June 10th saw our last Friday class. Following Neil’s ordination, teaching will be part of our Sunday afternoons, after mass.

I was struck by the fact that everything seemed to tie into the study I have done recently. Had someone sat down to write a session to answer my questions and take me on to the next stage, it would have looked like this.

The class was on eucharistic living. Fr Raglan had chosen to use excerpts from the DVD about the new translation. The section used was on the Dismissal. This is an important part of the mass as it is about taking our faith out to the world.

A repeated phrase was “we pray what we believe and that shapes our lives.” There is a vibrancy to what we do in mass, which can flood into all aspects of who we are, what we do and spills over into every encounter we have. Another theme was the unity of the world. There is no distinction between what goes on in church and the world “out there.” Our faith is as much about responding to joy and sorrow in the world as it is about liturgy.

After the presentation we split into two groups. When we gathered to share what was discussed, it was interesting how two conversations seemed to form a whole.

The group I was in discussed Eucharistic living and mission. Sr Anna talked about living out our mission in the ordinary things of life. As an example she reminded us of when, after the Annunciation, Mary travels to be with Elizabeth and does all the practical things that an expectant mother needs someone to do for her. She and Sr Bernadine also talked about how their community has become aware of how caring for the Earth is part of their particular calling. I was reminded of Schmemann’s assertion that all life was intended to be Eucharistic. Mary caring for her cousin was an act of thanksgiving.

One of our group reflected on the essential nature of mission. Her own experience of life before she found faith meant that she had to reach out to those who hadn’t experienced God. This made me think about my question “What does it mean to live Eucharistic lives?” What would it be like if we truly lived as if we were aware of Creation as a sacred gift? What if each person we met, we gave thanks for and treated as someone unique, given by God. The group then talked about how to enable someone to become who they are meant to be. Does treating someone as if they are a gift from God help them to become who God intended them to be?

The other group had talked around several questions: How do we bridge the gap between church culture and a culture in which faith is increasingly alien? How do we provide a place where the environmental crisis can be tackled and where people can find wholeness and healing? They talked about establishing something that helps answer these needs. An important factor in this is stability. Our community needs to be a stable one where there is a core of people committed to living out our particular calling.

Sr Anna quoted Teilhard de Chardin: we “celebrate the mass on the altar of the world.” A stable community enables this to happen and as we establish the Ordinariate in this place, this eucharistic awareness needs to be an integral part of what we do. What we do at the mass, we need to live in our lives.