When you last received Jesus in your hand or on your tongue, what were you thinking? I'll bet you weren't thinking about Jesus... or only vaguely so. I know I have periods when I am barely there mentally. I sing in a choir, and when I receive Him, I try to swallow the Sacred Host is soon as possible, so I can sing the next hymn. But it is no excuse for not paying attention.
The thought occured to me, when the Holy Father was visiting England, that at each city, people were elated for him to be there, and they waved and smiled. When have we last smiled for Jesus? When have we last dressed up for Him? And most important, when have we truly been in the State of Grace, free from all sin even the little ones, as we approached the altar to receive Him?
So many people try to tell me that it is impossible for people to be free of sin. No, that is not impossible, but we don't have to talk about that, if that makes one uncomfortable. That is between you and our Savior! But try, at least, as a way to make that moment of reception is perfect as possible. Make it a habit to sin no more and pretty soon, especially with His help, you may succeed.
I don't have to give you lessons how to receive Holy Communion, except to urge you to do so with attention and devotion. You're not going up there to receive the host, you are going up there to receive none other than the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And when you speak to anyone about this, I hear so many people falter and refer to Him as "the host" - when you receive Him, He is, whether on your hand, tongue or in your heart, the Body of Christ, and received under either species, you have received him entirely, in Body and Blood.
When He comes to you in this way, be attentive, and aware. Thank Him for His great Gift to you, the Gift of Himself! He died on the Cross for us so that we may have life everlasting. Never take the Body and Blood of Christ lightly or in vain. As you thank Him, at the same time please thank His Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary, taken body and soul into Heaven upon her passing, because she was conceived without original sin (this is a matter of Catholic dogma!) is our mother as well. She gave birth to Him so that He could begin the process of the redemption of our souls. This process consisted of his Word (teachings, miracles, etc.) and His Sacrifice (the Cross).
It pains me that so many people have gone astray. They have abandoned Him, and they have not made an effort to ask for forgiveness. They rebel against the Catholic Church, by whose teaching their were raised, against the Holy Father, and the Magisterium (Bishops), they stopped receiving the Sacraments, and their souls are effectively dead, or close to it. They have already left! So come back, come back so that He can reach out to you, as you are reaching for Him. When you ask for foregiveness, He will grant it. Yes you can. You should. Your eternal life may be at stake! He will reach out to you until the point of your death, and if then you still haven't reached out to Him, I pray that He has mercy on your soul. I pray frequently for those who have no one to pray for them, for the people who are utterly lost. Let us all pray for those unfortunate souls.
We can do all of this and more when we receive Him, no matter what else we are doing. Prayer doesn't need to take hours, but it does need to take a succinct intention and attention to His Holy Will. In fact, if you truly have no time to pray that very minute, just ask Him to carry on your prayer for you. He is so perfect, so far superior to what we can do. He can accomplish infinitely more.
May God bless you and keep you!
Fred Schaeffer, SFO
September 21, 2010
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