This seems to be a great year to grow in our devotions and faith!
Even in the midst of a year dedicated to the Eucharist, for our surprise Pope Francis also announced a year dedicated to Saint Joseph! Isn’t it a banquet for our souls?
Last May on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Pope promulgated the Year of the Eucharist. This was to help us focus our attention on the Eucharist and the tremendous gift it is in our lives. Commenting on the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes,” (1 Corinthians 11:26) St. John Paul II said that whoever participates in the Lord’s Supper,
…joins the mystery of his death, moreover, he becomes his ‘herald.’ There is, therefore, an intimate relationship between ‘celebrating the Eucharist’ and announcing Christ. It means that at the same time, we become missionaries of the mystery that we celebrate; in a certain sense, it means making it contemporary to every age, until the Lord returns.
St. John Paul added that, “Since the first Pentecost, this divine Sacrament fills our days with confident hope.”
What was only to be revealed at the Last Supper was that the God who had the power to empty Himself, come down to earth, and become human (Philippians 2:7) also has the power to take the form of bread and wine and become the food for eternal life. Even though it is food in the proper form for eating, it IS the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’… For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (CCC 1324) The Eucharist is our participation in Christ, in His passion and death and in eternal life. Therefore, to be close to the Eucharist is to be close to Jesus Christ.
Is Jesus to be a friend we only text or call on a cell phone for a few minutes, or is Jesus a friend we are willing to visit at Church, Mass or Adoration? Do we just pass pleasantries with Jesus? Or is Jesus the friend that we can truly bare our soul to?
I would like to share the way I receive the Eucharist. I am sure you have your own devotion and prayer to say at this precious moment. First, I prepare my body walking toward the priest, slowly, with my mind resting in my heart, opened to receive Jesus since the beginning of the Mass. I recall the teaching of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (313-386), who in his Catechesis on the Eucharist describes for us how Christians are to approach Communion:
Do not come near to receive the Body of the Lord with the palms of your hands extended or with the fingers apart, but making your left hand like a throne for your right, where the King will sit. Receive the Body of Christ and answer ‘Amen.’
Like St. John Vianney, I say, “Lord, I know that I am not worthy to receive you, but I need you!” Then Christ becomes one with me. He is in me like He is in the Father, in the unity of the Holy Trinity. The more we invest ourselves in our union with God through the Eucharist, the more united we will be with God, and, by default, our fellow Christians too.
As for Saint Joseph, remember that in Hebrew Joseph means “God will add.” God always adds unsuspected dimensions to the lives of those who fulfill his will. May God add to our lives the life of Our Lady and the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Eucharist.
Paula Gomez Victorica was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was a contemplative nun of the Order of Saint Benedict for 20 years. Since 2001, she has lived in Natick, Massachusetts.
Paula is a Certified Spiritual Director. She currently teaches Biblical Spirituality online at Boston College. She is also a Eucharistic Minister and collaborates in the pastoral and enrichment commissions of some the Metrowest parishes.