The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is present; Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. Do we really believe this?
I have a very good friend who love to go to Holy Mass. In fact, all of us should love going to Mass. Anyway, most times when she goes, she completely prostrates herself at the consecration. A couple times in the past when she prostrated herself, I was somewhat taken aback. Then I remembered a famous non-Christian (if I am not mistaken, it might have been Mahatma Ghandi) who once said that if he was Catholic and believed what the Catholic Church taught about the Eucharist, he would enter the church on his hands and knees.
There is an old saying that says “familiar breaths contempt“. Unfortunately, I believe this saying is true for very many Catholics as there appears to be a disparity between what the Church teaches and what Catholics really believe (or don’t believe). Where the Eucharist is concerned, the Holy Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is present; Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst (John 6:35).
Do we really believe this? When we really believe something to be true, that belief becomes manifest in our disposition towards it and it takes root in our being. For instance, here in Trinidad and Tobago, we are experiencing some very dry and hot weather. Let us suppose we are praying for rain to fall and we really believed it was going to rain, then, except if we were planning on bathing in the rain, we will walk with umbrellas when we were going out, right? So if we truly believed that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist, then our bodies and our actions should speak to that belief. Our approach to the Eucharist should be one of deep love, adoration and respect. If we truly believe that Jesus is present ion the Holy Eucharist, then we will not treat Holy Mass like we do KFC – rush in and rush out. If we truly believe that Jesus is totally present in the Holy Eucharist, then each day, we will become more and more like the priceless treasure (Jesus Christ) whom we receive at Holy Mass.
It is indeed unfortunate for many that their belief in the Holy Eucharist stops at what they were taught or heard many years ago. They never really opened themselves to Jesus to really encounter him. One of our parish priest from years ago would say that their experience of Jesus is twelve inches short – the distance the heart is from the head. Now, apart from the head not being the ideal place for an experience, the mind forgets. So with all good intentions, we learnt that Jesus is completely present in the Holy Eucharist, and it is all stored up in our mind. Then as time passes by, what we have stored in our minds begins to fade. More so if we are challenged on what we believe, then not only will it fade, it will become distorted and may even die.
Ah, but what we store in our hearts don’t just stay there and only comes into play when called upon to be used. No! What we store in our hearts – be it good or bad – forms who we become and how we live. So if we truly believe that Jesus is present – body blood, soul and divinity – in the Holy Eucharist, then what should our approach be to Holy Mass? What should be our approach to others? Our perspective on all that surrounds us will change won’t it? But for a lack of space, maybe we all will be compelled to fall prostrate before the Lord at the consecration begging for his mercy.