The Eucharist is a key to vocations, says author Vinny Flynn.
He says in his case, a spiritual hunger for the Eucharist has infused his life. Even as a child, he sensed that Our Lady somehow played a part in this new relationship he entered when he received first holy Communion.
He believes when Catholics really understand this sacrament, the Eucharist will radically change their lives, and this can transform the world.
Flynn’s new book, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist (published by MercySong with Ignatius Press), invites readers to recognize Christ in the breaking of the bread as the disciples on the road to Emmaus did.
Known as “the man who sings the Divine Mercy Chaplet on EWTN,” Flynn and his wife Donna now run MercySong Ministries of Healing (mercysong.com), which offers Eucharistic parish missions, retreats, talks and music. He recently spoke with Register correspondent Gail Besse about his ministry and his recent book.
The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is April 29. How does Eucharistic adoration promote vocations?
Recently at a parish mission, the pastor told us he had received his vocation during a Eucharistic procession. He had been away from the Church and had only attended the devotion at a relative’s request. Although he had no interest in what was happening, when the priest blessed him with the Eucharist, he heard an inner voice telling him he was to be a priest. He had never contemplated the priesthood, and it came as a total shock, but he knew immediately that this was for real. Jesus had called him from the Eucharist and given him the grace to change his life.
But I must add that, as wonderful as such dramatic healings may be, I’ve found that what the Lord told St. Faustina is true: “The greatest miracles of mercy take place in the confessional” (Diary, 1448). “Once people understand that we come to confession not just to be forgiven, but to be healed” (Diary, 377), everything changes.
In your title, “secrets” refer to known truths about the Eucharist that have been hidden somewhat because they haven’t been appreciated. Is that right?
Yes, in fact I was led to write the book because as I traveled around the country, I realized most people, even some daily communicants and those devoted to adoration, don’t really know what the Church teaches about the Eucharist.
Many priests told me they never learned this in the seminary, even though recent Popes [John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI] have all emphasized the Eucharist is central to their lives, to their ministry and to the life of the Church. I felt there was a great need to express this deep theology simply, with clear relevance to the daily life of the average person.
What are some of these truths that many of us know little about?
We’re invited to enter into Communion, not just to passively receive. The whole Holy Trinity is involved. Christ is truly present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in every particle of the Host and drop of Precious Blood. People need to understand the reality and importance of spiritual Communion, and how the Mass relates to them. Most importantly, they need to get the “so-what” aspect, meaning: “How does it all fit together,” and “How can it help me live my life?”
For example: Christ is alive, in his full divinity and in his full humanity, in the Eucharist. So what does this mean in my life? It means I have to be aware of how I receive him, and of all that I do.
What’s your own secret to having seven children who have all stayed close to the Lord? Was this through the power of the Eucharist?
Someday I’d like to write a book called Bring Your Kid to God. As each child was born, I couldn’t wait for the first time we could bring the baby to Mass. When I carried my baby in my arms as I received, I’d be in tears as I got back to my seat. I felt that just in the proximity to the Eucharist, there was a spiritual radiation going on. I believe we need to expose our children to holy people and holy realities. It just allows God to make up for all our failures as parents.
You’ve drawn many insights from St. Faustina’s Diary. What did Jesus tell her about how he is affected by how we receive the Eucharist?
Jesus said he comes to some souls reluctantly. When he comes to us in the Eucharist, his hands are full of so many graces that he wants to give us, and some people treat him like a dead object. But he told St. Faustina he was delighted to come to her because she received him so fully that she consoled him.
Actually, all the main elements of the Divine Mercy devotion are centered in the Eucharist, especially the image, the chaplet, and the feast of mercy. St. Faustina modeled what’s emphasized throughout the diary: the need for a personal, life-changing relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.
Do you see a connection between our diminished appreciation for the holy Eucharist and the loss of a sense of sin?
We’ve had a 40-year gap in solid CCD and RCIA teaching, and we’ve lost a sense of the body as a tabernacle. But I’m convinced we won’t stay illiterate, as the Eucharistic revival that Pope John Paul II called for is happening. People will be unpacking what he wrote on the Eucharist for years, and now we have Benedict’s apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity).
Are there other “secrets” you plan to write about in the future?
Oh yes. One is: To grow you must adore. We must adore before, while, and after we receive. We also have to adore the Eucharist outside of Mass. And Our Lady is the other secret. There’s a direct relation between Mary’s fiat and our “Amen.” The Annunciation was her first holy Communion. She was asked to believe that God himself lived in her. When we receive and say “Amen” we should be saying, “Yes, take flesh in me, Lord. Let me carry you to other people.” We should act like her, and bring Jesus in haste to someone else.
When we do, we become living monstrances.
writes from Boston.