Centering Our Lives Around the Eucharist
There is no question that 2020 was a hard year on many fronts — a pandemic (and its many side effects), civil unrest, and a major election have taken a toll on many Americans’ mental and physical health, Catholics included. Although very few of us have been immune to suffering this year, I can’t help but wonder how many hidden blessings have emerged amidst the chaos. I pray that we can all find at least one bright spot from this year.
For me, the greatest gift of 2020 was a deepened understanding of and reverence for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Catholic faith. Although (at least since my return to the Church), I have always appreciated receiving the Eucharist, I think I had a tendency to take it for granted as something that would always be there. But during the first phase of lockdowns when the Church made the difficult decision to halt in-person Masses for a time, I began to hunger for the Eucharist in a way that I never thought possible. While my wife and I were thankful for the ability to participate in Masses virtually, I longed for Jesus’ physical presence in my life. I knew that it was in this longing that God was calling me to not just appreciate the Eucharist but to center my life around His most precious gift to the Church.
With the help of God’s grace, I committed to attending Daily Mass once churches re-opened their doors. I’m eternally glad that God placed this desire on my heart. At the time, I couldn’t have fathomed the amount of graces I’ve now received as a direct result of this commitment to frequenting the Eucharist. To name a few: my prayer life has deepened immensely; my trust in Christ and His eternal promises has grown firm; my desire to serve and love others and to share our beautiful faith has blossomed; and my relationships with others have strengthened. Amidst all the chaos of the year, I have experienced the joy that God alone can place in our hearts, and I have grown in faith, hope, and love in ways that were unthinkable at the beginning of 2020.
I pray that I will never again take the Eucharist for granted. It is truly God’s greatest gift to Catholics as we seek to grow as Jesus’ disciples in the here and now. For those who have struggled to find their way back to the Blessed Sacrament, there is no time like the present to rediscover its beauty and to receive its many graces. May you have confidence in Jesus’ words: “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.”
2020 was hard; I don’t wish to short sell this point. But it has also offered repeated opportunities for us to grow in faith, hope, and love, and to center our lives around the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. It is my hope for myself and for my fellow Catholics that by frequenting the Eucharist and by placing our hope in Him alone that we will emerge from this year a stronger and more united Body of Christ.