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Jun 12, 2019 61 0 Reshma Thomas
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Broken For You

Make a Wish

In my childish desire, I thought the Blessed Sacrament was a sweet given to the grownups. As I now remember this incident, how truly right I was. Approximately six years later I walked down the aisle in a pure white gown to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament. Did I feel the sweetness? I wish I could narrate as Saint Therese did in her autobiography “The Story of my Soul” that I was lost in His ocean of love. In faith I believed Jesus came into my heart and that day was so filled with grace, but like the Saints who left behind their memoirs I could not perceive with my senses the sweetness or the ecstasy of receiving Jesus.

Years later, while I was in college, there was a small chapel at the center of our campus. We had daily mass and weekly adorations there. As I sat for adoration before the venerated Blessed Sacrament, I wondered if all this were really true. Is Jesus really present in the Blessed Sacrament? I found many real-life stories on the miracles of the Blessed Sacrament turning into the body and blood of jesus. Yet my heart pondered on how I could really believe. I began to wish if only I could experience a small ray of light.

A Deep Insight

One day while receiving the Holy Communion I had the same indifference and knelt down to pray. When I closed my eyes, I saw a wound that was excruciatingly painful. The skin was pale yellow with a deep, freshly cut wound and I still shudder while remembering this. I knew this was not my thought or even imagination. I later understood how deeply I wounded my dear Jesus with my disbelief and lack of trust. From then on, I walked the tight rope of believing without seeing and never dared to hurt Him.

Later, during a retreat, I was part of the intercession team, which gave me ample time to be in His presence before the Blessed Sacrament. Sitting there for more than a few hours, I began to experience great peace and consolation. I felt as if I was already in heaven and the joy that filled my heart could not be experienced by any success or fame that this world offers. It was as if I was floating happily, light as a feather. Without a single word, He understood everything and I knew the love of God is beyond words. He loves us so immensely and all I could do was love Him back by humbly giving myself, completely without reserve.

Heartbroken

During Holy Communion a few years back I happened to be at the end of the line. Before my turn to receive, the priest hesitated for a while (owing to the lesser number of hosts in his chalice). A few people were behind me. The priest took the host and broke it inside the chalice. Without even thinking I cringed at the sound of the breaking host. my heart was pounding heavily as I prepared to receive. Raising a quarter of the host, the priest chanted those familiar words, “The Body and Blood of Christ.” As I walked back to the pew I could not hold back my tears: jesus was torn into pieces for me.

Indeed, Jesus is broken every day for us during the Holy mass—but why? We often resort to praying for our daily needs: a better job, to find the one and get married, a better apartment or home, for children and their good upbringing, paying the bills, healing from various diseases and so on.

Is this the reason why Jesus died on the cross? All these blessings were abundantly poured out even before Jesus’ time. In the Old Testament we see God’s blessing of good health, children, family, wealth and prosperity on His chosen people. To give us these gifts God did not have to undergo any pain; He gave joyfully to those who loved Him.

There is one gift—the most precious of all His gifts—God really desires to give us. For giving us this gift, Jesus had to go through sufferings in His lifetime.

Why?

Born in Bethlehem, He was laid in a manger—a feeding trough for the animals. In the bitter cold, why was the new born baby wrapped only in swaddling clothes?

While fleeing to Egypt, baby Jesus shivered with the chilling wind of the night even as he clung to His dear mother. Why was a baby put to such a plight?

Until the age of 30 years, Jesus lived an ordinary life of a carpenter, depending on the meager wages he got for the work. Why?

For three years, why did Jesus go about preaching the Kingdom of God, healing and doing well to all those around?

Though gentle and kind to all, He was still called a blasphemer, a crazy, senseless man, friend of sinners and prostitutes. Why?

In the garden of Gethsemane, as he knelt bathed in drops of blood, why did Jesus cry out, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but Yours be done.”

He was unjustly judged by three judges during the flower of His youth and tormented with insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard of cruelties. Why?

Crowned with thorns, and with a reed placed in His hands, He was crushed with blows and overwhelmed by outrages. Why?

His sacred hands and legs were nailed to the cross, blow after blow and not finding Jesus in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they increased His wounds, adding pain after pain. He endured all this but why?

With indescribable cruelty His body was stretched on the cross and pulled from all sides, thus dislocating His limbs. Why?

From the crown of His head to the soles of His feet there was not one spot on His body that was not tormented and yet, forgetting all His sufferings, why did Jesus cry out, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do?”

A sorrowful mother watched her Son persecuted and crucified, dying a torturous death, but she never complained. Why?

In His last agony why did Jesus suffer beyond human imagination, His body torn and heartbroken: He cried out, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit!”

A soldier pierced His side with a lance: blood and water gushed forth till there was not a single drop left in His body. Why was He lifted like a bundle of myrrh to the top of the cross, His delicate flesh destroyed, the very substance of His body withered and the marrow of His bones dried up?

The Greatest Gift

Jesus himself gave the answer for all His sufferings, from conception to the top of the cross. On the night, before He was given up to death jesus washed the feet of His disciples. During the Last Supper, “He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took the Cup saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19-20).

Today He offers you His most precious gift—His body and blood in the form of the Blessed Sacrament. every celebration of the Holy Mass is a call to receive this precious gift that God our Father gives us—His dear beloved Son. Like the mother pelican bird in the face of starvation, who wounds herself by striking her breast to feed the young with her blood, so does Jesus feed us with His body and blood in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus suffered greatly; He was broken to heal our brokenness and to give us new life.

Today Jesus waits for you. Like a divine prisoner, He longs to be received into your heart. “O taste and see, for Jesus is sweeter than honey in the comb.” Will, you not receive this precious gift from God with all your heart?

Divine Savior, we come to Your sacred table to nourish ourselves, not with bread but with Yourself, true Bread of eternal life. Help us daily to make a good and perfect meal of this divine food. Let us be continually refreshed by the perfume of Your kindness and goodness. May the Holy Spirit fill us with His Love. Meanwhile, let us prepare a place for this holy food by emptying our hearts. Amen.

—Prayer before Communion by Saint Francis De Sales

Reshma Thomas

© serves on the Editorial Board of Shalom Tidings. She resides with her family in Kerala, India.

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