“Body of Christ”
Speaking of Jesus…I just got round last night to The Tablet’s fat Christmas issue, which had many fine offerings, as usual, but an especially good review by Eamon Duffy of Timothy Radcliffe’s book on the Eucharist, “Why Go to Church?” I am a fan of Radcliffe’s writing, and had heard good things about the book (as well as the fact that it was written at the invitation of Rowan Williams). But Duffy’s closer sealed the deal for me:
This is a serious but never a solemn book: not the least of its joys is the gallery of Dominican eccentrics who punctuate its pages. They include the learned but famously irritable Père Regemay, whom Radcliffe overheard in a Paris common room shouting angrily at one of his brethren, “Since I began to practise yoga I am CALM, I am CALM”. Best of all is the ancient Oxford lay brother who, when Radcliffe offered him Communion with the usual words, “The Body of Christ”, replied, simply, witheringly and with the accumulated wisdom of a long life lived eucharistically: “I know”.
Not surprisingly, priests always seem to have unfortunate stories about odd responses to offering the Body of Christ. They usually run along the lines of “Gee, thanks,” though I’m sure our clerical and/or eucharistic ministering community here has others. But as far as unorthodox goes, “I know” is a new favorite. And not so unorthodox.