Sei sulla pagina 1di 11

Bread of Life, Justice of God: Eucharistic Structures and the Transformation to Christian Justice by David A. Stosur, Ph.D.

Academic Dean/Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies Saint Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA I recall being taught my first overt lesson in the relationship between liturgy and life, between Eucharist and justice, as a grade school child. "Pray as if everything depends on God," the teacher would say, "and act as if everything depends on you." The reader may be familiar with one or another version of this adage. Some truth surely lies therein, especially as an injunction to eight- or nine-year olds to pray with devotion and to act responsibly. But there is danger lurking in those words as well, particularly when read through the lens of a semi-Pelagian attitude (of which many Roman Catholics are frequently accused) and when heard with ears tuned to a thoroughly Pelagian culture. Under such conditions, the relationship between liturgy and justice is likely to be misinterpreted as one of disjunction rather than conjunction. The relationship between liturgy-in particular the Eucharist-and justice has been explored by various theologians and from a variety of perspectives, often with the explicit intention of understanding Eucharist as having to do essentially with justice. (1) The purpose of this article is to investigate how the structure of the Eucharistic celebration itself contributes to transforming those who participate into a community of persons whose nature it is to act justly, to act as the Body of the Christ who is their identity. In other words, we explore how participation in the Eucharist shapes us to live a proper interpretation of the grade school maxim, which must be nuanced and restated: "Pray in remembrance that everything depends on God's love, fully revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Just One; act out of this deep remembrance." Foundational Considerations The numerous dimensions to the question at hand require that certain assumptions be stated and that the scope of this investigation be defined. What is meant specifically by "Christian justice," and precisely to what "Eucharistic structures" are we referring? Also, how is it possible to speak of ritual structure as an agent of transformation into Christ? Each of these questions is worthy of far more extended treatment than space here allows. Let me only state my presuppositions briefly, while encouraging the reader to pursue the references further. Whose "Justice"? It must be made clear from the outset that the justice of God is not the same as the mythological blind justice attempting to balance her scales, or the justice of any particular society or culture. When the word "justice" is used in the contemporary North American media, for example, it invariably refers to a system of litigation, crime and punishment, to the sentencing to prison of the convicted, and to the payment of compensatory damages to the victim. This retributive form of justice is based on the conviction that those who wrong others have forfeited certain privileges and freedoms, and that such forfeiture must be concretely suffered through loss of personal possessions, liberty, or even life.

But the Judeo-Christian tradition contends that God's ways are not our ways. Throughout the history of salvation, and preeminently and definitively in the person of Jesus Christ, God has revealed and continues to reveal that divine justice is indeed quite different. Divine justice is revealed as divine love and divine mercy, which transcend societal and legal forms of justice. Mark Searle put it well: The justice of God is ultimately God [God's self], just as [God] is. It is a justice that is revealed in all that God does to reveal [God's self]. In creation it is revealed by things being the way [God] made them and serving the purpose for which they were made. In history God's justice is manifest in the people and events that embody and fulfill [God's] will. . . As and when such things occur, however rarely or fleetingly, then God's justice is done, and there the rule or Kingdom of God becomes manifest. For the justice of God that the liturgy proclaims is the Kingdom of God. (2) Justice is an attribute of God's very self, in whom the notion of what is right and just means extending oneself for the sake of another, letting go of oneself for the benefit of another, regardless of how the other may react. God's justice is revealed as generosity of spirit, giving life without exacting repayment, but also giving in the hope and faith that such magnanimity will be continued by the beneficiary, passed on to yet another. This kind of benevolence is indeed the very life of God. The just response is twofold: our sheer gratitude, since no recompense is possible, and our generosity toward others, since this reflects the just God in whose image we are made. Unlike the restraining and retributive forms of legal and societal justice, God's justice implies human freedom. To be forced into generosity is impossible. This is freedom not merely as "free choice"-the ability to select from various options-but as true humanity (always both social and personal), the human being that reflects the image of God. It is thus the free generosity of human spirit revealed in Jesus Christ. It is liberated from sin, from the falsehood of self-sufficiency, and from the idolatry of self-centeredness, and ever open to God's future, a future defined by the continuous overflow of God's Spirit of justice. Acts of authentic worship of God-genuine acknowledgment of God's justice on the part of truly free human beings-prevent us from worship of ourselves, which is the underlying basis of all idolatry, all bondage to sin. In exploring the relationship between Eucharist and justice, it is precisely the Christian view of justice-God's justice made manifest in Christ-which is intended. God's justice is revealed as inseparable from "sacrifice," in that all "making holy" (sacer + facere) involves dying to self for the benefit of others. Eucharistic structures that reshape us for justice do so according to God's criteria of right and just relationships to God, to each other, and to the world. These are always relationships of caritas, of generous hospitality and mutual self-giving. (3) God's justice seeks mutuality for its fulfillment, but is not withdrawn even when freely rejected. In the Eucharist, we who are committed by baptism into Christ to God's justice offer right worship, giving thanks even on behalf of those who reject God's justice, and seeking forgiveness for the times when we ourselves forget to live out of our commitment.

What "Structure"? How "Transformation"? The term "structure" is used here in the sense of a way of ordering things, a way of delimiting and describing how various components of some phenomenon work together, much like a language, to provide patterns of meaning and direction for those who experience it. We can speak of the "structures" of virtually anything that is experienced: a literary text, a legal or political system, a ritual practice-the list is endless. Correlatively, we can refer to the "structures" of human experience itself. It is the contextual nature of anything experienced that allows us to identify it as a specific phenomenon (this one and not that one). Philosophers debate over whether the contextual limits are imposed primarily by the reality "out there" or by the human mind and its own limits-and most would propose some combination of the two. The attention to structure, nonetheless, carries with it the idea that our understanding of a phenomenon is not entirely arbitrary. "Structure" implies an internal ordering of an experienced reality reflected in patterns of recognition on the part of the subject, rather than a reality that is ultimately chaotic and, therefore interpreted solely on the basis of subjective criteria or caprice. "Eucharistic structures" may seem at first to refer only to what takes place within the confines of the Eucharistic liturgy, but this would be theologically misleading. Karl Rahner refers to world history as the "liturgy of the world," (4) and Rosemary Haughton to the Church as coextensive in some sense with all of humanity. (5) In doing so they indicate that Eucharistic structures in some way emerge from and relate to, and are capable of converting, the structures of the world itself, whether personal or societal, political or economic. This potential for structural conversion should not be surprising, claims Haughton, because the possibility of transformation to holiness ("the sacred," i.e., to God in Christ) is latent even in "secular" structures. The religious ritual itself is not the end, but the means that provides "formation for transformation": ... [T]here is one area of living which is certainly formative but which is directly and solely concerned with the occurrence of transformation. This is the sphere of ritual, or religious observance, which frames the sacred. It is formative, it is structured, it is deliberate, but its sole purpose is to provide an occasion for contact with the sacred which is transformative, unstructured and spontaneous. The sacred . . . is encountered solely in the breakdown of structure ... ... But the use of a language which is Christian is the way to create a ritual which expresses a Christian notion of the relation between formation and transformation. Christian language is both formative and transformative, it describes secular concerns and focuses all of them on the sacred as their meaning and justification. And the point at which it explicitly changes the one into the other is a ritual one. When a whole community is in question this is necessarily so. Transformation can and usually does occur accidentally, in all sorts of odd ways. But if a whole community is dedicated to transformation it cant leave the occurrence to chance . . . This is what the Church is for, and what ritual in the Church is for ... (6)

According to Haughton, while we often refer to everyday life as "secular," for Christians this really should mean whatever is not explicitly or only ambiguously connected to God in Christ. She thus testifies to the intrinsic connection between the patterns of everyday life, including its modes of justice, and the patterns of Christian liturgy. If her description of things is correct, then of course we should expect to find an explicit revelation of God's justice through the structures of the Eucharist. Which "Eucharistic Structures"? There are, however, numerous structures that can be said explicitly to relate to Christian worship generally, (7) and to the Eucharistic rite specifically. There are the Eucharistic patterns discernible throughout the liturgical year, or throughout any particular season within the liturgical year. (8) There are the structures of Holy Week, and of the Easter Triduum-the culmination of the entire liturgical year (9) and its various rituals relating to Eucharist (e.g., the Washing of Feet in the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and Good Friday's pointedly "non-Eucharistic" Communion Rite). There is the weekly ordo of the seven days and of Sunday as the "Eighth Day," the day for Christians to assemble for Eucharist. (10) Within the Eucharistic celebration itself there are several structures that can be examined as avenues for formation in God's justice. We could look at the overall structure of primary components within in the Order of Mass to discern such formation in the pattern of gathering, hearing the Word, coming together at the Eucharistic table, and being sent forth. We could also look at the specific pattern of any of these individual components (11) (and ideally could discern patterns of insistence and reaffirmation among larger and smaller liturgical units). (12) We could also look specifically to the various prayers of the Missal to locate theological patterns that emerge from the texts as a means of formation of those who pray them in their transformation to justice. (13) The focus in the present analysis will be on the "shaping" or formation of the community for justice as dynamically structured by the essential components of the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" in the present Roman Missal (USA). (14) I give particular attention to the "breaking of the bread" as a constitutive but often overlooked aspect of the rite. The Worshiping Church, Body of the Just One. One final remark is in order before turning to this structural analysis. The Christian liturgy presumes, with the New Testament and with the faith of the Church, that Jesus Christ is the one in whom God reveals true humanity and true divinity. It is Christ himself, therefore, the head whose Body the Church is, who reveals God's Justice, the plan for human transformation to right relationship, i.e., salvation: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth... He put all things beneath his feet and gave

him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way. (15) Whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (16) God's Justice is God's mercy-the reconciliation of all humanity, of all creation to God's very self through Christ Jesus. God's plan of justice is the establishment of a new creation-not new things, but the same things created anew, re-created in the image of Christ. The Church is to be the Body of Christ, the Just One, and explicitly through the liturgy we are to become ever more this Body. (17) The response to God's Justice is first of all thanksgiving, Eucharist gratitude for the love and mercy of God that comes to us through, with and in God's Son, the Sun of Justice, without our ever being able to earn it. We respond in gratitude to the God whose Justice justifies us, makes us right, whole, and holy again, and creates us anew into the "whole Christ." How does the Eucharistic rite itself provide structures for transforming us to pray in remembrance that everything depends on God's love, fully revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Just One, and to act out of this remembrance? We turn our attention now to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Shape of Eucharistic Justice In examining the structures of a liturgical rite, it is always essential to recognize that the text of the rite is not the same thing as the celebration of the rite. While this may be stating the obvious, the implications for understanding how ritual structure has the potential to effect (not only affect) meaning and to form persons-in-community are enormous. The physical environment and its arrangement, the size and make-up of the congregation, the talents and abilities of the liturgical ministers, as well as the experience, local customs, and level of participation of all assembled, are among the innumerable factors that result in the particular "meaning-effects" of a given celebration. Analysis of the structure of the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" in the Sacramentary, while relying primarily on the text, must therefore remain cognizant of the performativeparticipatory context for which the text is intended. Ritual not only contains words, stories and symbols, but it is all these things, in action. For this reason Sacrosanctum Concilium placed such an emphasis on the full, conscious, and active participation of all the faithful. (18) We are and more fully become the Body of Christ, the Just One, by participating in Christ, with our bodies, minds, and hearts. The corporate and corporeal doing of the action rehearses us in our being and in our becoming. Our ritual activity presumes a certain willingness to conform ourselves to the rite in order to be transformed by it (what classical theology calls "proper disposition"). Active participation implicates us in the ritual story, committing us to responsibility for what we do there, and for who we are becoming and what we do as a result of our participation. We may justifiably call

such ritual engagement "the structure of Eucharistic participation," insofar as the rite assumes this predisposition on the part of the participants. It is also essential to be aware of the relationship between ritual form and ritual content. In examining the structure of the rite, we are in a sense paying more attention to the rite's "grammar" than to its "vocabulary," but both are necessary aspects of ritual meaning. It is frequently the "content" of ritual prayers and texts that is examined in studies relating Eucharist and justice. The "Order of Mass" alone and the internal structures of its literary components must of course be "filled" with the right content (e.g., readings from the Lectionary, not just any spiritual readings; ecclesially recognized Eucharistic prayers, not just any generic expression of thanksgiving, etc.). Nevertheless, the ordo of the components tells us something about our identity in Christ, as does the way the Eucharistic prayers are structured. Among the primarily textual or literary factors that effect the meaning intended in a Eucharistic celebration is the placement of the Liturgy of the Eucharist as a fundamental component within the larger dynamic pattern of the Order of Mass: Introductory Rite: the community gathers together -> Liturgy of the Word: the community hears the Word -> Liturgy of the Eucharist: the community gives thanks/shares at table -> Concluding Rite: the community is sent forth -> (the arrow indicates ongoing activity). This positioning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist after the Liturgy of the Word is both intentional, and germane to the question of liturgy and justice. Ritually, the action at the altar table (giving thanks and sharing) both responds to the action at the ambo (hearing God's Word) and precipitates the action of the dismissal (sending forth). (19) Theologically, God as the author of justice speaks the Word of justice to God's People, who justly respond in gratitude and in sharing the banquet of God's justice, nourished to go forth to be this banquet for others. We may look more closely at how the four actions that comprise what Gregory Dix considered the essential shape of the Eucharist (taking, thanking, breaking, sharing) (20) operate together in this context. The just Word is fulfilled in just action, liturgically symbolized: Thanking Breaking gratitude -------------> suffering acknowledgment transformation _| | Liturgy of the | | Eucharist _ Concluding Taking Sharing _ Rites Liturgy of _ openness sacrifice the Word readiness unity In response to the Word who is Christ proclaiming God's justice, we do in remembrance of him what he calls us to do. We take bread and wine, as Jesus did, to signify our openness to God's gifts and our readiness to become in justice that for which God made us. We thank and bless God for these gifts in just acknowledgment of the Giver. In acknowledging God and these gifts in the gratitude that defines Eucharistic praying, we

recognize the giftedness of our own existence and the need to become who God would have us become. We associate ourselves, "the Body of Christ," with this Bread of Life, with this New Covenant in his blood, the new commitment of ourselves to God in just response to what God has irrevocably accomplished for us in Christ Jesus. We break the Bread and pour the Wine, which undergo ("suffer") a transformation to a newly created way of being, a dying-to-self in order to be-for-others, exactly what it means to be "justified," to become what we are supposed to be in Christ. We break Bread and pour Wine in order to share with each other what God in God's justice has given usChrist himself, the Just One. The transformation through suffering is actualized, as it was for Jesus, in "sacrifice," in self-giving. We participate in, and thus become, the Gift as we give it to each other, signifying our unity in the Just One. It does not and cannot end with us, however, but in our taking the Gift to and becoming the Gift for the world (being sent). (21) The Word enables-makes us competent for-the sacramental action, and the action accomplishes the Word's purpose. Christ the Just One is both Word and Sacrament. Our just expressions of gratitude in Word ("The Word of the Lord"/"Thanks be to God") and in Sacrament ("Let us give thanks to the Lord our God"/"It is right to give God thanks and praise") bind us as we go forth ("Go in peace"/"Thanks be to God"), in the Spirit of Justice, to proclaim the just Word and to "be what (who) we eat." We are not only the beneficiaries of God's plan to fill us with the Spirit of Justice, but "co-con-Spirators" who, as justified in Christ, reveal this Spirit in just deeds. The fulfillment of the Lord's command ("Do this in memory of me") is always made possible by the Lord himself ("This is my body"), undercutting any Pelagianism to which we may be prone, and indicating the sort of just action to which we are called. The Breaking of the Bread. Of the four actions-taking, blessing, breaking and givingessential to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I would like to focus on the fraction rite and its power to form the assembled community for Christian justice. The General Instruction says that ... in apostolic times this gesture of Christ at the last supper [the breaking of the bread] gave the entire eucharistic action its name. This rite is not simply functional, but is a sign that in sharing of the one bread of life which is Christ we who are many are made one body (see 1 Cor 10:17). (23) Too often in the past and still in contemporary practice this essential part of the Eucharistic action has been viewed only pragmatically (bread must be broken in order to be shared), and it thereby frequently gets minimized. Maximizing the symbolic action may very well help us to place a new accent on formation for justice (bread must be broken in order to be shared). How does the rite structurally contribute to such an emphasis? Let us attend to the ritual location of the fraction rite. The Order of Mass places it generally in the Communion Rite, which follows immediately after the Eucharistic Prayer and is arranged thus: Lord's Prayer Sign of Peace

Prayer for peace "Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles" (presider) "Amen" response (assembly) Greeting of peace "The peace of the Lord" (presider) "And also with you response" (assembly) Invitation to the sign (deacon, or presider) Sign exchanged (assembly and ministers) Breaking of the Bread "Lamb of God," sung continuously throughout action (choir/cantor/assembly) Bread broken/divided [wine poured]24 (presider, possibly other ministers) Host broken over paten (presider) Piece placed in chalice/inaudible prayer "May this mingling" (presider) "Lamb of God" concludes with phrase "Grant us peace" (choir/cantor/assembly) Private Preparation of the Priest (and People) (25) Communion Genuflection (presider) Raising/showing of host, with words "This is the Lamb of God" (presider) Prayer "Lord I am not worthy to receive you" (presider and assembly) Presider's Communion, with inaudible prayer "May the body/blood of Christ" [Communion Song begun while presider receives (assembly)] Distribution to communicants, with words "The body/blood of Christ" (presider, deacon [and other ministers]) "Amen" response (each communicant) [Cleansing of vessels-may be done after Mass] [Period of Silence or Song of Praise-optional] Prayer after Communion The fraction rite is located between the Sign of Peace and Communion proper (considering the "private preparation" as essentially non-communal action attached to Communion). The actions involved in the Sign of Peace include a prayer addressed to Christ, which recalls the imparting of his peace to the apostles. The prayer thus continues a "post-resurrection" anamnesis that leads up to this "Lord's Supper," paralleling and completing the Eucharistic prayer's "pre-crucifixion" narrative of institution ("On the night he was betrayed"), which led up to the "Last Supper." Christ can be addressed because he is alive. The prayer itself petitions Christ not to look upon our sins, but upon the faith of his Church, and to grant us the peace and unity of his reign. The content of the prayer, we might say, is divine justice described as the "peace and unity of your [the risen Christ's] kingdom." The structure or form is once again the gift recalled ("my peace I give you") and given in spite of our inability to earn it ("look not on our sins"). The "unity" of Christ's reign that is prayed for is then also ritualized in the mutual bestowal of the Lord's (not our own) peace between presider and assembly, and then in the sharing in the sign itself. It is in Christ himself that we are justified and in Christ himself that we are unified. These same ritual themes are picked up in the fraction rite that follows. Next to Communion itself, the Breaking of Bread is the ritually most complex action of the Communion Rite. The entire action, done by the presider (and other ministers of the

Eucharist), is ritually supported by the choir/assembly's singing of the Agnus Dei. The words once again address Christ, this time as "Lamb of God." We recall (in the present tense) that he justifies us-"take[s] away the sins of the world"- and we request that he continue to "have mercy on us" and that he "grant us peace." While these content elements repeat the pattern detected in the Sign of Peace, the ritual and symbolic density increase. Having just prayed for "the peace and unity" of the kingdom, the ritual song prays again for peace while the action of breaking the bread attempts to be a sign of unity, for by the sharing in the Bread "we who are many are made one body." (26) In the next communal action, the same semantic elements return: "This is the Lamb of God" [thus the Christ addressed in the Agnus Dei is identified with the host being shown] "who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." The invitation to the undeserved Supper is answered with the prayer of humility, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." The ritual understands God's parabolic justice in its full, paradoxical graciousness. Having just proclaimed unworthiness to receive the Lord, presider and assembly step forward to share in the Bread and Wine. There is thus a consistency of this ritual pattern from Sign of Peace to Breaking of Bread to Communion. In the Sign of Peace, we recall the gift given along with our inability to earn it, and actualize the gift in sharing it and expressing unity. In the Breaking of Bread, we confess that the Lamb of God has graciously taken away our sins and break the one Bread that unifies us. As we prepare for Communion, we confess our unworthiness to receive the Lord, who nonetheless comes to us and makes us one Body. This repeated pattern reinforces the notion of liturgy and justice we have been putting forth: "Pray in remembrance that everything depends on God's love, fully revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Just One; act out of this deep remembrance." The phenomenon of the Breaking of the Bread, however, is worth considering more closely. For even the General Instruction interprets the unity of Christ as based upon the sharing of this broken bread. What does the breaking itself, as a central element within the Eucharistic action (between "blessing"/"thanks-giving" and "sharing") have to say to us? We must confront the fact that the liturgical-symbolic nature of the Bread (and Wine), in its multivalency, reflects a dual directionality of relational action: God-toward-us ("sanctification," which is katabatic or "descending") and we-toward-God ("glorification," which is anabatic or "ascending"). (27) This double movement is possible because we identify the Church, i.e., we who are baptized, with Christ, "the mediator between God and humanity." (28) This mediator is unique both in who he is and in how he mediates. Christ's mediation does not mean that he stands between God and us, as though he were negotiating a hostage release or a labor dispute. Rather, when we say that Christ is our mediator with God, we mean that standing in Christ, we encounter God. (29) The Bread of Life that we share, then, is a primary symbol of our identification with Christ, who is both God's gift to us (first), and also, our "gift" to God, i.e., the One by whom and into whom we have been transformed for true humanity. Having been sanctified (justified) by God in Christ, we become his Body; in so doing, we become more truly who we were meant to be, thereby meeting the demands of God's justice and giving just glory to God.

The idea that we identify this Bread with Christ is (at least!) as ancient as the words attributed to him by the synoptic Gospels and by Paul: "This is my body." The recovery of the idea-also ancient (Paul, Augustine)-that the Bread is also to be identified with us who consume it, while perhaps not yet complete, is well along the way thanks to the Liturgical Movement and the reforms of Vatican II. What often goes unnoticed, however, is the extent to which this double identification of the Eucharistic elements is anticipated throughout the liturgical action. Roman Catholic post-Reformation interpretations of the Eucharist tended to underidentify the assembled Church with the Bread and Wine. The sacrifice offered was the one sacrifice of Christ, to be sure, but popular theology especially emphasized the reality of the sacrifice to such an extent that it sounded to Protestant ears as if the priest were repeating the sacrifice (and repeated sacrifices are multiple, not single). The fact that the sacrificial language was not confined to the Roman Canon-the "thanking/blessing" of the fourfold action-but also spilled forward into many of the Prayers over the Gifts-the "taking" action (30) -only aggravated this perception. The term "offertory rite" reflects this situation: "offering" is not "taking"-Jesus took (not offered), blessed, broke, and shared the Bread. It is understandable that a liturgical (repetitive and polyvalent) action as complex as the Eucharist, which attempts to express a "sacrificial," already accomplished, and irreversible (unrepeatable) reality (the Paschal Mystery), through a ritual that itself unfolds its (fourfold) action over time, would result in certain temporal ambiguities. "Our offering" as an anticipation of the transformation of the gifts into Christs Body and Blood is a perfectly acceptable formulation, but only if the transformation of ourselves in Christ the very definition of God's justice is also clearly discernible. When it is not, then the breaking of the Bread looks only like the violent work of sacrificing the Lamb, who alone undergoes passion and death and who alone becomes open to new life in resurrection. If the Church does not also see itself-if we do not also see ourselves-with Christ in Bread that is broken and Wine that is poured, even in anticipation of our sharing in this Bread, then God's action of justice is apt to stop with us. We are less likely to reach the world that we are in turn called to form for transformation to God's justice. (31) Jesus said, "This is my body which will be given up for you" and "This is the cup of my blood [which] will be shed for you and for all." The "this" in "Do this in memory of me" refers to "repeating" the action at the ritual level. But at the sacramental level it also signifies the extension (not repetition) of the "sacrifice." That means participating not only in the sharing of the Bread (on the "receiving end") but also in allowing ourselves to be taken by and into Christ, into God's plan for justice. It means being blessed and acknowledged for who we are, sins and failings included, because now that we belong to Christ, we are justified in him and can offer God just praise. It means repeatedly being broken with him to grow more continuously into this justice, since we find ourselves all too often forgetting this justice instead of keeping Christ's memory. (The fraction rite tells us something about why Eucharist is the repeatable part of Christian initiation.) Being broken means being broken open to Christ and open to a world that we now invite to stand with us in Christ, and thereby encounter God's justice. The Breaking of the Bread ritualizes how we must pray in remembrance that everything depends on God's love, fully revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Just One. The Breaking of

the Bread ritualizes how we must act out of this remembrance, because oneness in the Just One is our new identity. Conclusion: Structure and Critique To this point, our discussion has attempted to show that the very structure of Eucharistic action is intended to effect transformation to God's justice by forming persons-incommunity who themselves adopt (by adapting themselves to) the pattern of takingblessing-breaking-giving. We have focused on the crucial role that the breaking of the bread plays in helping this transformation along when those assembled appropriately identify the bread broken not only with Christ, but also with themselves. In short, the symbolism of the fraction has a critical function within the structure of Eucharistic action, such that it can "structure" the "breakdown of structure" needed for encounter with the sacred, (32) i.e., with divine justice, which defies logical and legalistic conceptions of justice. The critique offered to members of the assembly who participate in Eucharist, however, must not stay at the level of the individual members. Our prayers for the peace, unity, and justice of God's reign are communal prayers and prayers for the world, not only for our own persons or even for our own community. The liturgical structures themselves must be open to the very criticism that the Eucharistic action has to offer, all the more because when these structures become the end rather than the means to divine justice, then such worship, as "the prophets remind us ... is worse than worthless. It is an abomination!" (33) Such formalism squelches rather than releases the power of the Spirit, and diminishes rather than glorifies God-the greatest injustice. We conclude our investigation with two very brief illustrations of this critical function, among many possible ones. When the fullness of the symbols of breaking Bread (and pouring Wine) is reduced to the cracking of a wafer and the dealing out of the hosts (often without offering the cup), the potential for this liturgical action to form us for God's justice is all but eliminated. Sheer practicality, rather than grace in abundance, structures our measure of justice. The limited participation permitted to baptized children (we accept their small envelopes, but they are not permitted Communion) could also be examined in light of the breaking of the Bread. At the risk of oversimplifying a long and complex history, it is, after all, not theological ideas, but the person of the Just One, (34) who welcomed little ones and held them up as exemplifying just dependence on God, who unites us (all!) in the celebration of Eucharist. In both instances, the expressive function of the liturgy, with the structures that manifest who we already are, subordinates the formative function, with the structures that effect us in becoming who we are yet to be. Both functions are, of course, necessary to the ritual, as we celebrate what God has already done for us in Christ and fix our eyes on the future God has in store for us. But the eschatological truth of the "not yet" must, in justice, be given prominence of place, if we are truly to understand the liturgical truth of the relation between Eucharist and justice. In Spirit and truth, we must pray in remembrance that everything depends on God's love, fully revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Just One; in justice, we must act out of this deep remembrance of who we are becoming.