Monday, September 16, 2013
“The Eucharist is the centre and source of grace: therefore, it must be the very keystone of the Christian life and Evangelization. The most ardent activity will accomplish nothing of value if it forgets for a moment that its main object is to establish the reign of the Eucharist in all hearts. For thereby is fulfilled the purpose for which Jesus came into the world. That purpose was to communicate Himself to souls so that he might make them one with Him. The means of that communication is chiefly the Holy Eucharist. "I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (Jn 6:51-52)
This Eucharist is a Person. It is Someone. It is the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity. That is the drawing power of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we have the glorified humanity of Christ and therefore His human heart directly and personally focused on each one of us in Holy Communion and in adoration outside the time of Mass. And we have the infinite, intimate life of the Trinity offered to us to share in. The generosity of God in the Eucharist is staggering.
I think of the words of Pope John Paul II: 'As we contemplate the Eucharist we are filled with the wondering faith, not only concerning the mystery of God and his boundless love, but also concerning the mystery of the human person. In the presence of the Eucharist the words of the Psalmist come spontaneously to our lips. 'What is man that you care for him?' What great value the human person has in the eyes of God, if God himself feeds him with His Body! What vast spaces the human heart conceals within itself if they can be filled only by God! You have made us for yourself, O God' we confess with St. Augustine, 'and our heart is restless until it rests in you.' When a Christian leads a person to the Eucharist he leads them to Jesus Christ in Person. We cannot do anything more fundamental and precious than that. To meet Jesus is to meet all our deepest needs and to know what it really is to be loved. In the Eucharist we are not only brought intimately into the presence of God but we are also invited to eat and drink at his table. He feeds us with his very own life.
Thus, we are only hinting at some of the riches of the Eucharist as the Real Presence. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is not just a physical and real nearness of Jesus to us. It is a relation of person to person through the mediation of the Body of Christ. It is a spiritual rapport with Jesus, full of personal attention to us, full of love and willingness to help and to befriend us. So the Real Presence is both personal and relational. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of friendship between Jesus and us mediated through his bodily presence.”
Adapted from “The Legion and the Eucharist” by Fr. Bede McGregor O.P. Spiritual Director to the Legion of Mary