By Sister Linda LaMagna, CCW
Many people find it easy to define the Eucharist and connect it well to our Saturday/Sunday experience of going to Mass. Eucharist can easily become a weekend routine that after the passing of time can lose its real value and meaning. I remember the inner joy of preparing for my First Holy Communion as a child and the enlightenment of growing to recognize that on the Altar, through the Consecration of the bread and wine offered, the true and real presence of Jesus came into our midst. As I child, I was awestruck with this mystery. Over the years, I found the Eucharist can become a routine of simply going to Mass or the fulfillment of a Catholic Obligation.
I know now that it takes a great deal of spiritual work, expressing to God my desire to recognize the true presence, and focused prayer to deepen my awareness of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I know that I need to pray and ask God to create a yearning heart in me to become his holy presence. I do know that it is real, and it can be experienced. When I listen to the lyrics of the songs, we sing at Communion time as the assembly is coming forth with open hands to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, I can readily become the song and I feel my heart stirring to become what I eat, the Body of Christ.
I feel that many Catholics would agree that believing and experiencing Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist takes spiritual work and Centered prayer. It was helpful for me to examine my Eucharistic experience and become determined to move out of my ‘just going to Mass’ routine while accompanying others across a new threshold of embracing the Eucharist as real food and nourishment for my spiritual life journey.
When Bishop Mark shared with me that as a diocese we were being called to a Eucharistic Revival, I felt chills go up and down my arms, for in my heart I felt the Holy Spirit stirring the heart of the Church to return to the experience of Passover and the Last Supper to revive again the words of Jesus: “This IS my Body, This IS my Blood. Do this in remembrance of me. My vision for this revival became one of feeling moved to powerfully highlight the Gift we as Catholics have in the Eucharist. A gift that may need to be reopened and gazed upon.
The Eucharistic Revival has a Vision: To renew the Church by enkindling a LIVING RELATIONSHIP with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. It also has a Mission: A movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and sent on Mission for the Life of the world.
Let’s join in the movement across the United States and embrace this opportunity with hearts full of desire to experience the true presence of Jesus each time we extend our hands to receive the gift. It will truly enrich our spiritual lives and provide yearning hearts with the power and grace to transform our hearts and the Church.
Stay tuned to that which will occur on the diocesan level in the Fall and Spring of 2022-2023.
Sister Linda LaMagna, CCW, is the Diocesan Coordinator of Evangelization and Pastoral Minister at Saint Joseph Parish in Bellwood.