Two weeks after celebrating Pentecost, and more than eight weeks after Easter, to the casual observer who was to look at the daily life of many Christians, it would appear that they, along with the rest of the world, have “moved on” from remembering the great mysteries that were celebrated on the high feast days of the Sacred Triduum.
For Roman Catholics, however, the liturgical year of the Church brings the great mysteries that are celebrated during the Sacred Triduum back to the forefront of our consciousness, particularly through the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi–or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
In this article from the National Catholic Register, the most famous, as well as some of most recent Eucharistic miracles are examined, revealing that the reality of our Lord’s Real Presence in Holy Eucharist–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity–continues to be reaffirmed through scientific evidence.
This evidence is of great value for everyone, because God in His mysterious ways not only helps those who doubt, but also helps those who believe. How? By giving us continued evidence of the depth and height and length and breadth of His love for us that He can be found even in most simple and fundamental of created things–bread and wine.
For me, Holy Eucharist is precious gift because it reminds and makes present to me my Beloved’s inordinate and profound love for me. The love that led Him to sacrifice His life on the cross, not merely in atonement for my sins, but to redeem me–out of love.
Too often, we forget that the word redeem has two meanings. The first, and more commonly focused upon meaning is “to compensate for the faults, or bad aspects of (something)” like “A disappointing debate was redeemed by an outstanding speech.” But the second meaning of redeem, “to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment” is far more insightful in regards to God’s love for us.
Because we can see how valuable and precious we are in the eyes of God. So precious that God offered His only Son for us. Not because we were that bad. No, because we are that loved.
You see, Jesus didn’t want us to remain apart from Him. No, Jesus wanted it to be possible for each of us to enter into transforming union with Him. In our daily prayer as we converse with Him. In the midst of our daily lives through the people, things, and events that surround us. But especially in the precious gift of Holy Eucharist.
But I can forget. I can get caught up in the day to day–all the busyness, all the things to do that seem so pressing–bills to pay, groceries to buy, meals to make, laundry to fold, dogs to walk, children to get to school, etc–and I lose sight of the precious nature of what it is that I receive.
So one of the ways that I use to help me appreciate and enjoy the gift is Thanksgiving After Communion.
For those of you not familiar with this, it is simply the practice of spending a short amount of time, like 3-5 minutes, when we intentionally give thanks for the great gift that God has just given us, and try to immerse ourselves in His love for us.
So instead of turning around and talking to your neighbors in the pew after the final blessing, or hurrying to get to the parking lot, just take a moment or two and kneel (or sit) down quietly and spend a short amount of time giving thanks to our Lord for the great grace that you’ve just been given.
A wonderful image to keep in mind is from the Last Supper. Of when the Beloved Disciple, John, laid his head on the breast of Jesus after receiving the first Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. We, too, have just received Jesus, and we, too, can strive to lay our head upon the breast of Jesus in a similar way. For me, I love the idea of being enveloped and luxuriating in Jesus’ great love for me.
And as I have done this over time, my awareness and appreciation of this great gift has grown enormously, so I highly recommend it to you, especially when we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi.
So enjoy the gift. And make sure to luxuriate in His love for you.
Christina Semmens is a Roman Catholic author, blogger, speaker and mentor. She currently lives in Fort Payne, Alabama where she strives to live out a life of authentic discipleship in the pursuit of holiness while encouraging, teaching and accompanying others in striving to do the same. You can find out more about Christina and her ministry efforts at www.sayyestoholiness.com. Or sign up up for her weekly Say Yes to Holiness newsletter here.