When I was a young boy, Wednesday was my favorite day of the week for two reasons. First, it was the day when we had release time, allowing school to end at 1:00 PM so that the children from public school could come to religion class. The second reason was that it was the day when my mother would often make fresh bread and I had the chance to watch.
The ritual was the same. Mom would place the dry flour on the kitchen counter, forming it like a mini-like volcano, with the center hole being the place where the eggs, salt and yeast would go. However, it was not until mom added water that she was able to kneed the mixture into dough. For it was simple water that held the ingredients together and allowed dough to be baked into bread.
I often reflect on this fact when I hear the words of the second Eucharistic Prayer, which calls down the Holy Spirit upon the gifts of bread and wine on the altar as “dewfall.” For that image of “dew” powerfully reminds us that it is the added ingredient of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit that allows simple bread and wine to become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It is also the “dew” of the Holy Spirit who draws us together as members of the Church, despite our many differences, by strengthening our membership in the Mystical Body of Christ around the altar and in the world.
In a sense, it is the Holy Spirit, who is the divine principle of unity, that “holds us all together”, and makes us a living offering to God. So, as Saint Augustine rightly observes, we eat the Body of Christ, to become the Body the Christ in the world, all made possible by the “water” of the Holy Spirit.
In our increasingly dry and parched society, let us pray for an ever increasing outpouring of the “dew” of the Holy Spirit upon us and the whole world.