The Meaning of the Holy Eucharist

With the feast of The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ near, I felt very blessed to have come across this Homily from Father Jim Hogan. The entire message was inspiring, but I especially loved these words: “…The Eucharist is not something we watch.  It is something we do.  Eucharist is not a sacred object we receive.  We realized Eucharist is what we are!” This is the meaning of the Holy Eucharist.

As we come to Church to commemorate the institution of the blessed sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and thank Jesus for his sacrifice at the cross, may we also remember our duties as ransomed sons and daughters of God. May we remember what it truly means to eat and drink the blood of Christ.

As St. Augustine said, “We who eat and drink the sacrament of Christ’s life become that which we eat and drink.  We eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.  That is what we become.”

May others sense in us our union with our Savior as we come out of every Eucharistic celebration–not only through the words we preach, but more importantly through our deeds. The meaning of the Holy Eucharist is something all Catholics should understand and revere.

The Eucharist: The Meaning of God’s Gift to All Catholics

Catholics receive the Eucharist when they go up to the alter to receive the bread and wine. This is a representation of the Last Supper when Jesus said the bread was his body and the wine was his blood and extended them to his disciples.

The Importance of the Eucharist to Catholics

Receiving the bread and wine during communion is an important part of being a Catholic. It reminds us that we are part of God’s life. We are much like the disciples that sat with Jesus on that sacred Last Supper day.

Why We Need the Eucharist

But why do we need this reminder every time we go to Mass? We need it because without taking in the body and blood of Jesus, we tend to succumb to the demands of life and forget what we really need to concentrate on.

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to material possessions. We work so we can afford to live a lifestyle that is much more than we need. We stress about things that are not what God wants us to stress about. We fail to do what God wants us to do in our life, which is to follow Him.

When we go to church, we take time to reflect on our life. We put God back into our life and remember what we haven’t done in accordance to Him. We then think of what we can do in the coming days to follow His path. We correct our lives and bring back the true meaning of life.

The Eucharist is the final confirmation that we have God inside of us. When we leave the church, the body and blood we received remains with us. God remains with us. Being able to take our reflections and the symbolism of the bread and wine gives us what we need to follow the scriptures.

Human beings are not perfect. We may try our hardest to do what is right in accordance with God but we make mistakes and we succumb to temptations. God knows this…He cares for us though. As long as we actively try to improve our life and do what is right by Him he forgives us for our faults. He sees the good in us. He sees our soul.

Many people stay away from church because of the guilt they feel from not doing what they should do but what these people need is the Eucharist. They need the reminder that they have God with them always and even though they haven’t been doing the best lately, they can always change their path when God is with them.

How to Bring the Meaning of Eucharist into Your Life

The next time you receive the Eucharist, remember how you are taking in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Feel Him inside of you, caring for you and loving you. Having someone with you at all times whom only wants the best for you can make you live a deeper spiritual life.

Keeping Your Spiritual Diet Healthy: How the Eucharist Can Help

“You are what you eat”. This old saying has been used many times, often to encourage a healthy diet. However a blog I found today called Catholic Sistas gave me a new outlook on the old saying. The author Erika talked in her post titled, “You Are What You Eat”, about how at a recent Mass the priest used this saying during his homily. He stated, “You are what you eat in most instances, but not with the Eucharist”, and explained that, “while we transform our regular food, the Eucharist transforms us”. I thought this was such a powerful, moving, and cleverly constructed statement. The post goes on to describe how keeping your spiritual diet healthy is beneficial. I am very glad to have found Catholic Sistas and you should all check out this post as soon as possible!

More about Silence

I just read a post by a young woman talking about the “quiet” of the Catholic Church as opposed to the Presbyterian church she recently visited in the South.

One of her comments really struck me. She said “I think if we actually believed that Christ was there, all our attention would be focused on Him”. I don’t think she meant this to be a question of Catholic teaching, it was a personal question for us to consider invidually. Our Catholic faith tells us HE is really there. We know this and it’s the reason we offer the sacrifice of the Mass to Him. I admitted I would remember her comment the next time I felt the urge to be “chatty” (see my previous post) in church.

My children attend Catholic Grammar School and families join them for First Friday Mass each month. It’s so exciting as the children enter the church, there are hundreds of smiles, giggles, feet stomping, kneelers falling and a restlessness you can actually feel. There is quite a bit of “Shushing” going on too. The entire Student Body is then reminded that they are in the presence of our Lord and should remain quiet and in prayer. I think that might be what has gotten lost over the years, prayer before Mass begins. Mass was not intended to be a place to “catch-up”. We come to church to give thanks to the Lord and participate in the Eurcharist.

Catholics are often considered “unwelcoming” to other Christians and maybe that’s because we do behave differently while at Mass. It’s wonderful to see the groups of people gathered outside the Church after Mass saying hello, shaking hands even giving one another hugs. We are friendly. We are supportive of each other. I won’t include those that almost run you over getting out of the parking lot to be first in line at the bakery (that’s where I assume they’re headed anyway).

Does your parish have a gathering center that people meet after Mass? My parish hosts Hospitality Sunday gathering once per month but I bet there are some that do this weekly? Would you like your church community to offer something like this?

I’m thankful that I was given this rather gentle reminder to reconsider my reverance while in the church, both before and after Mass. I hope this might be an Advent reflection for you as well.

Slouchers and Wobblers Sending Wrong Message at Mass

“Since I was taught to go to Communion when I was small, I’ve noticed a troubling trend in the way people get in line to approach the Eucharist.

When I was taught to receive Holy Communion, the nuns made a huge deal out of the way we walked. We were to remain straight and rigid, moving forward gently but precisely when it came time to move forward. When they looked at us second graders from either the front or the back, everyone’s head was in a straight line, as we stayed perfectly lined up at all moments.

Now, I cannot get that same experience. When I am in a Communion line, people waddle from side to side more than they move forward. The result is that there is a disorganized movement of heads back and forth which looks, to people with training like what I had, as very careless and sloppy. Instead of Catholics lined up as soldiers to receive their spiritual meal, they look like fish circling or something.” – “Weebles Wobble in Communion Line”, Catholic Answers Forum

This post is all about something that I too have noticed in the Catholic Church recently. I do not like the way that people “waddle from side to side” either, and it doesn’t stop there. I also am not a fan of the way that people hold themselves in general while receiving the Eucharist and sitting at Mass. Too often I have seen people slouched down in their seats or dragging their feet and slouching up to receive Communion. They are at church after all and they should be able to hold themselves in a prideful manner while they are there. Just a little something I have been meaning to get off my chest for a while, and this article really reminded me of it.

Receiving Eucharist on Tongue Causing Troubles

I found this posting over on The Catholic Answers Forum and thought it was worth sharing. I have never received the Eucharist on my tongue, but I have seen others attempt to. This person is concerned with how to go about doing this act correctly.

“Since my reception into the Church a few months ago I have wanted to receive Communion on the tongue, but every time I attempt this, it doesn’t go very well and I end up reverting to receiving in the hand. The first time, the EMHC touched my tongue with her hand. My latest attempt resulted in the EMHC (a different one) hitting me in the mouth. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I have practiced in the mirror to make sure I’m opening my mouth wide enough and sticking out my tongue enough (looks rather silly, but anyway) but I always feel rushed when receiving Communion and so I’m not really sure if I’m doing it right then. Advice?” – “Difficulties Receiving on the Tongue”

This particular Catholic has been having problems with receiving the Eucharist on their tongue. While this is totally allowed in the Catholic Church is has become somewhat uncommon. So when receiving the sacrament from an EMHC, or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, one might run into trouble like this post gets into. A quick solution to this might be just going to the priest during Communion instead of the EMHC. I do not see why this person wants so badly to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, but power to them. If you ask me I say it’s going to end up in my mouth anyway, so what if it takes a little side-track to my palm first. I would much rather feed myself, but to each their own I suppose.