Prime time of the greatest importance in our life, without doubt, is when we have the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus in our heart. The Real Presence could not be a better descriptive term! Upon receiving the Eucharist, Holy Communion, we truly have the Real Presence of Jesus in the depths of our heart, mind, and soul. Really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, the Eternal Son of God the Father permeates, imbues, and penetrates our whole being with His Real Presence.
Entering into the 35th year of my Priesthood, I am keenly aware of the sad fact that many people, after receiving Holy Communion—Jesus into their souls—all too often do not know what to do. Fumbling with their hands, picking at their fingernails, looking at their phone, staring at me, contemplating their watch is often the attitude of many right after receiving Jesus in His Real Presence in Holy Communion.
This flippant, distracted, and bored attitude and bodily posture betrays the clear fact that many, all too many, practicing Catholics have lost belief and faith in the Real Presence of the Eucharistic Lord. Due to a diluted, overly sentimental catechesis, perhaps many have never even learned what the Eucharist truly is! How else can we describe this except as a full-blown Catholic Identity Crisis! As Catholics, if we neither know nor believe in the Eucharist as the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, then Catholics we are not!
The essential thrust and purpose of this brief essay is to help us to believe firmly in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Mass, in the Eucharist, in Holy Communion. Then consequently to strive with all the fiber of our being to receive Jesus with more faith, devotion, and love. By far, there is no greater action underneath the sun that we can do than to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. However, we must receive Him with increasing faith, confidence, purity of heart, devotion, hunger, and love. One Holy Communion well-received could transform us into great saints!
DISPOSITIVE GRACE. The lack of fruits in the reception of Holy Communion is not due to the Sacrament we receive, but rather due to the lack of a proper disposition in receiving the Lord of Lords and King of Kings! The better the disposition of our heart, the more abounding and copious the graces!
The following points consist of what we can do and how we should act upon receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence—the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Eucharistic Lord. Every Holy Communion that we receive should be received as if it were actually our first, our last, and even our only Holy Communion!
1. PRAISE THE LORD! The Eucharistic Jesus is truly God. Therefore, the highest form of prayer that we can offer to God is that of praise. Unite your whole being with the angels and saints in Heaven and praise the Lord with all of your heart. As a primer, you might even recite the Divine Praises: “Blessed be God; Blessed be His Holy Name; Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man; Blessed be the Name of Jesus; Blessed be His most Sacred Heart; Blessed be His most Precious Blood; Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar….” Beg the angels and saints to help you in your prayer of Eucharistic praise!
2. THANK THE LORD. Eucharist actually means Thanksgiving! What do we have that we have not received from our Divine Benefactor, God Himself? All the good that we have in our total person is a generous and bountiful manifestation of God’s love for us. The only thing that God did not give us is our sins; we chose those! May the prayer of the Psalmist resound in the depths of our heart after Holy Communion: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Ps. 136:1)
3. BEG PARDON OF THE LORD. How true Sacred Scripture: “The just man falls seven times a day.” (Prov. 24:16) Due to our many sins, we have fallen short of the glory of God in many times, places, and circumstances. With David, who committed adultery and the murder of an innocent man, let us with heartfelt compunction beg for mercy for ourselves and for the whole world praying part of Psalm 51: “Lord have mercy on me, have mercy on me. My sin is always before my eyes. A humble and contrite heart you will not spurn.” Then, “Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.” (Ps. 104.30)
4. BECOME BARTIMEUS THE BEGGAR. The great Saint Augustine asserted: “We are all beggars before the Lord.” Let us imitate Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and implore the Lord to help us in our desperate need. Holy Communion is truly Jesus the Light of the world; beg Jesus to take the scales from your eyes so that you can contemplate His Face with ever greater clarity.
5. BEG FOR OTHERS THE GRACES THEY NEED. Our reception of Holy Communion should be Catholic—meaning universal! Saint Paul states: “The love of God compels us.” (2 Cor. 5:14) This love should be both universal and all-embracing, such that we beg and pray for the many graces of which so many people stand in desperate need! Now that the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus beats in your heart heed the words of Jesus Himself: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7)
6. INTERCEDE FOR DEATH-BED SINNERS. A category of persons who often stand in desperate need of prayers are those individuals who are in their last moments and in their last and ultimate agony. By far the most important moment in our life is the moment of our death. That will determine our eternal destiny—either Heaven or Hell and forever and ever and ever. In your thanksgiving after receiving the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, who said from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34), beg for the conversion and salvation of deathbed sinners. Who knows how many souls will be saved by your fervent Eucharistic prayers after receiving the Eucharistic Merciful Savior!
7. REST ON THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who find life burdensome, and you will find rest for your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden, light.” (Mt. 11:28-30) After receiving Holy Communion, you can imitate Saint John the Evangelist, the Best Friend of Jesus, and simply rest lovingly and peacefully on His Sacred Heart—the best resting place!
8. CAST YOUR CARES UPON THE LORD. Saint Peter expresses a very important human sentiment and situation that we all experience during the course of our lives, every week and perhaps even every day—problems, worries, anxieties, and confusion. Saint Peter’s Letter expresses this state of soul in this short but clear concept: “Cast your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you.” (1 Pt. 5:7) As the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus beats in your heart, ask Our Lord and He will alleviate you of your worries, possibly remove them, or at least help you to carry your present crosses! Jesus is the Best Friend who will never fail us!
9. BEG FOR A HEART-TRANSPLANT! Our heart, mind, and soul can be compared to a Garden. Amidst the roses, tulips, and daffodils, spring up the ugly but all too-prevalent weeds! If the weeds are given permission to grow, to flourish and spread, then in a matter of time they will suffocate the beautiful flowers! The Garden analogy applies to virtues and sins in our soul. The flowers are the virtues; the weeds, the sins. If not uprooted, the vices dominate in our life and sin reigns! Upon reception of Holy Communion, we should beg the Lord Jesus to uproot and exterminate the weeds in our soul, so that the flowers of virtues can flourish and blossom. May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus transplant our own heart and make us saints!
10. OUR LADY OF THE EUCHARIST AND THANKSGIVING. Finally, beg the Immaculate Heart of Mary to speak to the Heart of Jesus, to praise Him, to love Him, to worship Him. Saint Louis de Montfort suggests praying Mary’s Canticle of Praise, The Magnificat in thanksgiving for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus beating in the depths of our soul. May Mary’s words echo in our heart after we receive Jesus in Holy Communion: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. (Lk. 1:46-55)
In conclusion, the most important gesture and moments in our life is when we receive the Eucharistic Jesus in the depths of our heart and in our soul in Holy Communion. Then the moments, the minutes after Holy Communion must be the most precious moments in our whole human existence! Let us strive with all the fiber of our being to prepare properly to receive the Eucharist, but also strive to improve our THANSKGIVING after the reception of Holy Communion. Our sanctification—our growth in grace, our growth in virtue and overcoming vice, and our final perseverance can truly depend on the manner in which we treat the Lord Jesus after receiving Him in Holy Communion. May Our Lady of the Eucharist, the angels and saints come to our help!