As I was reading Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007) today I was struck by several comments made in regard to “remembering” (specifically in reference to John’s Gospel account) and how they might relate to the “remembering” of the Lord’s Supper. In light of the “remembering” concerning Christ that occurs after the resurrection of our Lord (and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit), there is something profound that occurs at the table of the Lord.
The Resurrection teaches us a new way of seeing…it makes it possible to enter into the interiority of the events into the intrinsic coherence of God’s speaking and acting (pg.232).
The “remembering” is not simply an intellectual assent to bare facts (like remembering some event that occured in the past), but a “remembering” that is vivified by the Holy Spirit; it gives life to those who “remember” and death to those who partake of it in an “unworthy manner” and thereby are disdaining the body and blood of Christ (see 1 Cor.11:27-30). It is a “remembering” that incorporates us into the hidden life of Christ; incorporates us into the very real life of the Trinity. It is a “remembering” that changes everything…it is both of thought, word and action. It is a “remembering” that bridges the gap of 2000 years and participates in the ever present life of the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus who is now seated at the right hand of the Father where we are already present with Him (Eph.2:6) and where He is already present with us by His indwelling and empowering Spirit (Matt.28:20).
This remembering is an understanding under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; by remembering, the believer enters into the depth of the event and sees what could not be seen on an immediate and merely superficial level….This remembering is no mere psychological or intellectual process; it is a pneumatic event [i.e., an event imbued with the Pneuma, or the Holy Spirit]. The Church’s remembering is not merely a private affair; it transcends the sphere of our own human understanding and knowing. It is a being-led by the Holy Spirit, who shows us the connectedness of Scripture, the connection between word and reality, and, in doing that, leads us “into all truth” (pgs.233-234).
I certainly reject transubstantiation concerning Communion, but affirm a real presence of Christ by the Holy Spirit that does not actually involve a changing of the elements of the bread and cup. Christ is truly present in the “remembering” that is empowered by the Holy Spirit…the “remembering” that proclaims Christ Jesus death until he comes again (1 Cor.11:26). May we “remember” until that glorious Day!