The Angels would envy us Holy Communion - (Diary 1804)
The two rays in the image of the Divine Mercy among other things symbolise the sacraments. All of the sacraments are gifts of the Divine Mercy. Merciful Jesus is present in all of them. The Eucharist has a special place among the seven sacraments.
Firstly, let me make a certain comparison. Unbelievers think that human life is restricted to the time between birth and death. That the only real world is the one experienced between birth and death. But for those who believe in God and His revelation, their understanding is quite different. We pass through three different worlds, in three different stages.
The first stage is the shortest. It lasts about nine months from the moment of conception in our mother’s womb, till birth. The second stage is longer, from the moment of birth until death. The third one, according to God’s revelation, is the one we are destined for - the everlasting life after death.
Life between birth and death is full of wonders. Even the longest living person will never experience all of them. But it is nothing compared to the one awaiting us in heaven, which is a thousand times more wonderful. In the Scriptures it says “that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor the heart of man comprehended what wonders God has prepared for those, who enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
Two truths emerge from God’s teaching about human life. The first one is the transient nature of human life both: in the mother’s womb and the life between birth and death. Since the goal of human life is to gain eternal life, man cannot build for himself a permanent home on this earth. It is as if an unborn baby wanted to remain forever in the mother’s womb.
The second truth is the interdependence of the stages. Just like the time spent in our mother’s womb prepares us for the life in the world, similarly the life in this world prepares us for the life after death.
In the womb we have no concept of the life outside even though it is only a few inches away, in the same way in our present life we have no idea of the world to follow, although it already occasionally touches our hearts.
When we are in the womb our nourishment is the body and blood of our mother, similarly, Holy Communion - Christ’s body and blood - is our nourishment for the world yet to come. Jesus says: “He who eats my body and drinks my blood will have everlasting life.”
Thus, we have to remember that the important role of the Eucharist is in the first place to transform us, to prepare for the next world. And in the second place, to help us at this stage of life. Holy Communion helps us to come to terms with this life and cope with all its problems.
Christ did not promise us, that it would make our lives easy. It will not protect us from life’s misfortunes. But it will help us to cope with them. What Christ did promise us was that the Eucharist would bring us to eternal life.
This divine food is not transformed into the person consuming it. Rather, this food has the power of transforming into itself the person consuming it. St Augustine expressed this in the following words of Jesus: “I am the food of grown men. You will not change me into yourself, as you change food into your flesh, but you will be changed into me.”
This truth was discovered by St Faustina. She prayed in the Diary: “Most sweet Jesus... transform me into Yourself. Divinize me that my deeds may be pleasing to You. May this be accomplished by the power of the Holy Communion which I receive daily. Oh how greatly I desire to be wholly transformed into You, O Lord!" (Diary 1289)
In the Eucharist she discovered an unlimited source of supernatural powers, capable of transforming a human being completely. She declared “All the good that is in me is due to the Holy Communion. I feel that this holy fire has transformed me completely.” (Diary 1392)
In another passage she confesses: “All my strength is in You, O Living Bread. It would be difficult for me to live through the day if I did not receive the Holy Communion.” (Diary 814) Although she keenly felt her misery, she firmly believed that the Communion has the power to make her a saint. (Diary 1718)
Everyone needs food to live. When we eat ordinary bread like a piece of toast for instance, it is accepted by our body and changed into energy necessary for living. Similarly the heavenly bread strengthens us. Holy Communion gives us spiritual power and changes our attitudes and transforms our hearts into the heart of Jesus. It makes us much as he would like us to be. He is creating us all the time. This is a continuous act of God’s Mercy in our life.
Of course we have to believe, that His body and blood, His life in other words, is growing within us. It is nourishing us, making us so strong that we will be able to live with Him forever one day. We are not angels, so we need something that we can actually see, touch and taste. This is the Eucharist. Jesus says: “Take this all of you and eat it.” Not only look at it, but also eat it. Take this gift of new life and enjoy communion with God.
As Catholics we honour the consecrated bread as the body of Christ also after the Mass. We never throw away any of the consecrated bread that is left. We reserve it very reverently in the container called the tabernacle. What I found fascinating is that when you meet a person who has become a Catholic in their adult life, and you ask them what led them to the Catholic Church. It is amazing how often their answer is: “When I entered a Catholic Church building I found that there was something there, that I felt was missing from other churches. It was the real presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”
I do think that we need to appreciate our faith in it. St Sister Faustina longed for frequent contact with Jesus in the Eucharist. She would spend all her free moments at the feet of the Blessed Sacrament.
She confesses in the Diary: “Jesus concealed in the Host is everything to me.” (Diary 1037) “How happy my soul is to have such a Friend who always keeps me company. I do not feel lonely even though I am isolated.” (Diary 877) She describes a mystical experience taking place during adoration: “When I was in church waiting for confession, I saw the same rays issuing from the monstrance and spreading throughout the church. After Benediction, the rays shone out to both sides and returned again to the monstrance. Their appearance was bright and transparent like crystal. I asked Jesus that He deign to light the fire of love in all souls that were cold. Beneath these rays a heart will grow warm even if it were like a block of ice; even if it were hard as a rock, it will crumble into dust.” (Diary 370)
She emphasised that the Eucharist is the testament of God’s mercy, eternal life, the mercy of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Diary 356) She called the sacred Host the source of living water springing forth for us from the infinite mercy of God.
She praised Jesus who had left Himself in the tabernacle: “Here is the tabernacle of Your mercy. O you living spring of mercy, all souls are drawn, some like deer, thirsting for Your love, others, exhausted by life, to draw strength.” (Diary 1747)
Father Piotr Prusakiewicz, CSMA