For years I questioned why I was so peaceful over my father's death.
Since the day of his funeral, instead of feeling the absence of his presence, I have had an insatiable hunger for the Eucharist only satisfied when I consumed Our Lord's precious Body and Blood. Daily, I feel my dad so close to me whenever I receive Communion.
The Catechism of the Church teaches us:
By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened” heaven to us . . . . He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ. (source)
Whenever we receive the Eucharist, we enter into Communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That’s right; Christ is not alone for He is always united to the Blessed Trinity! Further, whenever we receive the Eucharist we are united more fully with the Body of Christ. Since all in Heaven—including the Saints and angels—are “perfectly incorporated into Christ,” we are united to them as well.
From an early age, Saint Therese of Lisieux understood this great mystery. She lost her mother Zelie when she was four years old. Upon receiving her first Communion, she cried tears of joy, but everyone misinterpreted them to be tears of sorrow over her mother's absence. She wrote:
It was beyond them that all the joy of heaven had entered one small, exiled heart and that it was too weak to bear it without tears. As if the absence of my mother could make me unhappy on the day of my first Communion! As all of heaven entered my soul when I received Jesus, my mother came to me as well. (source)
Is your heart erupting? Mine did when I read her words. I can finally stop questioning whether I have mourned my father's death rightly. I know I'm not alone in this peace and I wish this joy for everyone who has experienced the passing of a loved one.
On this feast of Corpus Christi, contemplate Whom you are receiving in the Blessed Sacrament as well as the heavenly company that is beyond our comprehension.
This special book on the Eucharist has been an ongoing study material for our Blessed is She team. Take a look and see if your book club wants to dive in as well!
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.