I am calling Simone Weil, a Jew only to show her passion for Christianity. She was a Christian who remained outside Christianity. She never received any sacraments yet her admiration for them was profound.
She says that sacraments are like souvenirs of loved ones that have died. It is like the letter of a lover which envelopes the emotions that could have otherwise lost or like a ring that constitutes a veritable contact between husband and wife. That’s why a man says “I can’t miss my wedding ring” because missing it can mean missing her. Simone Weil says that these contacts which a souvenir brings is “real, unique and irreplaceable”.
She now proceeds to connect sacraments with beauty in a Platonic sense. Plato makes a dichotomy of matter and form. Matter constitutes the sensible world. The matter participates in the form which is at the other side of being. A beautiful thing is beautiful as it participates in the form of beauty that is above. Simone Weil comments that, “Plato looks upon beautiful as a souvenir of the beyond.” For Plato beauty “is a splendour of truth”. In the same way sacraments are souvenirs of beyond. The beauty of Plato and sacraments of Christianity has value in their participation of above reality.
Simone Weil says that beauty is a sensual attraction “that maintains one at a certain distance and implies a renunciation.” Beauty demands a renunciation, even that of imagination. Beauty appeals to the one who has renounced his appetite to devour it either with senses or imagination. Because beauty is something that we must desire without wanting to devour it.
She says that one can find the beauty of rituals in the holy Eucharist. The beauty of mass lies beyond intelligence. What happens in holy Eucharist is ineffable for intelligence. In the holy Eucharist, its words and rituals leads to a “perfect beauty, and of sensible form of beauty, for rituals and signs are sensible things. It is beautiful after the style of a work of art”.
Every day I celebrate mass still I’m unable to get hold of it. Mass is something that happens in spite of myself even when I’m celebrating it. Sometimes I get a feeling that someone is easily getting into its mystery except me. Like all beautiful things, Eucharist compels me to keep a distance. As a priest, I know I can only persist in its boundary. Eucharist constantly force me to get over myself and get into the fold of memory which renewed and repeated every day.