BE MINDFUL OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE BY FOSTERING GREATER REVERENCE.
I spend a lot of time in churches, especially going back and forth from the
sanctuary to the sacristy. There is a lot of work involved to set up the altar area
and put out books. I hate to say it, but sometimes because it is so routine, it is
easy for me to become lazy in my Eucharistic reverence. Instead of genuflecting,
I might make a simple head bow. When I realize that I’m lacking in reverence, I
redouble my efforts to make sure I genuflect when passing by the tabernacle.
REMEMBER THAT CHRIST IS PRESENT IN EVERY TABERNACLE.
How often do you drive by a Catholic church? On your commute to work, do you travel by multiple churches? Each time you pass one, make the sign of the cross. It’s a simple action, but it’s a good reminder that Jesus has made his home in the church. Even when passing by, we can demonstrate devotion and belief. When we genuflect, saying a prayer such as “Jesus, I adore you” can strengthen our belief. Also, when we find ourselves at Mass, remembering that Christ is present in the church, we can hold discussions to a minimum before and after Mass, unless we’re outside of the church’s nave. work involved to set up the altar area and put out books. I hate to say it, but sometimes because it is so routine, it is easy for me to become lazy in my Eucharistic reverence. Instead of genuflecting, I might make a simple head bow. When I realize that I’m lacking in reverence, I redouble my efforts to make sure I genuflect when passing by the tabernacle.
PRAY BEFORE THE TABERNACLE.
As you drive by a church, if you have a few spare moments, park your car and
say a prayer in the church. If you are visiting a Catholic hospital, find the chapel
and pray for a few moments.
BE ALERT AT THE CONSECRATION.
Some churches ring bells during Mass. This is to alert us to the fact something
special is happening, that the Holy Spirit has been called down, and then at the
point of elevation, that Jesus is present in the host we adore.
At the consecration, make a declaration of faith: “My Lord and my God.” Or, if
you struggle with belief, you might pray “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Hearing the words of consecration — “This is my body … this is the chalice of
my blood” — reinforces for us who it is that we now adore at the time of
MEDITATE AFTER COMMUNION.
Consider making a prayerful meditation after receiving Holy Communion. This
can be done in the pew during Communion or after Mass. Say a prayer thanking
Jesus for the privilege of receiving him. Ask him for special graces. Talk to him
about the past week or entrust the next week to him. Meditate about Our Lady
or the apostles receiving Holy Communion or how the saints received the
Eucharist during their lives.
This period of prayer and meditation truly allows us to have communion with
the one whom we received in Holy Communion. Unite yourself to Jesus in this
moment, and you will believe that he is present.
PRAY A HOLY HOUR.
Some parishes might have an hour of Adoration once a week or once a month
while others have perpetual Adoration. This is a time for prolonged prayer
before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Even if we struggle with Eucharistic
belief, that time before the Blessed Sacrament opens us to God’s grace.
Jesus is present in the doubts that we have, wanting to reveal himself to us.
Simply by being present before the monstrance and beholding the Eucharist can
increase our Eucharistic belief.
The Church’s belief about the Eucharist is quite scriptural, and we have it from
Jesus himself. Not only because of what he said on the night of the Last Supper,
but also what he taught in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. John 6:22-59 is
Jesus’ bread of life discourse. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54)
Read these words. And reread them until you believe them.
RECLAIM SUNDAY MASS.
Maybe part of the problem has been the laxity with which we approach our
Sunday obligation. So many things seem to take priority over Sunday Mass. By
making Sunday a priority, we assert that this is Jesus whom we receive, that
nothing — including youth athletic tournaments or professional sports — takes
priority over receiving the God of the Universe. The next time you want to skip
Sunday Mass, remind yourself who it is that you will not receive. Then drop
everything and run to Mass.
LEARN ABOUT EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES.
At every Mass, a miracle happens. Bread becomes Christ’s body, and wine becomes his blood.
There have been a few times in the Church’s history that the bread and wine
actually have become actual flesh and blood. You can even visit the churches
where these events happened. One of the most popular is in Lanciano, Italy. I’m
sure if you learn about the Eucharistic miracles and even go and see them with
your own eyes, it will remove all doubt and assure you of Christ’s presence in the
There are books galore about the Eucharist. Some were written by saints, and
some have been written by fellow Catholics today. One of my favourite books
is Vinny Flynn’s 7 Secrets of the Eucharist (Mercy Song/Ignatius Press, 2006).
• Other books include Abbot Anscar Vonier’s A Key to the Doctrine of the
Eucharist (Assumption Press, 2013) and Fr. James T. O’Connor’s The
Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist (Ignatius Press, 1988).
• By studying more about the Church’s theology of the Eucharist, we will
unlock its meaning and deepen our knowledge and belief in Christ’s