"The Eucharist is more precious to us than all the world’s riches because it nourishes us for our life’s journey and prepares us for heaven."

Normally, people of faith have quiet minds because they put their trust in the supernatural power of Jesus. This faith gives them a gentle peace, and they manage to persevere through the storms of life, overcoming their fears.

Such people find Jesus most perfectly in the Eucharist.

Those who succumb to their doubts often enter a dark world alone with their fears. They lose their spiritual centre and journey unprotected through the darkness.

Some Catholics think they have serious doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but a person is only in real doubt when he or she withholds assent or suspends belief. Most do not enter into a state of disbelief; they merely experience the discomfort of trying to understand such a profound mystery.

There is an old adage that a thousand difficulties do not make a single doubt. This is true; no one fully comprehends the sacred mysteries of our faith. All we can do is try to grasp the facts that surround the mystery.

Pope John Paul II put it well when he wrote his encyclical on the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia): “Every commitment to holiness, every activity aimed at carrying out the Church’s mission ... must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery. ... In the Eucharist we have Jesus, we have his redemptive sacrifice, we have his resurrection, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have adoration, obedience and love of the Father. Were we to disregard the Eucharist, how could we overcome our own deficiency?”

This faith awareness has been the belief of Catholics for more than 2,000 years. It is a belief more precious to us than all the riches of the world because it heals and nourishes us for our journey in this life and prepares us for our life with God in heaven.

St Augustine recommended that we practise the presence of God every day. He said that when we converted to Christianity, we did not merely become Christians, we became Christ!

St Paul put it this way, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

The celebration of Mass is more than a ritual; it produces the Eucharist and gives us a form of spiritual union with the Divine Presence. Though we do not fully understand the mystery, we know that we are receiving healing, forgiveness and salvation.

A French Carmelite monk named Br Lawrence excelled in practising the presence of God. He did it constantly while performing the most menial tasks at the monastery. He was known for his ability to abide in Christ and to live joyfully because of the knowledge of God’s infinite love.

When Jesus announced Himself as the privileged channel of communication with God in heaven, we all became the beneficiaries of this extraordinary supernatural presence and power.

Catholics believe that Jesus leads us to the Father through the Eucharist. By uniting our crosses with His, we become the mystical body of Christ.

By Fr John Catoir - CNS

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