I want to thank Jesus today, very simply, for giving me the Eucharist. Yes: giving me! I know He gives it to everyone, but my experience of everyone receiving the Eucharist comes through my own personal reception. He gives it to me; He gives it to us all. Through our reception of the Eucharist, we are bound together in His Body. It’s like becoming blood brothers (I recall Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn’s little ceremony), only it’s Christ’s blood that unites us, which makes for a much stronger tie!
However, I must confess that most days what I am most grateful for in the Eucharist is the opportunity to get really close to Jesus. I know, too, that whenever I approach the Eucharist begging Him to fill my heart and to set in order everything that I’ve made wonky since my last reception of Him, He does so infallibly. Often I will come to Mass with an inner storm raging (my concerns! my worries! my fears! my inordinate love for His creatures or things of the world!), and I confess these things frequently distract me throughout the Mass; but in those moments when I am focused, I ask God to help me give myself to Him and I beg Him to come to me. If I offer Him myself in this way, then when I am walking up to receive Him, the recognition of my unworthiness and His merciful invitation are almost enough to bring me to tears. Then comes the glorious moment: Amen! Ah! Jesus has come to me! He has rebuked the storms! My heart is calm with tremendous joy, for I do not know a more perfect moment in life when I am aware of the fulfilment of my deepest longing to love and to be loved.
I feel as simple as a child, as Antonietta Meo, whose six-year-old reflections you also may have recently read in the Magnificat:
“Dear Jesus, today I’m going out and I’m going to my nuns to tell them I want to make my First Communion at Christmas. Jesus, come soon into my heart and I’ll hug you very tight and kiss you. O Jesus, I want you to stay for ever in my heart”… “Dear Jesus, I love you so much, I want to tell you again I love you so much. I give you my heart.”
I walk away from the Eucharist with His courage in my heart. Now I can face the world! To be honest, I do not know how I could survive without the Eucharist. The more I recognize how much is given to me in the Eucharist, the more I feel the need to receive Him as often as I can. A week? My goodness! When the Church demands that we go to Mass once a week and insists on reception of the Eucharist at least once a year, she is only demanding of us what is necessary for barely surviving! If we really want to live, and not merely survive, we simply cannot go without frequent reception of Our Lord. It is not a question of piety, it is a question of basic necessity!
Jesus, I thank You for the gift of the Eucharist.