Our most familiar human activities are transfigured in the eucharist and bring us into life-giving contact with God in Jesus Christ. This statement lies at heart of this thought-provoking work. In this essay of "meditative theology," which incorporates aspects of contemporary philosophy, anthropology and linguistics in relation to eucharist, the author reflects on the intimate connection between food and language in the Eucharist. Tracing the progression from the act of eating to the celebration of a festal meal, he then moves to language, because the festal meal often concludes with a discourse addressed to the heroes of the feast. Finally, he examines eucharistic discourse in order to relate the eucharist to all other festal meals: what it remembers; what is given in it to eat; what is realized.
The eucharist is discovered to be the place of communion with God, founded on the memory of Jesus Christ, hoped for in its perfection in eschatological time, already realized in the symbolic celebration. And yet it also reveals itself as the symbolic fullness of human existence.
Ghislain Lafont is a Benedictine monk and emeritus professor of theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. He is the author of numerous books on historical theology.