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Oct 24, 2023 1111 Father Joseph Gill, USA
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Q&A: How can we grow in greater reverence for the Eucharist?

Q – The United States is in the midst of a three-year “Eucharistic Revival” campaign to try to inspire greater belief in Christ’s Real Presence. What are some practical ways that my family can practice greater reverence for the Eucharist?
A – A recent study said that only one-third of Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. In response, the Church is trying to reawaken what Saint John Paul II calls “Eucharistic amazement”—an awe and wonder in the Real Presence: Jesus, hidden yet truly present in the Eucharist.

How can we do this as a family? Here are some suggestions:

First, presence

If we knew that someone would be freely giving out a thousand dollars every week at a certain location, we would make sure to be there. Yet we receive something far more valuable—God Himself. The God Who created all the gold in the universe. The God Who loved you into existence. The God Who died to purchase your eternal salvation. The God Who alone can make us happy in eternal life.

The first step to a Eucharistic life is to make whatever sacrifices necessary to get to Mass at least weekly (or more often, if necessary). My father would often go to great lengths to take me and my brothers to Mass after a Scout camp-out. My brother could not try out for an elite baseball team because tryouts were on a Sunday morning. Wherever we went on vacation, my parents made sure to locate the closest Catholic Church. Considering how immensely valuable the Eucharist is, He is worth every sacrifice!

Second, purity

Making sure that our souls are clean from grave sin is a prerequisite to the Eucharistic banquet. No one would sit down at Thanksgiving dinner without washing their hands—neither should any Christian approach the Eucharist without being cleansed in Confession.

Third, passion

Throughout history, Catholics have risked their lives to attend Mass. Even today, there are at least 12 countries in the world where there are significant restrictions on Catholics, such as China, North Korea, and Iran. And yet Catholics are still willing to attend, despite the challenges. Do we have that same hunger for Him? Stir it up in your heart! Realize that we are summoned to the throne room of the King; we receive a front-row seat to the Sacrifice of Calvary. We are indeed allowed to partake in the foretaste of Heaven at every Mass!

Fourth, prayer

Once we have received Him, we ought to spend significant time in prayer. The great evangelist of Rome, Saint Philip Neri, used to send two altar boys with lit candles to follow anyone who left Mass early—recognizing that the person was literally a living tabernacle after they had received Christ! Immediately after receiving Him, we have such a privileged time to share our heart with Him, since He substantially dwells only a few inches below our hearts, in our bodies!

But this prayer to Christ’s Eucharistic presence should last long after Mass is concluded, as well. There was once a saint who wanted to live a Eucharistic life, but could only get to Mass on Sundays. She dedicated Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to a spiritual preparation for Holy Communion. Then on Sunday, she rejoiced that she could receive Him—and spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in thanksgiving for having received Him! So we ought to spend time in prayer throughout the week to thank God for the Eucharist we have received and to prepare our hearts for receiving this gift again!

Fifth, praise

A Eucharistic life continues with Eucharistic Adoration, which continues the worship of our Eucharistic Lord. Go to Adoration as often as you can. As Blessed Carlo Acutis said, “When we face the sun, we become tan, but when we place ourselves in front of the Eucharistic Jesus, we become saints.” He knew that it was God alone who made us holy, and by being in His presence, He would do the work!

I can testify to this. My parish started Perpetual Adoration (24 hours a day, seven days a week) when I was a teen, and I began to spend an hour in weekly Adoration. It was there that I realized how much the Lord loved me and that I was being called to give my life to Him as a priest. It was a huge part of my own conversion. In fact, my home parish had been in existence for more than 160 years without a single religious vocation from a young parishioner. After only 20 years of Adoration, our parish has produced over 12 religious vocations!

Blessed Carlo Acutis reminds us again, “The Eucharist is my highway to Heaven.”

We do not need to look far to wonder where God dwells and how to find Him—He dwells in every Tabernacle in every Catholic Church in the world!

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Father Joseph Gill

Father Joseph Gill is a high school chaplain and serves in parish ministry. He is a graduate from Franciscan University of Steubenville and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Father Gill has published several albums of Christian rock music (available on iTunes). His debut novel, “Days of Grace” is available on amazon.com.

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