There comes a time in our faith journey when we become cognizant of the fact that we yearn to deepen our relationship with God. Very often this occurs after a period of time in which we were so engrossed in our daily tasks, occupations, and responsibilities that we gradually lost contact with God. Hence, we discover that our limited discussions with the Lord lack the closeness and intimacy they once had and that our visits to the Lord at church occur with a paucity of fervor and reverence. However, the Holy Spirit touches our heart at a moment of grace to encourage us to search for the Lord with renewed passion. Not surprisingly, this often occurs when we come before the Bread of Life.
Many years ago, I experienced a period of spiritual dryness that was weakening my zeal for God and His service. At some point, I nervously acknowledged that it was vital that I spend more prayer time in church. I approached the Blessed Sacrament to pray, and, as I was praying before His divine presence, the Spirit of God helped me understand that I needed to deepen my relationship with the Lord. I remained there for Mass that day and attempted to pray attentively and fervently.
For the next several days and weeks I visited the tabernacle, remained for Mass, and prayed ardently. As I drew closer to Christ Jesus I became increasingly aware of how I had lost contact with God, and how depthless and superficial I had allowed my prayer and sacramental life to become. The presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament gradually renewed me, and our conversations slowly regained their previous closeness and intimacy as I attended daily Mass.
The Immense Value of the Holy Mass
As Catholics, we immensely value the celebration of the Mass because it is the central act of worship of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood, and it is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross on Calvary. Christ’s one-time sacrificial death on the cross is represented by the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist when the bread and the wine are consecrated separately in fulfillment of Jesus’ command to his disciples.
This celebration is offered for four reasons: (1) to adore our Creator God; (2) to thank Him for His numerous graces; (3) to make reparation for the many sins of humanity, and (4) to ask Him for the graces and blessings we need for our salvation. Certainly, it is our Catholic duty to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, even if they do not fall on a Sunday. Our attendance allows us to participate in the passion and death of our Crucified Christ, and in the resurrection of our Risen Lord.
Preparation for Receiving the Bread of Life
Nonetheless, many Catholics are discovering the immense richness of participating in daily Mass besides Sundays. These Catholics have seriously considered what happens at every Mass: God congregates His children in His house; He forgives us and listens to us; He speaks to our hearts through His Holy Word, and He accepts the offering of our lives in His hands. Finally, Christ offers us His very Body and Blood to transform, liberate, heal, strengthen, save, and sanctify us—great is His mercy and love for us!
Hence, there is no greater gift in this life than to receive the Holy Eucharist; when we do, we become one with Him. Consequently, daily Mass has become the effective solution for many Catholics that yearn to deepen their relationship with the Lord. They joyfully anticipate the opportunity to visit Him daily in His Church and receive His Eucharistic blessing.
Catholics must make every effort possible to prepare to worthily receive our Eucharistic Lord. How do we know if we are worthy to receive the Blessed Sacrament?
(1) We must be in the state of grace. In other words, we ought to be free from mortal sin.
(2) We must have been to confession since the last mortal sin we committed.
(4) We faithfully observe the Eucharistic fast and not eat or drink anything, including chewing gum, for an hour before receiving Communion, except for water and medicine.
(5) We must have made our first Communion, and
(6) We must be free fromexcommunication.
It is imperative that we approach and receive the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, with great humility, reverence and respect, and preferably on the tongue. However, if we receive Him by hand, we must carefully inspect them to be certain that not a tiny single particle of the sacred Host is left without being consumed, for Christ is truly present there.
Mary, Mother of the Holy Eucharist
The Blessed Mother was, in a sense, the first to receive the Holy Eucharist when she conceived Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, her prayers of intercession can facilitate a more fruitful experience for the communicant. I have discovered this after I began praying the following prayer every moment prior to encountering and receiving Holy Communion: “O most holy Mary, our Mother, unite your Immaculate Heart to my poor, unworthy heart, so that I may receive Christ united to your heart, and with your faith, hope, and love.” Certainly, we behold the great mystery of God’s Son giving us His flesh as true food and His blood as true drink at Mass. This offering of Himself to us is also a calling.
In addition to Christ Jesus approaching us in the sacraments so that we can meet, know, and love Him, He calls us through this encounter to follow and serve Him and to commit ourselves to Him, the Bread of Life. For this reason, we must have a personal and sacramental relationship with the God-among-us for His glory and for the sake of our own spiritual development. His words should encourage us: “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.” (Jn 6:51)
(Note: This post was originally published on August 10, 2016.)