Mystical Body of Christ

I was at mass the other day and raising my voice in song.

I can’t sing worth a darn but for some reason when I am at mass I do it with abandon, much to the dismay of kids!  (Yes, I am that mom…)

This particular mass, I got lucky because there was a beautifully gifted voice in my vicinity.  And whenever I join in song with others who really sing beautifully, I sound SO MUCH better (in my own mind).

I figure God gave me my voice so he’s stuck listening to it!  It’s just not my gift and that’s ok.  Thankfully it is the gift of other’s and when we come together at mass as the body of Christ – worshipping together – we raise one voice.  We are many parts but one body.

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts, and though all it’s parts are many they form one body. So it is with Christ” 1 Cor. 12:12 

We join with one another to Praise Him and give Him honor and to glorify His name and most importantly to physically receive him.  We are united, in Him and by Him, so that we might appear before the throne as the bride before the bridegroom.

My little individual (and painful to listen to) voice is just that – one little individual voice.  It’s a grain of sand on a beach.  But every week at mass I join together with every other grain of sand on every beach around the world and we are mystically united and formed into one great big beach, one voice, one mystical body of Christ.

And it is mystical because it is beyond our human capabilities of reason. It is a mystery and an element of our Faith that we take on Faith because there is power and unity as a result.

It is by this unity that we are given a glimpse into the Kingdom.  A mere glimpse, of the harmony and the perfection that awaits, when we are perfectly united as one in God’s will.

We were never created to stand-alone but rather to partake in the cross together in this life so that we might partake in the banquet together in the next life.

3rd quarter of 16th century

3rd quarter of 16th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Catholics, we do that in a very real way, every single day, through consecrations on altars all over the world.  Mystically, Jesus becomes physically present in the Eucharist and becomes food for the body and the parts of the body are united by the true food we all consume. The sacrifice of the Lamb happened once in time but it happens again and again by the power of the Holy Spirit, outside the bounds of time, for all men everywhere.  Jesus’s death opened the gates of Heaven for all people and He invites all people to partake.

God has created and gifted us all in ways necessary for the building of the Kingdom and the preparation for the banquet.  Our individual gifts will combine with all the other gifts of the body of Christ to form one perfect and unified Bride.  Through Christ we will be cleansed and without blemish for our perfect unity to Him for all Eternity.

“… Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

 My voice is not my gift.  Lots of things are not my gift, but lots of things are!  I am gifted.  We all are gifted.  Each and every one of us is created and endowed with the necessary gifts to be part of the body of Christ.  Furthermore, each of us is endowed with the gifts and the grace to become saints. This is our calling and our purpose.

Today, more than ever perhaps, the Church needs saints.  The Church needs every single member of the body to do their part for the kingdom.  Just as all the cells in a physical body perform their minute functions for the maintenance and building up of the whole, so too must we, as tiny little voices, join the choir.  We must play our part, fulfill the role God gave us, and sometimes this means stepping outside of our comfort zone.  Sometimes this means having the courage and the strength to move with the Spirit, go where we are lead, without counting the cost and with the assurance that “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”.  Sometimes this means the drudgery of everyday chores that are part and parcel of living out our vocations but don’t feel very significant.  Even a microscopic sized cell performs an important function.  Sometimes this means risking ridicule and secular judgments and remembering the fact that “the world hated Christ first”.

In order to be an active component of the whole body, we must desire what God desires and work for the building up of the whole body.

Encourage one another, that as a part of the whole, as members of the mystical body of Christ, we are humble yet proud to be called Christian, for only in unity with one another and Christ, are we truly Christians.

And next time you are at mass and hear that slightly off-key voice, sing a little louder would you please?