Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Power of the Eucharist

I long ago came to the sad realization that I am a social klutz. Most of the priests and religious I know have more active social lives than I do, and truthfully, I'm not complaining about that. Since returning to the One True Faith, even my vacations are centered on where I can most easily get to Mass. I think this is somewhat frustrating to my husband at times, but he doesn't complain about it all that often. An occasional Phillies game with my daughter or visit to a restaurant for dinner is about all I can manage these days.

Last week and this week, certain activities at work have demanded my presence earlier than usual, and this means not getting to Daily Mass. Thankfully, this sort of thing doesn't happen very often because when I don't get to Daily Mass, the rest of my prayer routine is thrown off kilter. I've felt a bit lost the last two weeks, even though God does not demand that I get up with the roosters and venture out in the dark every morning to spend some quiet time with Him before the insanity of my day begins. Then I notice that, when I don't get to Mass, I get careless about other things too, like not watching my words as carefully as I should. Without the Eucharist as my daily focus, I fall off the wagon a bit, so to speak.

Now that the mandatory exercises at work have concluded, I'm hoping to climb back on the wagon and make amends for the times I slipped up. Maybe it's not normal not to want to socialize with other couples or "go out with the girls". I don't care. I know where I belong, and to Whom I belong. I liken the relationship between us and Jesus in the Eucharist to a plant that leans in the direction of the sun, as though it can't get enough of the sustaining energy of the solar sphere. You can attempt to train the plant to grow in any direction you want, but the sun will win that battle every time. We are drawn to the Eucharist in the same way. What happens to a plant when there is no sunshine? It's growth is slowed and it may even wilt and die.

When St. Therese was in the throes of her illness, she insisted on taking part in the spiritual exercises of her community, even though her participation left her utterly exhausted. It is recounted that she had to literally drag herself up the banister to her cell at night where she was so worn out, that it took her a full hour to dress for bed. " I do not count this too much to win one Holy Communion", she said. What a beautiful thought, and one we would all do well to embrace.

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