Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A quote to make us think...

Eucharist, Mass and Communion all have their place, but I want to start a campaign to revive an older name for Eucharist: the Viaticum. Viaticum was a Roman term; it designated the food, clothes and money that a Roman magistrate took with him when he traveled on state business. It was the necessaries he needed to get him though his trip. In the early church, Christians called the host you gave to one who was on the verge of death the Viaticum. Like the money and food that outfitted the Roman envoy for his journey, the host was the provision dying Christians neded as they stepped out on their journey from this world to the sweet hereafter.
Somtimes, early Christians used Viaticum to designate not ust the deathbed Eucharist, but any Eucharist. The Eucharist, the Viaticum, was the necessaries for our journey through this life. It was, in the words of one minister, "the sacrement of maintainence". It is like what the angel said to the exhausted and broken prophet Elijah, collapsed in a sleep under a broom tree. The angel waked him and said, "Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you."
And that is the Eucharist. If I did not eat, the journey would be too great"

Lauren Winner, Girl Meets God, 2002

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