I need the Eucharist for many reasons.
The Eucharist grounds me. On the days when I go to Mass but feel distant, distracted, or spiritually dry, it snaps me to attention. My thoughts might stray during the homily, but not while receiving the Eucharist; the feel and taste of the host on my tongue always bring me back to the present. The Eucharist anchors me in the reality of here and now.
The Eucharist makes me think of the holiness of food. There is no more concrete act of love than to feed another person; there is no more vivid sign of community than to gather for a meal. The Eucharist, when I let it, reminds me that the meals I prepare for my family are holy and that the gatherings of my friends for brunch or of my coworkers for birthday cake are holy, too. The Eucharist challenges me to see those encounters in this light.
The Eucharist reminds me of the power of sacrificial love. As a priest I know once said, “In the Eucharist, Jesus makes Himself so small for you.” He’s small enough to fit in my cupped palm. It’s a remarkable thing to make oneself tiny, humble; most of us try our hardest to avoid that. Jesus does it, day after day, for every one of us. The Eucharist challenges me to love like that.
The Eucharist is a hint of Heaven. This close encounter with Jesus that I have every week: it’s a taste of the life beyond this one, an intimate communion with God that we can only begin to imagine. In the sometimes messiness of human life, a life full of uncertainty or the chase for success, the Eucharist reminds us that this world isn’t all there is. Think bigger, the Eucharist tells us.
It doesn’t end here. There is much, much more to come.
Here's a talk based on the book Seven Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn. It's worth a quick listen.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood and Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Seven Sacraments found here.