Were not our hearts burning within us?
My dearest brothers and sisters,
Reception of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist has been taken away.
It feels as if we are sheep without a shepherd.
And so I write to you tonight to ask - how do we respond?
To start, I want share a story with you. Actually, my story.
It might be truly unique to your experience or it might sound oddly familiar, but I think it is essential to begin there.
I was so wonderfully blessed growing up. My parents, through an outpouring of grace that firstly fueled their own personal conversions, came to recognize the importance of their Catholic faith. My Dad a convert and my Mom a revert.
From there they raised my seven siblings and I with the mindset that getting to Heaven was the most important thing in the world. Pursue excellence in everything, but realize, it means nothing if it’s not leading you closer to God. The at-home catechesis was good, but what my parents couldn’t do, they trusted God would. They came to realize that frequenting the sacraments could help course correct for the ways they fell short, pr at least, it wouldn't hurt.
(If you need evidence of the power of the sacraments along with a healthy dose of prayer and fasting, look no further than the fact that all my siblings are practicing Catholics, with three married, one engaged, and four amazing little girls between the three marriages. Oh, and one in heaven looking down on us. Appreciate you, St. Collin!)
This intuition, or probably more accurately, this grace, led my family to frequent daily mass my whole life, something that I eventually saw as imperative for my own personal faith journey. The Lord placed a desire on my heart to grow in communion with Him, and in that, revealed to me that the Eucharist needed to be at the forefront for that growth to be made possible.
My desire to be the man that I'm called to be grew, and the sacraments were the catalysts. And now I can say, broken though I am, the Lord Jesus is using me and wants to continue to use me. In short, that's my story. A broken man who tries to let God use Him, being fueled by the, "Food for the journey."
Truthfully, in one way or another, all of us Catholics, Christian's and non-Christian's alike, have a similar story. The God of the Universe gave us His only Son, who came and died for us, so that we might one day live with Him. We've been invited brothers and sisters, to one day share in the Eternal Heavenly feast, but until that moment comes, we're invited to participate here on earth. We're invited to be partakers of the one bread.
I'm no theologian and I'm not here to try and be, but as Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ. Not a representation of Him but truly His Body and Blood. If we believe that, then we also must believe that He works outside of human understanding. We have to believe that although we've lost our ability to receive His Body and Blood coming to us in the appearance of Bread and Wine, He is still at work, and is still providing us the graces necessary to be Saints.
So how do we respond?
We respond with humility.
We respond by saying sorry for all times we have taken the Eucharist for granted.
We respond by slowing down and inviting Him into our lives in a greater way.
We respond with generosity, giving everything over to Him.
We respond with prayer and fasting.
We respond by making frequent Spiritual Communions.
We respond by readings the scriptures and daily readings.
We respond by keeping the Lord's Day Holy.
And we respond by remembering we never deserved the Eucharist anyway.
My brothers and sisters, we must respond, but it must be done in humility and gratitude, thanking Our Lord Jesus for the great gift He is and always will be.
May we never take Him for granted, but when we do, may we have the humility to come forward, ask for forgiveness, and try and love Him better the next day.
Were not our hearts burning within us?
May God be praised.
Totus Tuus Maria and God Alone,