The Blessed Sacrament Chapel:
Dedicated to the Eucharistic theme, the painting of the mural follows the inspiration of the liturgical hymns and the theological reflection of the Fathers of the Church on the biblical figures of the Eucharistic Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since the liturgical time is the redeemed time, the events of the salvation history are so to speak contemporary, the New Testament events and the Old Testament figures and prophecies being illumined mutually. The liturgical image too celebrates the same redeemed history. In representing the Eucharistic mystery, it brings together the event of the Last Supper in its anticipation, in its fulfillment and in its continuity in the Church after the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord.
We contemplate the Holy Eucharist in its anticipation in the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves of bread and the two fish, alluded by the boy who joyfully offers to Jesus the basket of the bread (John 6, 9-10). The boy is the only one who is depicted without a halo, since he represents us, humanity on the way towards Jesus, our fount of holiness. It is the Blessed Virgin Mary who ushers in the boy and us in the presence of Christ and offer Him our very poor gifts (the bread end the fish), so that He might transform them and fill them with His presence. Mary poses her left hand on her heart, being the first disciple of Christ who contemplates and treasures in her heart the words and actions of her Son (Luke 2, 19). Her presence and the words “Do whatever He tells you” recall another anticipation of the Eucharistic banquet, the miracle of the Wedding in Cana (John 2, 1-12). By interceding and presenting before her Son the need of the married couple, she taught us the path of entrusting our lives in all its dimensions into the hands of Our Savior.
The Last Supper of Our Lord with His disciples before His Passion is represented by the presence of three of the disciples around the Master, Peter, James and John. They are the three who were chosen to be the witnesses of Christ’s Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and of His Passion in the Gethsemane garden and represent the whole community of the twelve and of the Church. Their posture and gestures express three different forms of approaching and penetrating the mystery of the Holy Eucharist:
- Peter, depicted at Christ’s left side (for the one who watches), looks at Our Lord and elevates his hands in prayer and awe before the miracle;
- John, reclining in adoring contemplation his head on Christ’s chest and indicating Our Lord’s heart, teaches us how to direct our interior gazing towards the depth of this mystery of love, towards the Heart of the beloved Son who rejoices in the Father; the beloved disciple reminds us the Lord’s words: “Whoever remains in Me and I in Him will bear much fruit” (John 15,5), as indicated by the inscription on the altar’s border;
- James, at the right side of the altar table, raises his eyes and his right hand towards the Father, fount of all that is good and perfect (James 1, 16), who sends from heaven His Holy Spirit over the Eucharistic gifts.
We can see that if the loaves of bread and the fish brought by the boy are normal food, the bread and fish on the white altar table bear the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, indicated by a golden light on the chalice and on the fish and by a golden cross on the broken bread.
The Last Supper is at the same time the Eucharistic Supper celebrated and continued in the Church after the Resurrection of Christ, as indicated by the wound of the open rib of Jesus and by the wounds of the nails in His hands. The Risen Christ, dressed with bright cloths – the white tunic and the golden mantle -, blesses with the right hand and with His left hand shows His open rib under which is depicted the golden chalice with the wine of the New Covenant in His blood. By offering Himself in sacrifice on the cross, Christ reveals the mystery of the Father’s love, as indicated by Our Lord’s golden halo with the red cross, in which we see the name that was revealed by God to Moses (“I am Who I am”: O WN; Exodus 3:14). On the right and on the left side of the halo it is written the name of Jesus (in its Greek abbreviated form: IC XC; first and last letters of ‘Jesus Christ’: Ιήσους Χριστός).
The Eucharistic Supper celebrated by the militant Church on earth is united to the Heavenly Liturgy of the triumphant Church gathered around the Mystical Lamb, as depicted on the curved space of the ceiling at the entrance of the chapel. The twelve sheep coming out of the cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem represent the Church from the Chosen People of Israel and the Church from the Gentiles (as symbolized by the golden lamps over the gates of the cities), forming the one Church; moved by the Dove of the Holy Spirit depicted above the Mystical Lamb, the Church directs herself in adoring procession towards her Savior. He is the Immolated Lamb who stands triumphant over the book with seven seals (Revelation 5, 6), who teaches the path of following him and of finding rest in Him, as written on the band under the sealed book: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11, 28-29).
Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the disciples and the entire heavenly court we are invited to enter and penetrate this great mystery by receiving and adoring Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist celebrated in the Church.