The Eucharist: Jesus' Self-Emptying Love
By Sr Anila Kizhakkekunnel SABS
St Paul's Publications, 58/23rd Road, TPS III, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050; www.stpaulsbyb.com;
ISBN 978-93-92340-61-1 / Pp 134 / Rs 150
"The Holy Eucharist is the heart of the life of the Church, 'The Mystery of Faith' which we celebrate for the salvation of the world until the Lord comes" (p 11). And so it stands to reason that the Eucharist is one topic that can never go out of fashion so to say, what with tomes continuing to be written on the wonders of its realism. 'THE EUCHARIST, Jesus' Self-emptying Love' by Sr Anila Kizhakkekunnel SABS is a wonder in itself in that it gives the reader a newer understanding of the Mass, that makes possible a heart-transforming experience of it as the Sacrament of love as revealed through Jesus' Kenosis – his self-giving on the cross.
The call of Jesus in the Eucharist has two dimensions, both of which challenge us to live out fully what Christ wants of us: firstly, to live our lives the way Christ lived his – breaking himself in order that our brokenness, coupled with his brokenness evident in his Passion and gloriously present in the Eucharist, might benefit us no end. In the process, we are empowered to establish with Christ the Kingdom of God on Earth. Secondly, Eucharistic life consists in experiencing Jesus in the breaking of the bread as the two disciples of Emmaus did. Both these dimensions are ably magnified by THE EUCHARIST, Jesus' Self-emptying Love. In the process, the lesson that we learn from the Eucharist is the self-giving way ofsharing our very lives, viz the kenotic way that makes for both, a multiplication and a cherishing of our experience of the sacrificial love of God in the Eucharist.
The term kenosis [origin: Greek], refers to the doctrine of Christ's "self-emptying" in his incarnation as referred to in Philippians 2:7, the mode by which he secured the world's salvation. Anila Kizhakkekunnel who belongs to the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (SABS) and holds a Licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome has obviously immersed herself in the subject of THE EUCHARIST, Jesus' Self-emptying Love, i.e. the kenotic love of Christ. It is obvious that her time spent in adoring the Eucharistic Lord has led her to root her dissertation in the kenotic dimension of the Eucharist.
"A piece of art gets its worth and value when it fulfils various parameters of perfection. Perfection in turn is the outcome of the dedication and passion of the artist in making his/her masterpiece" (p 13). Notably, her acumen as Directress of her congregation's Novices whose perfection is her responsibility,is evident in the altruistic manner in which she has structured THE EUCHARIST,Jesus' Self-emptying Love: Ch 1-Kenosis as God's Way of Being; ch 2-Jesus as God's Kenosis; ch 3-The Eucharist, 'Kenosis of Jesus'; ch 4-A Kenotic Love after the Model of the Eucharist for the Modern World.
Drawing on Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, chapter 4of the book illustrates the Eucharist as a mystery to be believed, celebrated and lived. This it does by elaborating on various aspects of the fundamental call to Eucharistic mission; being united to Jesus in the Eucharist, we Christians are called to live as well as give ourselves for others. It challenges us to be keen listeners and conscientious doers of the Word and thus, joyful bearers of the Eucharist in a world being rent as under by conflict, violence, jealousy, corruption and, above all, man's inhumanity to man. The result of extensive research on the part of the author, the impact of THE EUCHARIST, Jesus' Self-emptying Love on the reader stems from its use of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) as the yardstick. Resultantly, Anila's theses comes up trumps as soup for body and soul alike!
Ladislaus Louis D'Souza