Bread Broken and Shared
How Do We Know the Father?
The Priestly Prayer of Jesus (Jn 17:1-26) is directed to God the Father. In the first section of this prayer Jesus prays that he may have the glory which he shared with the Father before the world began. He prays that the disciples may have this glory and indeed that we might have it, because we came to believe that Jesus was sent by the Father that we might be consecrated, made holy, like the Father, Son and Spirit.
In the second part of the prayer (Jn 17:20-26) Jesus prays for the unity of his disciples and all Christians, that they may believe and be one as the Father and Son/Jesus are one. “May they be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me; that you love them as you loved me. That the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Knowing the Father
The Priestly Prayer of Jesus makes it clear that we are to be consecrated by God’s grace and self- revelation. God wants our love; indeed, the Father loves us infinitely. We really know something or someone through love. A child knows a mother through her love and through the child’s love for the mother.
Through God’s love and revelation, we receive and experience the love of the Father. It will take a lifetime and eternity to fathom who God is and how much he loves us. As God’s children, we know and love God in our neighbor. Faith and love are given to us through the church, sacraments, and especially through the Eucharist.
At the heart of St. Eymard’s spirituality, is the Eucharist. It is Jesus, God with us. He comes to us in communion so that we may know and love the Father. It is a matter of experience, a matter of knowing through faith, and loving through communion.
There is a mystical dimension to our encounter with Jesus. Faith and charity open our minds and hearts to the grace and glory of God. As we share the bread of life, we grow in our likeness to Jesus and the Father.
We know the Father through contemplation of his glory and grace, through his revelation of himself in the magnificence of the universe and the beauty of creation and nature. We know him through the history of salvation especially as we hear it proclaimed in the history of God’s love for the people of God. We know it through the love of God revealed in the gift of our savior, Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on Calvary, and remembered and celebrated in the eucharistic liturgy. We know the Father as we come to the table of the Lord in his word, and bread broken and cup poured out for our forgiveness. We know it in the Father’s love and our love for the Father, Son and Spirit.