Missing Pieces

Ah Love, could'st thou and I with fate conspire
To smash this sorry scheme of things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits—and then
Remold it nearer the heart's desire?

Those are the lines of Omar Khayyam, a Persian scientist from the early middle ages. His beautiful poetry makes me think of a part of the Mass known as the "Fraction Rite." This is when the priest, during the Lamb of God, breaks the large host into three pieces. One of these pieces is small and he drops it into the chalice, saying quietly, “May the mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to all who receive it.”

The original reason for the ‘commingling’ was to symbolize a local church's unity to Rome. The Pope would have sent out from his Mass pieces of the Eucharist to various churches throughout the city and suburbs. Theologically, the commingling symbolizes the Resurrection, when the blood flowed once again throughout Jesus' body.

The three pieces from the large host could fit back together perfectly like a puzzle. This would fulfill the poet's desire: to "remold" the scheme. But it is not meant to be in the Mass. The small third piece is swallowed up by the Precious Blood.

And yet, some putting together is meant to occur with the Eucharist. It is for us to be fit into Jesus Christ. We are incomplete on our own. Christ is our full complement. The next time the priest holds up the two halves of the broken host and says, “Behold the Lamb of God...” know that you are meant to be that missing third piece.

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