Hide and Go Seek
“Happy is the soul that knows how to find Jesus in the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in all things!”
– St. Peter Julian Eymard
Who doesn’t love a good game of hide and go seek? Seriously. The hidden ones love to be found. The seeking one loves to find.
And so it is with our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Most people, even some Catholics, have no idea that He is even present there. I can admit, I did not even know His true presence in the Blessed Sacrament until I was into high school, when the LIFE TEEN youth ministry started at my church. Why was I never told that He was there until that time? It was a deep lack of catechesis on the part of my school, parish, and family, to say the least. But nevertheless, once I found out that He is truly present in the Eucharist, I began to really seek Him out. My life was changed.
Jesus waits for us behind a veil of bread, behind a veil of wine. He waits for us to come and adore him in the Prison of His love. He desires to be sought by us, to be found by us, and for us to have the joy of the seeker when we do find Him there.
“Do not think that Jesus Christ is forgetful of you, since he has left you,
as the greatest memorial and pledge of his love, himself in the Most Holy
Sacrament of the Altar.”
– St. Alphonsus Liguori
Who is this Jesus in the Eucharist?
The Eucharist is Jesus, our God, present entirely in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. This is made possible when our Priests say the words of Christ, instituted at the Last Supper: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. ” (Matthew 26:28). St. Peter Julian Eymard said that, “The Eucharist is the supreme love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven itself.”
Where do we find Him?
My simplest answer is your closest Catholic Church. He is there in the Tabernacle. If you are fortunate enough, there may be a perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel nearby where you can adore Him anytime of the day or of the night. But know, most of all that He is waiting for you there. He longs for you to visit Him. To receive Him worthily in Mass, and to adore Him in Adoration.
So what’s the big deal? Of what importance is the Eucharist to the Church?
The Eucharist is everything! The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch (Paragraph 1324).” The Eucharist builds up the Church, is the center of the life of the Church and worship in the Church, is central to the unity of the Church and is a call for the unity of the world.
Recieving Jesus in the Eucharist
We need to be properly disposed to received our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. This means having a conscience clear of mortal sin, and approaching our Lord to receive Him in a state of grace. How is this done? By ensuring we receive the Sacrament of Confession on a regular basis. We receive a general absolution during the Penitential rite at Mass, but we should still dispose ourselves properly by confessing our venial sin as well (even if there is no mortal sin that we have committed). Saint Paul says to the Corinthians: “Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to examine himself and only then eat of the bread or drink from the cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the body is eating and drinking his own condemnation” (1 Cor 11,27-29). Another way to ensure proper reception of our Blessed Lord is by preparing our hearts through personal prayer, both before and after Mass, as well as the time in between.
What good is the Eucharist?
This is like asking “what good is food to me?”
The power of the Eucharistic is like nothing else. Francis Cardinal Arinze summarizes it when he said that the Eucharist is the source of all vocations, it promotes growth in holiness, it promotes charity within our hearts toward others, and it is a source of witness and evangelization. It is Jesus. We are consuming God Himself who is Love Itself. Jesus nourishes us through giving Himself to us as the Bread of Life. The Eucharist also gives us eternal life: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:53-55).
May our reception of the Eucharist fill our hearts. May He transform us interiorly with His grace. Let Him do the work in your which He desires to do.
Let us believe wholeheartedly and unwaiveringly, drawing close to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and say with Saint Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? Only you have the words of everlasting life.”
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us that it is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven.”
– St. Jerome
For more information on living a Eucharistic Life, please click the following link to listen to the Podcast on “The Eucharistic Lifestyle”.