Jesus washing feet 022118

Real Tremblay, C.Ss.R., in his book Mais moi, je vous dit [“But I Say to You,” pages 98f] emphasizes the unique divine quality of the actions commanded of his followers by Jesus. Tremblay explains that in order to live as a child of God and to serve as Jesus served, one must, by the gift of God, follow a morality of the-other-before-me — a morality fully manifest in the Cross, but also taught to the apostles in the washing of the feet. Thus, living according to the new Christian morality means loving others in the kind of service given by a slave to his master. However, such a divine level of service can only be sustained on the basis of a real union with Christ, the very union initiated only in baptism, and completed and renewed continually in the Eucharist. This divine intimacy with Christ, which is a mutual interpenetration of life, has no full analogy in the simply human sphere. Jesus expresses it in his prayer “that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us ” (Jn. 17:21).  Any attempt to live a Christian moral life without such a foundation in God would be futile. When, on the other hand, this foundation is firmly established by a sacramental completion in the Eucharist, the Christian enjoys real access to the divine life; and by faith, his or her acts of service spring directly from Christ’s own servant nature. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:56); and “He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (Jn.15:5). The sacraments are, therefore, so profoundly linked to morality that the two cannot be separated; there is never a justification for thinking of them in isolation.  One additional, perhaps surprising, conclusion: Attending the Eucharistic celebration when not combined with a way of life fitting for participation in Christ’s paschal mystery, can eventually lead to a denial of the sacrament’s divine vitality, or even worse, to indifference towards it.

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