When Elias was fleeing from Jezabel, he lay down under a tree in the wilderness and longed for death.

And he cast himself down and slept in the shadow of the juniper and behold

an angel of the Lord touched him, and said: arise and eat! He looked, and behold there was at his hand a hearth cake and a vessel of water; and he ate and drank and fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came a second time, and touched him and said to him: arise and eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. And he arose and ate, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights unto the mount of God, Horeb (III Kings 19: 5-8).

So God intervened in the life of Elias at this crisis in his career, sent him miraculous food and drink, and then led him a forty days' journey through the desert to the mountain where the prophet heard the divine voice, and received his definitive mission. So too, in the Blessed Eucharist, the Logos intervenes in our lives, gives them a new meaning, a direction we could never have chosen or imagined, and leads us to the fulfillment of our vocation.

Every Communion therefore is a "viaticum"–it is food and drink to sustain us in our journey toward God. But while ordinary food and drink only supports our bodily life, this food is also our guide on our journey. For Jesus Who gives Himself to us in the Eucharist is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14: 6). As St. Bernard says: "He is the way that leads to truth; He is the Truth who promises life, and He is the Life which He Himself gives."

The Living Bread
Thomas Merton

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love