Christians of all times and places, in obedience to Jesus’ command on the night before he died, have done this in memory of him, that is, they have come together for the Eucharist. It is the memorial of no less than the very actions by which he saved us, and it brings us the grace of that salvation anew every day while also making him present as our daily bread. Those two things are the difference that the Eucharist makes in my life: that it makes my Lord present to me in a way that nothing else does, and that it brings me every day into his salvation in a way that nothing else does. Over the years, I have lived in various places, and done various things in service of him, but the Eucharist is the stable memorial of his saving sacrifice that makes him present – always and everywhere for me as for Christians of all times and places. In short, it is the stable saving presence of God in my life, even when so many other things change.
Because the Eucharist has been a constant in my life, in a certain sense it’s hard to say what healing and transformation I’ve experienced in my life that’s not connected to the Eucharist. Overall, I would say that, in spite of the effects of my own sins and those of others in my life, I have an abiding peace in who I am as an adopted son of God, a peace that perdures through both the joys and sorrows of life, and that peace comes from God’s presence, most especially in the Eucharist. There have also been many moments in my life – both in Adoration and in receiving Communion – where both peace and a deep joy in God’s presence have been especially present to me. As a priest, saying the words of consecration and holding the Lord’s Body and Blood is a daily moment of humility and conviction about who I am and who I am called to be in Christ.
Just as the liturgy and particularly the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10), celebrating Mass and receiving Communion is the source and summit of my day. The Latin for “source and summit” is “fons et culmen,” so another way to translate it might be “font and culmination,” the thing from which something comes as well as the thing toward which it is directed, the home base and the goal. This connects to Jesus being the Alpha and the Omega, to him being all in all. Mass is the time in the day or week when everything from beginning to end comes together: the whole day or week is offered to God in a singular way, and when his grace to do what we need to do for that day or week is received.
Praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, both at Exposition as well as in the tabernacle, is a beautiful reminder and extension of that “source and summit” experience of Mass. It is an extension of it that allows for prolonged meditative or vocal prayer that can join this source and summit to the particular practices of each person that kindle his or her devotion to God. There is a freedom to this prayer that allows each person to grow in love of God according to the movements of grace that he is giving to an individual soul at a particular time or place. It allows us to join our own personal devotion and meditation to the Eucharist, and that’s what makes it so beautiful to me.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.