The Eucharist

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Originally this post was supposed to be published on Monday, but I couldn't get my act together in time.
This past weekend marked the First Holy Communion for many of the children at our parish. The priest gave a homily about the power of the Eucharist. It was a beautiful homily and a nice reminder about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

When one of my best friends converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism, she had her First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation all during Easter weekend. It was like Catholic boot camp. Following the Mass of her First Communion, a man she had never met came up to her and pressed a small token into her hands. As he did so, he whispered "the secret to the universe." As quickly as he came, he was gone.  When she looked down to see what he had given her, she discovered a tiny gold pendant which was engraved with an image of the Eucharist . I don't believe she ever saw that man again, but she certainly has not forgotten what he said, nor have I. We like to think he was her Guardian Angel. Incidentally, this friend is now a Religious Sister of Mercy and has a great devotion to the Eucharist. Coincidence? I don't think so.

So often in the ritual and routine of the Mass, it's easy to forget that the Eucharist is indeed a miracle. The God of the Universe comes down from Heaven to assume the appearance of bread and wine. He loves us so much that he wants to be intimately united with our bodies.  Christ has assured us that "Whoever eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:54) This is no small thing, nor should it be treated as such.
Fulton Sheen had an interesting commentary in his book The World's First Love (my favorite book ever) regarding motherhood and the Eucharist. We often hear women say how they'd love to gobble up their babies. There is something in us that compels us to want to completely consume that which we love. (I can't find the exact quote right now, but I will.)

Recently I watched a documentary on the Church and exorcisms entitled The Rite of Exorcism: Myth, Mystery & Hope. It was extremely interesting, to say the least. In one of the interviews, the priest remarked that he had brought the Eucharist with him to one particular exorcism. During the course of the exorcism, the demon would not stop wailing and screaming in response to the presence of the Eucharist. The priest went on to add that it was sadly ironic that a demon could recognize the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and yet many Catholics cannot. What a powerful statement.

When thinking of all the children who will receive their First Holy Communion, I am reminded of a point in The Way. "Treat him well for me, treat him well!" Words, mingled with tears, of a certain venerable bishop to the priests he had just ordained. Would that I had the power, Lord, and the authority to repeat that same cry in the ears and in the hearts of many, many Christians! (#531)

"Treat him well for me, treat him well!"

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