Getting the Eucharist

A while back, I wrote a piece on the Sacrament of the Eucharist. What I’d like to do now is share with you a personal story about my first real “revelation” surrounding this beautiful and holy Sacrament. 

It happened roughly six months after my conversion. I was sitting in Mass with my wife, trying to pay attention while simultaneously attempting to contain my fidgety baby boy.  At that point in my Catholic life, I had long since accepted Church teaching on the Eucharist. I had read the scripture, the books, the essays, I’d attended Mass, discussed it in RCIA, and I fully believed that it was the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday since I was confirmed, I knew that when I stepped up to the front of the communion line, I was receiving Christ.

But here’s the thing, I spent years as a Southern Baptist drinking grape juice and eating tiny crackers made of sawdust believing that the whole “This is my Body” ordeal was a just a big ‘ol symbol for…something. Despite the fact that I really and truly did believe that the Eucharist was the body and blood of Christ, I still felt like there was a mental block somewhere. It was like I understood it, but I didn’t fully get it. Get it?

So, I prayed. I prayed at every Mass for Christ to reveal himself to me through the Eucharist. I wanted him to break me, punch me in the gut, and make me see this sacrifice for what it really is.

That particular Sunday was no different. I said a little prayer from my kneeler, and when it was time to get up, I made my way to the Communion line.

I can’t remember the hymn, but I do remember it being really beautiful and touching. As I slowly walked behind my wife to the front of the Church, I felt compelled to look upwards at the enormous, incredibly detailed crucifix hanging above. (Seriously, this thing is a piece of work)

It wasn’t the first time I’d ever looked upon our crucifix, and it certainly wasn’t my first time seeing a depiction of Christ on the cross. But for whatever reason, I started meditating on the passion and focusing on whom that really was hanging there, nailed to two pieces of wood, broken, bloodied, and humiliated.

It wasn’t just some guy named Jesus. It wasn’t some troublemaker, or revolutionary, or some pest to Rome. It wasn’t just a teacher, or a prophet, or a “really good dude”. That was God, my God, the creator of the universe, who is love, who is truth, who spoke our world into existence. He made himself flesh, and let his very own creation strip him, beat him, and kill him. And for what?

Us. Me. You. The entire human race: an undeserving group of sinful, selfish, ignorant, stupid people who are entirely deserving of Hell and eternal separation from God. But lucky for us, our Lord loves us so much that He, an all knowing, all powerful, omniscient, eternal being that exists outside of time itself, became man through Christ and died for us.

It’s like when a parent takes responsibility for something really stupid that their child did, except multiplied by infinity.

I was gazing up at the crucifix with those vivid thoughts burning in my head, and I realized that it was my turn to receive. I stepped up, bowed, and Father presented the Body to me.

“The Body of Christ.”

It wasn’t the first time those words had been spoken to me, but it was the first time I think I’d ever heard them, and I mean really heard them.

The. Body. Of. Christ.

In my imperfect, undeserving hands, I held the Body of Christ.

Our God didn’t just sacrifice himself for us; He took it a step further. He gave us his body to take and eat. EAT! To ingest, chew, swallow, and put in our imperfect, human bodies. He offered himself to us—totally, fully, unconditionally—so that we could feed our spiritual hunger, so that we could have salvation. That’s how much He loves us.

How could we possibly comprehend that?

I took the body. I ate it. I went back to my seat, and I prayed. Hard. I was broken. You get what you ask for, I guess.

As someone who’s been at least somewhat of a Christian his entire life, I’d spoken about the love of God before. I’d written about it. I’d shared it. But this was the first time I’d ever really felt it. It was the first time I looked that realization in the face, and saw the infinite, unfathomable love that God has for me—for all of us.

There’s that gut punch.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface of the truth and theology behind the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This is just how Christ revealed it to me. This is how he answered my prayers. I think what I find so special about this revelation is that there was no bright light, no vision, no voice. It was quiet, gentle, yet humbly overwhelming.

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.

Through all of this, what became abundantly clear to me is that I don’t need to understand everything about my faith right this very moment. It’s easy to get discouraged, or bothered, or frustrated when we don’t really get something, but it’s important to remember that salvation is a journey, and everyone’s is different. Even the Twelve Disciples had trouble understanding at times. We just need to trust that God knows what he’s doing and open ourselves to Him. If we can do that much, he will deliver every time.

 

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13 thoughts on “Getting the Eucharist

  1. Great post. It’s always inspiring to read the words of Catholic converts. You’re always the most intense and devout! Thank you for your contribution.

  2. What I love about this post that is so true is that revelation comes in fits and spurts to us when we are living a life of faith. This is what is so hard to describe to people who have left God and despise religion. Over time God does reveal and make clear things that puzzle us, things we believe but don’t really understand. And then, even though we then understand better, we are just as unable to transmit our understanding through words as were those who explained it to us. But this experience is common to anyone who has stuck with faith in God and prays. It sometimes happens with passages of scripture, sometimes with a doctrine. It is always safer to believe and trust even though we don’t understand.

    • If you read my first post I discuss briefly how I fell away from God for a short time. But it was, honestly, through a lot of tragedy, combined with an undeserving amount of grace (my wife for example) that I found my way back to Him, and ultimately His Church. I think if a lot of us who are serious about our faith go back and examine our walk, regardless of how bumpy it may be or have been, we’ll see the little revelations all along that we never caught on to. Thanks for reading!

  3. Re: not understanding everything about our faith right now…I LOVE the Church’s concept of mystery, the understanding that we won’t fully understand the faith this side of heaven.

    We should expect the workings of an infinite God to be more than we can fully grasp. Among other things, it makes our brothers and sisters more necessary and useful to us, when their insights can help us get closer to understanding some aspect of the Faith that eludes or puzzles us, or reminds us of something we know but forget…

  4. Honestly, i envy your naivess. I’m cradle Catholic, and always been very, very faithfull.
    In return, God ruined my life in so many ways.
    Now I have no single grain of faith left.

    • I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve met in your life. Whatever it means to you, I’ll pray for you.

      I wouldn’t call it naivety, though. I’ve been through the darker side of life myself. I’ve seen the “real world” and reveled in it. In the past, I’ve lost my faith and claimed there was no God. But I found my way back. And it wasn’t through some evangelical revival. It wasn’t through a missionary, or a indoctrination, or a witness, or anything of the sort. There was just a light, and it led me out of the darkness.

  5. I have tears dripping down my face. I rarely read anything that does that to me. What a wonderful experience you were blessed with. I’m so glad you shared this.

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