Reflection on the Eucharist
By Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
“Social distancing has caused a kind of involuntary fasting from sacramental reception of the Eucharist, and like all fasting, it should increase our desire for its return. This time of fasting also provides an opportunity to understand the Eucharist more fully as an act of self-offering joined to the perfect offering of Christ, the immaculate Victim.”
Dietitians and nutritionists have determined that the types of food we consume have a direct influence on our physical and mental well-being – truly, we are what we eat. St. Augustine said, “You are what you have received.” What we consume in our diets makes a noticeable difference in how we feel about our environment and ourselves and it has a direct impact on what we are able to accomplish in our daily lives.
If a change of diet makes a definitive difference in our well-being, how much more important to us and to our well-being is the reception of the Eucharist? When someone changes their diet, the effects are quite evident. The person becomes healthier and happier, more alert and more energetic. The Eucharist has the same effect on us – we live our faith with more energy and more vigour. We have been nourished; we can exercise more readily, what we believe.
On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), we are invited to meditate upon the great mystery of the Eucharist. We are provided with a wonderful opportunity to focus on the liturgical axiom lex orandi, lex credendi – the law of prayer is the law of faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it in simpler terms, “the Church believes as she prays” (1124). This means that if we believe, through the miracle of the Mass, that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, then our actions will reflect what we believe. The Blessed Sacrament should always be shown the greatest reverence and respect by our posture and actions at Mass. This is especially true when we receive Holy Communion. When we are able to gather again to receive Holy Communion, let us not forget WHOM we are receiving, and the prayer we offer. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”