I had written some notes for this post a long time ago, in a rather scattershot fashion, though I vaguely remember having received some great insight to which these notes refer and marvelously fit. Not retaining the whole picture in my head any longer, I’ll just put out some of these thoughts for you to reflect upon, since they do point to some deep mysteries of our faith.
My first note reads thus: “Word became flesh, flesh became Bread, Bread becomes Word of life in Eucharist.” So the mystery of the Incarnation and our sacramental life, which leads to salvation, comes full circle. The Eternal Word became flesh and dwelled among us, so man could see the face of God and hear his voice, and so the Sacrifice could be offered to take away our sins. Having ascended to the Father, Jesus still honored the plea of the disciples at Emmaus: “Stay with us.” The Word did this by making his flesh Bread for us, to sustain us, to continue dwelling with us in the flesh, though “in another form” (Mk. 16:12), since his risen body is of a different character than his earthly one was. By receiving his flesh made Bread, we receive the Word of life: “Behold, I am with you always.” This Word, this Flesh, this Bread, is given for the life of the world. This is the order, the logic of the Incarnation, the Redemption, and our life in Christ until He comes again.
My next note is a sour one: “Devil tries to destroy natural order of things: make stone into bread.” Here we go back to Jesus’ temptation in the desert. Jesus came to turn his flesh into bread to satisfy our spiritual hunger and to create a way for us to abide in Him and He in us. The devil says, no, don’t do that; if you are the Son of God, turn stone into bread, and satisfy yourself. But Jesus rejected this as contrary to God’s will, God’s order and plan for creation and redemption. Jesus said we live not by ordinary bread but by the word of God, and later He would say that his food is to do the will of the One who sent Him. We are to live not solely by ordinary bread but by the Bread that is the Flesh of the Word, the Word who eternally comes forth from the Father.
The devil tries to destroy the natural order of things in human morality as well. Look what he has been up to, and what temptations the majority of our society has fallen for: abortion, artificial contraception, euthanasia, manipulation/destruction of embryonic humans, homosexual activity, etc. All of this is a perversion or disruption or destruction of God’s plan and order for human happiness and dignity. But not only that: those who practice those things are not merely “out of order”; their eternal salvation is in serious jeopardy. The devil is always giving us stones when we ask for bread, unlike our heavenly Father (see Mt. 7:9-11). The devil tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread, for he knew that Jesus could—but simply having the power doesn’t make it right. We now have the power and technology to manipulate the natural order—but that simple fact does not itself make it right.
My final note was this: “Mary formed Word made flesh, flesh made bread in her womb, Bread from Heaven came through Mary, Bread from Mary, she is Heaven, too. She is at the source of incarnation, Eucharist.” So this Flesh of the Word did not spontaneously materialize fully formed as man. The Word became flesh in Mary’s immaculate womb. As a good Mother, Mary was, as it were, preparing Bread for her children. She was preparing the Flesh of God, and Jesus said this Flesh would be Bread that He would feed us with to give us life: abiding divine life in our souls, and then eternal life in Heaven. Jesus is Bread from Heaven, coming from the Eternal Father. Jesus is Flesh from Mary, Bread from Mary, incarnate from the Blessed Mother. She is sometimes called the Gate of Heaven, and this is one more reason. The Bread from Heaven came through her to enter this world and give us life. In cooperation with the Holy Spirit, Mary continues to watch over us and care for us. Through the ministry of Mother Church we are fed with the word of God in the Scriptures and the flesh of God in the Holy Eucharist. Thus we have life, and have it abundantly.
So those are a few things you can reflect upon this week. See the beautiful work and plan of God, and be aware of how the devil tries to pervert and destroy it. Don’t sell yourself short; don’t accept stones masquerading as bread. There is one way to Heaven and that is God’s way. Don’t accept the lies being broadcast everywhere that urge us to take matters into our own hands, manipulating love, sex, and life itself for our own convenience or pleasure or economic interests. Rather, live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, live by the Word made flesh, the flesh made Bread, which is Christ with us always, Christ within us, our hope of glory.