The Attraction of the Eucharist
The Eucharist: the source and summit of the whole Christian life (Lumen gentium). The Eucharist: the memorial of Christ’s death and Resurrection, the Sacrifice which sealed the New Covenant of love between God, our heavenly Father, and us, his children; foretold by Jeremiah (Jer 31:31-34) and instituted by our Divine Lord at the Passover, the paschal meal which he shared with the apostles. This is my body, which is for you, This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood, Do this in memory of me (1 Cor 11:23-25). The Eucharist: the real presence of the risen Lord under the appearance of bread and wine not merely a symbolic presence.
Scott Hahn, one of the most influential converts to Catholicism in America, tells how it was the Mass, Christ’s actual presence in the Eucharist, that brought him into the Church, as it has done for many other converts.
Already attracted by the moral teaching of the Catholic Church regarding marriage, the family and society, he decided finally to go to Mass on his own. As an evangelical Calvinist he had been taught that the Catholic Mass was the greatest sacrilege a person could commit: to re-sacrifice Christ. What blasphemy! Right before noon, he says, I slipped quietly into the chapel of Marquette University. I took a seat as an observer in the back pew.
He watched and listened as the readings, prayers and responses – so steeped in SScripture made the Bible come alive. All of a sudden Scott realised that this was where the Bible belongs; where it was meant to be read, proclaimed and expanded. I sat there famished with a supernatural hunger for the Bread of Life Then we moved into the liturgy of the Eucharist where all my covenant conclusions converged. After pronouncing the words of consecration the priest held up the host. I felt as if the last drop of doubt had drained from me. With all my heart I whispered: My Lord and my God. That’s really you, and if that’s you, then I want full communion with you. I don’t want to hold anything back.
He left the chapel, not telling anyone where he’d been or what he had done. But the next day he was back, and the next, and the next. Within a week or two, Scott says, he was hooked. I had fallen head over heels in love with our Lord in the Eucharist. His presence to me in the Blessed Sacrament was powerful and personal. As I sat in the back I began to kneel and pray with the others whom I now knew to be my brothers and sisters. I wasn’t an orphan! I had found my family – it was God’s family.
He continues: Day after day, witnessing the drama of the Mass, I saw the covenant renewed right before my eyes. I knew Christ wanted me to receive him, not just spiritually in my heart, but physically as well: on to my tongue, down my throat and into my whole body and soul. This was the Gospel in its fullness. Written by the late Fr Jack O’Brien OMI. Updated from 2008
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