This hypothetical appointment is a reality, if only we have the eyes of faith. Our God is truly present in the Eucharist. Yes, in that tiny piece of bread and in the droplet of wine, He is completely present. Whether you believe it or not, He is truly and completely present in the Eucharist. Knowing it is one thing; believing is another.
Knowledge can be gained through study, but if we don’t fall in love with what we have studied, it quickly fades from memory. If we start to believe and love what we have learned, it will change the way we live. Think of a subject or topic that interests you, and compare it to one that does not. Which do you have a greater personal attachment to? Which shapes your thoughts and actions?
Over the centuries, much has been written about the Eucharist, but reading this is not enough. I challenge you to ask for the gift of faith in order to truly believe what you have read. Fall in love with what you have studied! The Eucharist is God’s whole and true self! St. Catherine of Siena, a great Dominican saint, wrote that, “Upon knowledge follows love”. If you come to know that He is in the Eucharist, how can you not love Him more deeply?
Now, going back to one of my opening questions, how will you prepare to receive Him? In Canon Law, there is a section which speaks of our preparation for Holy Communion:
Canon 919, 1: “One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.”
This time of preparation is not just some pious tradition. It is the law of the Church. But why? The Church, in giving us this prescription, is inviting us to deny our bodies so as to increase our longing. This is to serve as a reminder of our need for God, and the necessity of longing for him. After all, He longs for us. That is why He left us His very Presence in this Sacrament! If you do not longingly await His Sacred Banquet, ask for this grace. A holy longing is a great gift from God!
For many of us, going up for Communion is just part of the Sunday Mass ritual. We walk up, say amen, and then eat/drink. Where do your thoughts go at this most sacred moment of your week? How are you welcoming the Guest of honor? What could you tell Him at this precious time? What might He want to tell you?
My challenge to you is this: spend some time before Mass reflecting on what you are going into. The church is not a stadium, nor is it a movie theatre, and yet it feels like one at times. This building is a holy place where Heaven and Earth literally touch. God is truly present in the Church at all times. He is so close to us, and yet we tend to forget Him. What if, this week, you focused on Him instead of on other distractions (which we all experience)? What if you entered the church building with a reverential fear and awe? How would that change your week? How would it change your eternal destination?