Over at Path of Weis
, there is a post which is a plea for Catholics to reverence the Eucharist if they do indeed believe that it is what we say it is. Many wonder why more Catholics aren't changed by it. I thought Gretchen's response was so well put, I had nothing to add in George's com box. I have written about this extensively in the past but found an article
by the late Fr. John Hardon that ties in nicely with this discussion.
"Those who believe deeply in the Real Presence will benefit greatly from the Real Presence; those who believe weakly will also benefit accordingly. The Eucharist is capable of working miracles in our lives. So it can -- after all, the Eucharist is Jesus. He worked -- change the tense -- He works miracles, but as it depended then (remember, Christ could not work miracles in certain places for lack of faith), the same now. It depends on the depth and degree of our faith." The Eucharist is indeed Jesus
but many don't recognize Him in the breaking of the bread
. Sadly a phenomenon which has occurred since the early days of the Church.
( Check out 1 Corinthians 11
I like to imagine that the sacraments are like the "water" of God's grace pouring over us. His grace falls everywhere in the world but the sacraments are a concentrated delivery of this grace which Jesus instituted and designed to be the normative way in which we "interact with God."
We are sitting under the "spiritual funnel" where the downspout is directed down on us when we present ourselves for a sacrament, such as the Eucharist or Reconciliation. Then what happens is this: if our hearts are cold and stony, the water just washes off us like water flowing down on a smooth hard rock. If our hearts are pliable, soft and absorbent like a sponge, the water of grace gets in and goes deep to replenish the much-needed moisture.
I don't know about others, but when I go up to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, the prayer of the Church that we all just prayed in the Liturgy of the Eucharist is on my heart and lips.
"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I keep my head down praying these words as intently as I can. I'm not sure what someone in front of me or behind me is doing, but I know what I need to do. As I approach the priest or extraordinary minister, I pray, "Jesus please let me be a sponge, not a rock. Let be be open to all the grace you have for me here ." Hopefully, I will have gone to confession in the recent past so there is no chance that I bring an unconfessed grave and serious sin to the altar. I then pray quietly in my pew, and sometimes pull a small copy of the Anima Christi
prayer to pray.
Everyone one's experience may be different, but the saints have given us a long tried and true
way to obtain holiness in this life, and it always revolved around the reverent reception of Eucharist
, the source and summit of our faith.
Thanks be to God for this most ineffable gift to His Church!
But this same God of the universe who humbled himself to become one of us in a dirty animal stable, (where he was overlooked by many, because it was "business as usual") continues to allow himself to be presented on the altars throughout the world where He is overlooked by many, because it's still "business as usual." An unthinkable paradox indeed.