Most Sunday mornings begin with me in a state of sin: I lose my patience and yell at my kids as we are getting ready to go to church, then spend the rest of the morning in a state of contrition. Today, though, something remarkable happened. Instead of getting mad, we got out of the door with no casualties and had a good conversation in the car on the way to church. I was explaining the difference between a symbol (like the cross I wear around my neck) and the Real Presence of the Eucharist.
"The little cracker changes during the service and contains the actual presence of Jesus." I said.
"How?" the kids want to know.
"I don't know, exactly, but it is something the priest does. They are able to change it. That is one really cool part of being a priest."
"Could I do it?" Noah wants to know.
"Not unless you were a priest." I reply. (Although, truly, I am not actually sure about the mechanics of it.)
"Watch during the service" I said. "You'll see when the priest is changing it."
So later, during the mass, I invited Noah to stand with me and watch as our priest added water to the wine, then waved his hands over the chalice and the host, and finally lifted them into the air.
Later, as I was relating this to Fr. Rich, he corrected me. It is the Holy Spirit that transforms it, he said. Not us.
The priest, then, is more like the doorway through which the Holy Spirit acts, I explained to Noah and Emmett on the way home.
"I bet I could do it." Noah asserted. "I don't think you have to be a priest to be a doorway for God."