic Adoration is a gateway into our Lord’s sacrificial love that should be more familiar to all sectors of the Church. To adore our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood is an act of faith which cultivates a desire to be His body in the World. By engaging in devotions that school our hearts and minds in the paradox inherent in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood we encounter a mystery which evades the power of words. To bring human speech into the presence of mystery always falls short of our aspirations, sometimes leading to confusion and division in the Church and the world. The first great division in the life of the Church came when attempts were made to explain how Jesus is both God and man. Classical struggles to engage the mystery of the incarnation were never fully adequate to express the reality of God in the person of Jesus, born fully human of the Virgin Mary. (History of Eastern Christianity, Aziz S. Atiya, 1968, p. xii) Ultimately the means chosen by God to manifest the love drawing all of creation into communion with God’s-self, whether through the example of Incarnation or the sustenance of the Eucharistic presence, reveals itself more fully in contemplation and resists reduction into the confines of “human knowledge.”

 

The definition of Chalcedon has never been considered a solution to the Christological problem to the extent that it is meant to answer how the two natures, God and humanity, are united in the person of Jesus. Neither does the doctrine of the Real Presence, properly understood, attempt to define how our Lord is present in the bread and the wine. Both are mysteries that ultimately defy conceptualization. It is important to remember that the true function of dogma “is not to prescribe what must be believed, but to define the conditions which must be observed when faith seeks to understand itself.” ( A Dictionary of Christian Theology, Alan Richardson, ed. 1976, p. 58)  Therefore, Eucharistic Adoration can enable us to hold in tension Christian doctrinal tradition with Jesus’ tradition of love:  that is, reconcile our need for stability with God’s desire to transfigure creation; so that we can be a powerhouse of light and life to floundering souls – including at times our own.                                   WWIII