“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.” ~Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
In the Archdiocese of Boston, we are in the midst of the Year of the Eucharist. This year was promulgated by Cardinal Séan O’Malley after a recent Pew Report revealed that only one third of Catholics in the United States believe that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are, in fact, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This means that nearly 70% of U.S. Catholics believe that Holy Communion is merely a symbol of Jesus’ Body and Blood.
The word Eucharist literally means thanksgiving. Transubstantiation is when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, at every Mass, Heaven meets earth, on the altar, at the consecrated hands of the priest and before the entire congregation! I have to ask myself, am I in the 70% of unbelievers or the 30% of those who truly believe? My initial answer is, “Well of course, I believe!!” but my faith causes me to probe deeper into my heart and ask myself, “Do my thoughts, my words and my actions reflect that of someone who is truly in Communion with Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth? Each and every time I receive Him in Holy Communion, do I invite Him into the deepest recesses of my heart and allow myself to be transformed by His grace?”
As a daily communicant, I ponder these questions and I’m not proud to say that I can recall times when I have presented myself for Holy Communion when I have been distracted and going through the motions. Hardly someone who is giving thanks for the great gift of her Savior. And if I’m being honest, I’m sure there were times when I was not properly disposed, due to my sins, to receive our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist. These instances cause me not only to evaluate my conscience but to consider the magnitude of the Gift we have been given…the Sacrament which literally unites us with GOD!! How could I ever take such a Gift for granted? Sadly, sometimes I do. We all do. May the Lord have mercy on us.
During this Year of the Eucharist, let us each ponder in our hearts, the immense, overwhelming, and inconceivable Gift Who waits for us every time we walk into a Catholic Church. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is ALIVE! His Heart, fully present in the Most Holy Eucharist, beats with love for you and for me! O’ Come Let us Adore Him!
As we enter the Church, He humbly and quietly waits for us to acknowledge His Presence, in the tabernacle, on the altar at Eucharistic Adoration, or as we present ourselves to receive Him in Holy Communion. Are you truly ready? Does your heart leap with joy upon encountering Him, like the preborn John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb when he first met Jesus, in Mary’s womb?
Let us seek to put aside the many distractions that can creep into our daily lives. Cast aside the worries, concerns, fears and even the mundane chatter that often fills the pews and aisles of our Churches. Let us surrender, fully and completely, our minds, our hearts and our entire lives to our Lord and Savior in the Most Blessed Sacrament. May He transform our hearts to be like His Most Sacred Heart and together let us set this wounded world on fire with His Love!
Colleen M. Donohoe grew up as a cradle Catholic attending Catholic elementary and high school just North of Boston! Among her many role models in the faith are her beloved parents who this year celebrate 64 years of marriage! Colleen’s older brother, Stephen Donohoe, is an Archdiocesan priest serving as Pastor at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood, MA. Colleen answered God’s call to serve the Church in a variety of ways over the past 23 years but primarily in service to God as an educator in many Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. After spending many years in the classroom as a theology teacher and campus minister, she currently serves as the Associate Superintendent of Catholic Identity and Respect Life Educator for the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Schools Office. In addition, Colleen is the Boston area scheduling coordinator for international chastity and theology of the body speakers. Colleen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Salem State College and a Master of Arts Degree in Theology and Ministry from St. John’s Seminary Theological Institute in Boston.