Revived in the Eucharist: Jesus Calls to Our Hearts
For our spiritual survival, we absolutely need our Lord Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist.
One Sunday morning, many years ago, my 3-year-old daughter broke away from my hand and took off like the wind — running as fast as her half-pint legs would carry her — right back to the church. She desperately wanted to receive Holy Communion and was entirely baffled as to why she was left out during Mass. She loved Jesus, after all, and was determined to go and get him! I managed to catch up with my little speedy one and did my best to explain to her that she too, would be able to receive her dear Lord Jesus in Holy Communion when she was a bit older.
In much earlier history, a 5-year-old boy went missing. After a frantic search, his sisters finally found him up on a stool near the tabernacle in the church. He told them, “I am here listening to Jesus.” This would be St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), a lover of the Blessed Sacrament. Later, he had said, “Love our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Visit him often. Dedicate yourselves entirely to love the Blessed Virgin and to the interior life.”
Here we are now, living in an era when Pew Research has revealed that only 31% of Catholics believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We might wonder: Where are our child-like hearts? Where is our faith? What has happened to us? Why aren’t we running to Jesus?
It surely wasn’t easy for the first followers of Jesus. They loved Jesus and were devoted to him, but were utterly perplexed upon hearing his words. “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body. … Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood …” (see Mark 14:22-25). Many of the disciples fled due to fear and confusion when Jesus told them to eat his Body and drink his Blood.
Yet, Jesus told them succinctly, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (see John 6:53).
And now, more than 2,000 years later, we possess the amazing treasury of teachings from Holy Mother Church, but alas, we are bombarded by a lopsided darkened culture that contradicts and cancels our Christianity. It’s no wonder that so many are confused or are in disbelief these days about the absolute True Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Our Lord Calls Us
Jesus promised to stay with us — to be present to us. We know that he is present in prayer (see Matthew 18:20) and in the sacraments, in the Scriptures and in the priest. Jesus tells us that he is also present in the unfortunate, the poor, sick, lonely, imprisoned and so on (see Matthew 25:31-46) and he tells us to take care of them as we would take care of him.
The Catechism instructs that Jesus is “wholly and entirely present” to us in the Eucharist (see CCC 1374). The Eucharist is not a symbol or mere remembrance of the Last Supper.
Our Lord calls us to keep him company, to sit at his feet, to listen to his whispers to our soul. The night before his Crucifixion, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to stay awake while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus suffered greatly there. When he checked on his disciples, he asked Peter, “Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37).
Jesus knew prayer was necessary, especially at that time. He specifically asked his disciples to pray. They were tired after their leisurely Passover meal, however, and had trouble keeping their eyes open; and they fell asleep. Have we fallen asleep too?
Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ calls to our hearts. He humbles himself in the form of bread — a simple Host — in order to be available to us — to remain with us, to heal our wounded hearts, and to nourish us with his abiding and incomprehensible Love and Mercy. He gives to us his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! What a supreme gift!
Food for the Journey
St. John Paul II told us, “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.” He also tells us in Ecclesia Eucharistia, “The Eucharist, as Christ's saving presence in the community of the faithful and its spiritual food, is the most precious possession which the Church can have in her journey through history.” Additionally, he said, “The most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread.”
For our spiritual survival, we absolutely need our Lord Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom I was blessed to know personally, expressed that she and the Missionaries of Charity Sisters needed to receive the broken Body of Jesus every morning in the Eucharist at holy Mass in order to receive the strength and grace required to go out and care for the broken bodies of the poor.
We receive unfathomable strength and healing through the faithful and contrite reception of the Eucharist and when adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament — whether exposed in the monstrance or reserved in the tabernacle. As St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars (1786–1859) used to say, “Our Lord is hidden there in the tabernacle, waiting for us to come to visit him and make our requests to him.” The Curé of Ars tells us that we might not dare approach him if he had presented himself to us in all his glory. Often during his homilies, St. John Vianney glanced at the tabernacle and passionately cried out, “He is there!”
Yes, Jesus is there! He calls to us and awaits our visits. In my new book, 30 Marian Eucharistic Visits: Adoring Jesus With His Mother (EWTN Publishing), I suggest: “Let’s ask our Mother Mary to help us stay awake; to help us to spend time with her Son; to help us to grow more in love with him.”
A Beacon of Light to the World
Thank God that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has instituted a time of Eucharistic Revival. We are certainly blessed to live in these present times — times of turmoil and disbelief, yet an amazing grace-filled opportunity for the 31% to become an amazing Eucharistic presence — a beacon of light and love to others who are struggling in our darkened world. St. Faustina has said that Jesus remained in her until her next Holy Communion. We can be his living tabernacles.
Let us wholeheartedly adore Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and seek him in those who suffer. Our Lord is counting on us. With child-like faith, let us humbly run to him. Through his grace, let us become great witnesses of hope and healing to our weary world.
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN TV Host, international speaker, award-winning journalist, and best-selling Author of 35 books, including 30 Marian Eucharistic Visits: Adoring Jesus with His Mother and The Kiss of Jesus, www.donnacooperoboyle.com.