ASTONISHED HEARTS, – a Reflection on the Eucharistic Congress.

ASTONISHED  HEARTS, – a Reflection on the Eucharistic Congress 2012.

The mood was infectious as we walked towards Croke Park for the Final Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, on June 17th. We wended our way past some slower walkers, crossed busy junctions, were overtaken by groups singing their way to the Mass. ‘What’s the best way to the Hogan Stand?’, we asked a few times. There are some counties, as Joe Duffy reminded us inside, that haven’t been to Croke Park too often!

With plenty of time to spare for all the build-up before Mass began, there was time too for reflection. Here were 70,000+ people who wanted to be there. There was a mystery to be relished, together,- that miracle that happens daily on so many altars in so many places.  That miracle also of who we are.

We were celebrating, with quietly astonished hearts. ‘God so loved the world…!’ ‘Take and eat, this is my body, given for you!’ ‘Greater love than this no-one has, that a man would lay down his life for his friends. And you are my friends…’ ‘If I the Master, have washed your feet,  you also ought to wash each other’s feet.’ We had an everyday, ordinary astonishment.

And that’s why our feet were all pointing in the one direction that Sunday,-  we were gathering our quiet faith, our quiet joy and astonishment, into one celebration. We experienced deep down that the world has been given that ‘pearl of great price’ that was to die for,- God among us in Christ, one body with us, one flesh and blood with us, with heart poured out and shared with us in the simplest gesture of the Breaking of Bread.

And when the penny drops, and ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us’ suddenly or slowly captivates us, we live from then on with astonished hearts.

The Eucharistic Congress gave us this gift, to bring home to our streets and villages again.

Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

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