“This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”

Dear Jesus, when you came to earth,
what did you bring?
Ah, you came amid shadows and anticipations
bearing within yourself perfect Reality.
You came to those who were immersed
in external rituals that could not effect
the truth that they signified.
And you came bearing this radiant Truth
and bringing it to consummation in yourself.

This transition from empty external act
to inner fullness of radical truth
is what you meant, Jesus, when you spoke
of those who “worship in spirit and truth”
and that “the inside of the cup must be clean.”
No longer do thousands of lambs need to be slain
for the one, pure Lamb of God has given himself—
Jesus, you have taken up every partial anticipation,
all the hopes, longings, and desires of humanity
and brought them to perfect realization in yourself.

And yet in doing this you do not destroy the sign,
that is, the concrete, visible, tangible nature
of our existence in this rich and varied earth.
But now the external act, the sign,
bears in itself the very Reality.
For the pouring of water over the head
effects, literally, a transformation deep within.
Bread and wine are thus no longer,
for they have become you Flesh and Blood,
and through receiving these, we perform,
not some empty ritual act, but rather welcome,
in utter literal truth, your very self,
so that you live in us, body and spirit,
and the fullness of divinity, burning and alive,
in our inmost being, in all that we are.

Let us only, Jesus, have the courage
to go to meet you in this deep inner place,
and not remain on the surface of the ritual act
(just as it is so easy to remain on the surface
of the profound act of prayer before you).
Draw us, Jesus, draw us tenderly,
draw us in the ardor of your burning love,
to enter into this vulnerable inner place,
so that every Holy Communion, every prayer,
every moment of silence and solitude in your presence
—and indeed, every instant of our life,
tapping into the Reality of your Love,
thus becoming truly “sacramental”—
will unite us ever more intimately to you,
our loving and merciful God,
and will shed forth this inner light far and wide
in order to draw many, many other thirsting hearts
to this place where they encounter the Reality,
the awesome Beauty and perfect Intimacy
for which they so painfully and ardently thirst.