Advent 2022 Day 23

The ornament today is a picture of wafers and grapes. Zimmerman speaks about the Last Supper and tells how Jesus took the bread and wine at that meal and blessed it. He then asked that every time his followers gathered together, they should, “do this in remembrance of me.”

For Catholics, this blessing of the bread and wine at mass is the pinnacle of our worship on Sundays. We believe Jesus himself is present every time the priest says the words of the Eucharistic Prayer. We then go up to communion and receive Jesus into our bodies, it is a beautiful and solemn time of communion with our Lord.

What would it be like to go to mass every Sunday and NOT be able to go to communion?

Most of us experienced this for a period of time during the beginning of the Pandemic when our churches were closed. It was terrible to have the Eucharist taken away from us when we most needed its sustaining power! Some of my friends were simply distraught at not having access to church and regular communion. It was a trying time.

Since October of last year, I have only been able to receive communion a handful of times. I have celiac’s disease so I cannot tolerate any gluten. I am sensitive, it seems, even to the very little gluten that is present in the low gluten hosts.

At first it was devastating to think of never being able to receive communion. But now I have grown used to sitting in the pews and watching my family receive communion without me. This abstinence that I am enduring has made me very sensitive to the presence of the Lord in the host.

One time, while sitting in the front row at church, I was kneeling and praying. I suddenly became keenly aware that every person passing me, was literally carrying Jesus inside them. It made my heart skip a beat as each person passed.

Another time, when Father carried the Eucharist around the church in procession, on Holy Thursday, I had my head bowed and my eyes closed. All at once a shiver ran from the top of my head down the length of my entire body. I opened my eyes to find the Blessed Sacrament passing my pew.

These and many more moments of grace have happened to me as I am praying either in church or at home. Jesus, it seems, can find a way into our hearts, even if we cannot receive him physically into our bodies.

As I hang the wafers and grapes ornament on my tree I thank the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist and the spiritual nourishment that it is for millions of Catholics.

I also am humbly grateful that Jesus has not forgotten me, he reminds me of this in moments of his Amazing Grace.

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