On August 2, the Church celebrated the feast of St. Peter Julian Eymard, a man who founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. I was excited to celebrate this holy man and his love of the Eucharist, and I eagerly searched the internet for a pithy quote that I’d be able to pray with and share on social media. Instead, I found myself quickly skimming over some of his reflections and giving barely a thought to the gift of the Eucharist before moving on with my day. I had a lengthy To Do list, limited hours, and my mind was too preoccupied to spare even a few moments of intentional reflection and prayer.
While I’d like to say that this was an isolated incident, I have to admit that there are days when I don’t give the Eucharist much thought. I may glance over the daily Mass readings or pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but then become immersed in the hustle and bustle of daily life. For a while, this hasn’t seemed like that big of a deal to me. After all, I make it to daily Mass a few times a week, and I always attend Sunday Mass. I pray with my husband and my son daily. I have a special devotion to Mary. Yet, in spite of all of this, if I’m not making time to focus on our Eucharistic Lord, I’m falling short.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). In the gift of the Eucharist, Christ gives us Himself. He is truly, fully present, giving us strength on the journey towards Heaven. Do I treat the Eucharist the “source and summit” of my life each day–not just on days when I manage to attend daily Mass, but each and every day?
While it is extremely worthwhile to attend daily Mass and receive the Eucharist, this is not always possible or feasible. However, we can still direct our daily lives towards the Eucharist and the Liturgy. There are a variety of prayer books dedicated to the Eucharist, which we can use for prayer if we set aside a few moments in the morning or evening. We can also read and reflect on Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the encyclical letter by Pope St. John Paul II on the Eucharist. We can also pray an Act of Spiritual Communion, a practice which has been done by many saints throughout the centuries.
We need to keep God at the forefront of our lives, and we need to daily cultivate love, respect, and devotion for the Blessed Sacrament. Consistently, throughout the history of the Church, saints have discussed the need for a deep Eucharistic devotion. If we want to attain life in Heaven with God and the saints, we should follow their example. St. Josemaria Escriva discusses this in his book, The Forge, as he writes:
“Keep struggling, so that the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar really becomes the center and the root of your interior life, and so your whole day will turn into an act of worship–an extension of the Mass you have attended and a preparation for the next. Your whole day will then be an act of worship that overflows in aspirations, visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the offering up of your professional work and your family life.”
It may be difficult to quiet our noisy, chaotic lives, but we need to “keep struggling” and focus on our Eucharistic Lord.
Copyright AnneMarie Miller 2017