Most of the time when I receive Jesus in a tiny white host, I wish that I could just hold Him in the palm of my hands a little bit longer. That I could stand there in front of the altar and reflect on Jesus humbling Himself so much that He takes on human life, a life like mine. He humbles Himself even more to choose to reside, of all places, in something so ordinary and simple as bread and wine. What amazes me the most – what leaves me in awe – is that He also chooses to reside in me, each time I receive Him and say “Amen” (which translates to “I believe” in Hebrew).
The Intimacy of the Eucharist
Each time I receive Communion at Mass, I’m able to look down at Jesus and think to myself: “He is asking to be mine.” What mercy He has for me. He comes to me, in all of His incredible glory and in all my own human imperfections, to give Himself to me so that I can be with the Father, as He is one with Our Father. He offers Himself to me, always drawing me closer and closer to a life with Him and in Him.
As I walk towards the altar, I am able to experience a temporary glimpse and taste of Heaven, of what it actually means to be in union with God. I am able to walk along the same footsteps of the saints, walking along the same path of holiness that they once walked, receiving the God who connects Heaven and Earth.
Letting Him In
Clearly, I am not worthy to receive Him but He asks to enter under my roof. If I am being honest, most of the time what is under that roof is messy, in need of repair, and desperate for some serious grace. I fix my eyes on Jesus and think to myself: “Here is God, the Creator of the entire Universe, asking me to make room for Him, wanting me to be like Him, to be all things good and merciful and true.” The words: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” are so true but Jesus looks at me, in my own weakness and faults, and still chooses me.
He is worthy of all of my praise.
He is more than worthy to enter under my roof.
When we experience a Love so deep and personal like this, we can’t help but be moved with gratitude and thanksgiving. That kind of true, lasting, and good love demands a personal response.
We enter God’s dwelling place to become His dwelling place. His Church. His body. Our lives and the Liturgy are connected as we become more and more like Jesus with the grace He has given us.
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Becoming the Palace of God
One of my favorite spiritual authors is Henri Nouwen, who wrote a beautiful book called Life of the Beloved. In this book, he focuses on four words: taken, blessed, broken, and given (described in Jesus’ Last Supper account). Living out the Eucharist, we can also focus on how we are continuously taken, blessed, broken and given.
How am I taken, chosen, or “set apart” for God? How does being claimed or known by God affect my daily life, even the mundane, routine, and simple?
How can I cultivate a spirit of gratitude for all the good gifts God has given me? How can I deeply affirm and encourage others to recognize how God claims them as His own?
How am I allowing myself to be imperfect, to not “have it all together”? Remember, gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and that includes being gentle with ourselves. How can my brokenness and imperfections be a blessing for others?
How am I giving myself out of love, right where God has placed me?
Everything in our lives points back to this divine communion – a life taken, blessed, broken, and given.
This quote by CS Lewis says it best:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing so you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominable and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of-throwing a new wing here, putting an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
How have you been taken, blessed, broken, and given in your life recently? Care to share in the comments below?
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Kathryn Gibbs is a young adult, living and working as a high school teacher and campus minister in Dallas, TX. She is passionate about helping young people discover that Catholicism is not about following “rules” and restrictions but more about loving and trusting Our Father’s heart. When she’s not working, you can find her making to-do lists like they are going out of style, sitting in the silence of an empty church, and surviving on lots of coffee. Her favorite prayer is the litany of humility.