The Sinner and the Eucharist
The Sinner and the Eucharist
By Simon Tipps, Diocese of Madison Seminarian and St. Maria Goretti Summer Intern
“Every Catholic is a bit of a poet and a bit of a mystic. That is why he loves the liturgy of his Church. The more he knows about it, the more he becomes absorbed in it; and when it takes complete possession of him, he becomes a real twenty-four-hour-a-day Catholic—falling, failing, loving, learning, asking for forgiveness, and beginning again.” (All Day With God)
I read this quote every morning because it reminds me of what it means to be Catholic and why I am Catholic. I am a sinner, each one of us is. To be a human being in this world is to be a sinner. We realize we can’t do this on our own and that we need God. We are given the gifts of the sacraments of confession and Holy Mass to heal our soul and give us the necessary strength to begin again, over, and over again.
In confession, we kneel before Jesus in the person of the priest and we humble ourselves by confessing how we have failed. It forces us to set our pride aside and tell almighty God that we have rejected him. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it is one of the most humbling acts we can do. It is that humility before God which truly heals us.
A priest once told me that the health of a parish is not determined by how many go to receive communion, but rather how many go to confession. The length of the confession line shows how many people realize they have failed, and see that they need God’s mercy. No priest will ever demonize or judge you for what you confess, that is not why he is sitting in the confessional. He is Jesus Christ who is crying tears of joy because he is welcoming back his child into his grace so that you can receive him in Holy Communion.
Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is truly the greatest gifts we have as Catholics. There are so many days I pray for God to move me to awe of his divine majesty which is hidden under that veil of the host. I often try to imagine the host visibly turning to flesh and bleeding. By doing that, it helps me imagine what I would do if I could see what is actually before my eyes.
Jesus loves us so much that he confines himself to that host so that we cannot visibly see the pain he has endured for our sins. When I approach for Holy Communion, Jesus is before my eyes, bleeding out of pure love for me. I ask God to pardon me for the times I have failed to give him due reverence in my reception of Holy Communion. I pray that Our Lord would move me to tears of sorrow for my own ingratitude for him and his Eucharist.
That is why I pray this prayer every day, “O hidden Love, who now art loving me; O wounded Love, who once was dead for me; O patient Love, who weariest not of me; O bear with me till I am lost in Thee; O bear with me till I am found in Thee.” (Veni, Domine Jesu!)
I fail a lot. But Our Eucharistic Lord never gives up on me, and He never gives up on you. In the end, love triumphs over all things and the humility we are taught through our failures helps us love God more purely and helps us to be more patient with our neighbor. We are all sinners on this road of life, but the love and adoration we show to our Eucharistic Lord will help us love one another more patiently and purely so that someday we may be saints.
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