“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.”John 6:51
I feel closest to Jesus in the moments after I receive him in the Eucharist. As I kneel in silence, I genuinely feel him with me. I quiet my heart to hear him, letting his peace overshadow me. I picture him right in front of me, but in reality, he’s within me. With my eyes closed, hands folded, head bowed, and knees and back slightly aching from kneeling, I rest in his true presence. In this stillness, I feel closest to Jesus because this is the closest that we can get to him on earth.
Yes, I pray often, I read my Bible almost every day, I love praise and worship nights, and I go to Adoration whenever I can. All of these are awesome, but what strengthens my relationship with Jesus the most is receiving his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.
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One of my favorite Catholic speakers ever is Fr. Mike Schmitz. I listen to his podcasts and watch his videos often, and I was blessed to hear him speak in person at SEEK 2019 and SLS 2020. One of my favorite talks of his is called “The Hour that Will Change Your Life,” and it truly did change how I viewed the Eucharist. In this talk, I learned that Jesus longs for not just relationship, but intimacy with us.
I know what you’re thinking, intimacy is an intense word. We tend to gravitate toward relationship because it’s safer and more G-rated. We can have a relationship with anyone, but intimacy is more exclusive. Intimacy is reserved for the most special and important people in our lives. It’s hard to wrap our heads around, but Jesus longs for not just relationship, but intimacy with us. He wants to know us and love us on the deepest, most personal level. He wants to completely enter into our lives, and he does this through the Eucharist. In the form of bread and wine, we witness Jesus’ sacrificial love as he offers his entire self to us without hesitation or reservation.
When I was really little, I didn’t enjoy going to Mass. It was boring to me and I would have rather played with my Barbie dolls. I have memories of whining about going to Mass while my mom was trying to dress me, do my hair, and buckle me in my car seat. However, all of this changed when I received my first Holy Communion. After I received the Eucharist for the first time, I LOVED going to Mass! I understood the Mass more, and I actively wanted to receive the Eucharist and be close to Jesus. Even today as I learn more about the faith, I fall more in love with Jesus and his Church.
Naturally, being away from the Eucharist because of the Coronavirus pandemic was painful. When I heard that churches couldn’t have public Masses because of the pandemic, my heart shattered. I longed for the Eucharist and I felt so far away from Jesus. Watching Mass on TV just frustrated me. Making an Act of Spiritual Communion helped, but it wasn’t the same.
A while ago, my mom and I heard of a Church that’s still doing public Masses not only on Sundays, but every day, and we’ve been going as often as we could. The first time I received the Eucharist again was a joyful reunion with Jesus. Going without the Eucharist for so long reminded me of how much I love Jesus. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken the Eucharist for granted, but now I know that I never will. If I learned anything from this forced fast, it was that I never want to live without Jesus
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, I couldn’t help but think of the Saints who risked their lives and died for the Eucharist. During these times, we have the opportunity to become like the Saints and express our devotion to the Eucharist, but are we doing it? In a world that’s saying the Eucharist isn’t essential, we’re listening by being compliant. People always talk about separation of Church and State, but the government is telling us that we don’t need the Eucharist. We’re allowing it to keep us away from the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. As the cornerstone of our faith, the Eucharist should be the most important thing in our lives. If we truly believe that the Eucharist is the true presence of Jesus Christ, why would we let anything keep us from him?
The greatest love story ever told is the God of the universe humbling himself to the form of bread and wine to be with us. Every single time we receive the Eucharist, he gives us his entire self so that we might know and love him intimately. It’s the most perfect example of sacrificial love, and it should inspire us to make sacrifices in our own lives for his sake.
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