Now that the revised English translation of our Roman Missal has been put into effect it’s finally time to start in these little articles a consideration of the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist. This means not only a consideration of what the sacrament is, but also how it’s celebrated in the Church’s public worship and the effect that it should have in our life of faith. We’ll be considering not only the reality and effects of Holy Communion, but also the Mass, and Eucharistic adoration and devotion.
That’s a tall order. And it will take quite a while. So let’s begin this week (and in the next two morceaux) with the most essential thing to remember: the Eucharist is Christ Jesus Himself. As St. John’s Gospel remembered the words of our Lord: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven . . . the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:51, 55)
Although proper celebration of Mass is important, and our own spiritual hunger for Holy Communion ought to be strong, these are not the most central things. We are not more important than God Himself, and we don’t want to act in a way that might imply this. Rather we seek to understand and appreciate what the Eucharist is, because in the end this will be better for us. We always want to keep our priorities straight!