We are challenged to return to an amazement with the Eucharist. The Church is fed and enlightened by the Eucharist. We get our life from it. John chapter 6 verse 51 states, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Secret #1 The Eucharist is Alive!
St. Faustina in her diary shares this comment from the Lord
“When I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, my hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul, but souls do not even pay attention to me. They leave me to myself and busy themselves with other things … They treat me as a dead object.”
We fail to recognize what we are doing, what is happening, and what has the potential for happening when we partake in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is how God chose o stay with us! We need to recognize who this is! We receive the living God! Believing this should change our experience of the Mass. A French atheist is quoted as saying, “If you Catholics really believed what you say you believe (the “real presence), you would crawl on your hands and knees to get to Him.”
Secret #2 Christ is not alone!
The Council of Trent defined the Eucharist as the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. You can not divide Christ. Whether you receive the “the body of Christ” or “the blood of Christ” or both species, you receive all of Him. You cannot divide Christ! When we receive, we receive Christ in His humanity and in His divinity. We receive the Trinity, though only Christ is present sacramentaly. The Church is united through the Eucharist. It is called communion by many. We should be in common union with our beliefs and our understanding of the Church’s teachings accepting all that she teaches.
Secret #3 There is only one Mass!
Somewhere in the world at every moment of every day Mass is being celebrated. We physically see our earthly priests act in “persona Christi” (in the person of Christ). During the Mass, a veil is lifted and we become a part of heaven where Mass is being held and Jesus is the high Priest. We join the choirs of angels in their unending song of Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord. The pascal mystery never stops. Jesus is forever offering himself for you and me. Jesus saw each of us while on the cross and died for our sake.
Secret #4 Not just one miracle!
St Maximilian Kolbe is quoted as saying, “If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”
Pope Leo XIII in an encyclical letter on the Eucharist wrote, “Indeed, in it alone is contained, in a remarkable richness and variety of miracles, all supernatural realities.”
What are all these miracles? We will never as humans be able to comprehend them. Again, St. Faustina in her diary wrote, “The miracles of mercy are impenetrable. Neither the sinner nor the just one will fathom them.” Being able to list and understand this variety of miracles is not the point. Recognizing the complexities of the Eucharistic mystery and reflecting on whatever glimpses we catch of these miracles is. A few examples of these miracles which have already been noted include, Christ is truly alive and present in the Eucharist, during each Mass we become a part of heaven, through the Eucharistic sacrifice we as Catholics are all united.
Secret #5 We don’t just receive!
Our “receiving” is not supposed to be passive! We are to be entering in to communion. This requires an active involvement. It is not enough to consume. In addition to this outward act, it is about what is going on inside of each of us before, during, and after we receive. Mother Teresa said, “The Eucharist involves more than just receiving; it also involves satisfying the hunger of Christ. He says “Come to me.” He is hungry for souls.”
Pope Benedict wrote, “Receiving Communion means entering in to communion with Christ.” We are not receiving something – we are receiving Him!
St. Cyril of Jerusalem used the image of melted wax to convey our union with Christ in the Eucharist. Throw melted wax into melted wax and the one interpenetrates the other perfectly. In the same way, when the Body and Blood of Christ are received, the union is such that Christ is in the recipient and he in Christ.
Secret #6 Every reception is different!
There is an absolute relationship between how I receive and what I receive. What we receive is dependent upon our attitude. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that “in a “false person”, the sacrament does not produce any effect.” We are “false” when the inmost self does not correspond to what is expressed externally. The sacrament of the Eucharist is an external sign that Christ is incorporated into the one who receives him and he into Christ. One is “false” if in his heart he does not desire this union and does not try to remove every obstacle to it.
St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the blood of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
Each time we receive it can be significantly different. Our spiritual disposition before, during, and after we receive will determine whether the sacrament will produce good fruit in us and to what degree, have no effect at all, or result in our condemnation.
Secret #7 There is no limit to the number of times we can receive!
No the rule hasn’t changed about limiting our physical reception to twice a day (without certain exceptions). Rather, there are two ways of receiving. St, Thomas calls the two types – sacramental and spiritual. Spiritual eating is when our sacramental eating is accompanied by a real longing for union with Christ. We thus receive not only the sacrament itself, but the sacramental effect by which we are spiritually joined to
Christ in faith and love.
St. Thomas explains that “this complete spiritual Communion can even take place when we are unable to receive sacramentally, because the effect of the sacrament can be secured if it is received by desire.” This is about uniting our heart with the heart of Jesus. Spiritual communion is not a substitute for sacramental Communion, but a very real anticipation and extension of its fruits. St. Francis de Sales and St. Maximilian Kolbe each resolved to enter in to spiritual Communion at least every fifteen minutes.
When you say “Amen” when receiving you are saying that you believe that Jesus Christ and the Trinity want to take flesh in you. Do you understand what you are saying and if so, do you mean what you say?