Vinny Flynn provides a treasure chest you can draw from, again and again, for gems of insight on the Eucharist.
Eucharist Nourishes You
Last time, we talked about Confession and its power to restore a sinful soul to a participation in the divine life. This month, we'll talk about the Most Blessed Sacrament and how it sustains the life within us.
The Church calls the Eucharist the Most Blessed Sacrament — why? Because Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist: Body and Blood, soul and divinity, hidden under the appearances of bread and wine. Because the Eucharist is Jesus, the Church calls it the "Source and Summit of the Christian life," for from Jesus, all blessings flow. From the Eucharist, all blessings flow.
This is why Eucharistic Adoration is such a blessed devotion. You spend time adoring the One from whom all good things come. We are able to sit and be in the presence of the Divine Physician, hearing Him speak to us by reading Sacred Scripture or simply sitting in silent prayer, waiting for a word from the One who loves us most fully, most perfectly.
And this is why full, active, conscious participation in the Mass is so important, so powerful. Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, we first ponder the Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures, and then, if we are in the state of grace, not conscious of having committed any mortal sin since our last confession, we take God Almighty into our bodies through receiving the Eucharist.
When we receive the Eucharist, we receive life eternal, for Jesus said:
I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst. ... I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the Bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this Bread will live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world (Jn 6:35, 48-51).
Oh, how He loves us!
In the Eucharist, God Almighty comes physically, sacramentally, to us. He has made Himself the fruit of the tree of life, which had been forbidden to us because of the fall of Adam and Eve (see Gn 3:22-24), but now is offered to all who repent and believe in Jesus, turning to the Sacraments in faith. Through the Eucharist, the divine indwelling is nourished in our hearts, for the Eucharist is the coming of Love Himself into us. If we have committed venial sins, they are wiped away (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1394). Through the Eucharist, we catch fire and become like God. As the saying goes, you are what you eat.
If all this is true, why do so many people go to Mass and never appear to change? Because God respects our free will. If we go to Mass and are not in the state of grace, or are not striving to obey the commandment to love God and neighbor every day of the week, then our hearts are not open to the graces God wishes to give through the Eucharist. Good seed is sown, but the ground is not prepared (see Mk 4:3-20).
Next time, we'll talk about being sealed with the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
For more on the Eucharist, see Fr. Donald Calloway's Under the Mantle (Product Code TH-UTM) pgs. 58-66 and Fr. Michael Gaitley's The 'One Thing' Is Three (Product Code: TH-ONE) pgs. 85-101; 255-283. To order these books, call 1-800-462-7426 or visit shopmercy.org.
Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.