The Holy Eucharist: for the spiritually blind, it is no more than a piece of bread displayed in a jewelled case called a monstrance. Yet for a heart filled with faith, it is God himself who “hidden” behind a thin veil, hears confessions, consoles, advises, gives hope, fills with peace, serenity, and joy.
Newsdesk (02/06/2021 12:04, Gaudium Press) In our present times, beset by pandemics, anxieties, uncertainties, anguish, and above all by offences against God. We do well to heed the warning of St. John Paul II: “The culture of death wants to destroy purity of heart”. (Homily of 12/6/1999).
Indeed, St. John Paul II referred to civilization today with the terrible title “culture of death” , and stated that: “One of its strategies is deliberately to create doubt about the value of the human attitude which we call the virtue of chastity.”
This is one of the reasons why humanity today, although seeking peace cannot find it, because an essential condition for peace is purity of body and heart.
It was with a view to obtaining this peace of soul, St. John Paul II always encouraged the faithful:
“Do not be afraid to live in a way contrary to fashionable opinions, and ways of life in conflict with God’s law.”
The Holy Father urged effort, but he knew how arduous it is to walk in the ways of the Lord. That is why he advised:
“In order to gain victory in this battle, man must turn to Christ. He will be able to win only if he is strengthened by His power, by the power of His Cross and His resurrection. ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’ (Ps 51:12), exclaims the Psalmist, conscious of his own weakness, for he knows that to be righteous in God’s eyes human effort alone is not enough.”.
“Deus qui ponit pondus, supponit manum“, says the proverb: “God holds with His hand the one on whom he lays a weight”. Among the innumerable supernatural aids that Providence grants to men, there is one that is the greatest of all.
In fact, the Lord himself comes to meet the faithful, to reinvigorate them and offers them the “Bread of the strong”, the “fountain of life”, the Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the God-Man himself.
Who among us does not wish to have a confidant with whom we can confide our problems and difficulties, our joys and anxieties? Well, this is what happens with the Eucharist: God enters into us, like someone visiting his best friend. Only this friend with whom we converse is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ!
Really, it is hard to imagine something greater…
And to lay more emphasis on the greatness of the gift offered to humanity, He willed that the feast of Corpus Christi be instituted.
The purpose of this celebration, which is over seven centuries old, is to solemnly thank the Eucharistic Jesus for having wished to remain with us until the end of time. What greater intimacy, what greater grace is there than to be able to receive Him under the species of bread and wine.
Thus, let us never fail to have recourse to this divine nourishment which invigorates and forms heroes of faith, whatever the circumstances.
What is required to receive Holy Communion reverently?
Let us remember what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
To receive Holy Communion one must be fully incorporated into the Catholic Church and in the state of grace, that is, without consciousness of mortal sin.
Whoever is conscious of having committed mortal sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion. May it never happen that He visits a soul that is not properly prepared!
Also of importance is a spirit of recollection and prayer, the observance of the fast prescribed by the Church, and also the bodily attitude (gestures, dress) as a sign of respect for Christ.
Let us celebrate Corpus Christi, always seeking to increase our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament who is waiting for us every day to listen to us, help us, sustain us and sanctify us.
Text taken, with adaptations, from the magazine Heralds of the Gospel n. 6, June 2002.