After posting on a religious debate thread on Babycenter for several days explaining the logical nature of the Catholic faith, I decided to put myself out on a limb yesterday and opened myself up for personal criticism when I mentioned that I am in love with Christ in the Eucharist.
In thinking back about the way I approached the Eucharist for most of my life, I realize that it wasn't always awe and love. I would go through the motions, reciting the prayers of the Mass mindlessly and distracted, and approaching the altar to receive Communion with respect but taking it for granted. I barely thought about the meaning of the act when I put my hands out to receive Communion and then picked up the Host and put it my mouth.
Then I went to a Traditional Latin Mass. Everyone there kneeled to receive the Eucharist, and the altar server followed the priest with a paten that was put underneath the faithful's chin so that not one tiny crumb of the Precious Body would fall on the floor.
I watched, realizing the magnificence of what the careful actions of the priest and the altar server told me about the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist.
Jesus Christ, who is truly God, is present in the Eucharist in body, blood, soul and divinity.
What a momentous belief! God, who in His infinite goodness sent His son Jesus to redeem the world by the shedding of His most innocent Blood, allows us to have direct physical contact with Jesus Christ. By receiving the Eucharist, we physically receive Christ into our beings to sanctify us with His grace.
Suddenly, the reality of the Eucharist didn't seem so trivial.
What would be the implications of such a reality for all of us? What would this mean for those who, like me, were in search of a visible, tangible, unchangeable source of grace? What would this mean for those who were in search of . . . God?
It meant that Jesus, God incarnate, has been here all along, waiting for us to approach Him and receive Him into the entirety of our beings--physical body and spiritual soul.
Plainly put, that's . . . huge.
The Catholic Wife