"I finally got Him!"
May 9, 1998 was a beautiful, memorable day. I was the parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor, presiding for the second of two first Communion Masses that morning. The liturgy had reached the distribution of Communion. As one young boy approached to receive the Eucharist for the first time, he held up his hands, perfectly poised as he had been taught. I carefully placed the Eucharist in his outstretched hand. He looked down at the Body of Christ and said in a perfectly gleeful stage whisper that was heard by the first 10 rows: “I finally got Him!” I’m not sure how any of us managed to continue.
The Eucharist has incredible power in our lives. I still marvel at how that young boy was eagerly longing to receive Communion. I can’t help but hope that each of us has the same kind of anticipation as we make our way to receive Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament, which forms both the source and summit of our life of faith as Catholics, is a treasure of inestimable value that God has given to the Church. The gift of the Eucharist is present at so many key times in our lives. Certainly many of us have wonderful memories of our own first Communion day. Bishop Carl Mengeling shares with us his memories of that day 62 years ago and the impact it has had on his life through the years.
For others, the Eucharist is what sustains us through some of the most difficult times in our lives – times when we know we rely solely on God for the strength we need to make it from day to day. Rosita Kintz knows much about relying on God to get through tough times. The Eucharist has sustained Rosita through the loss of six family members during the past 16 years. The Body and Blood of Christ have supported Rosita and drawn her into even closer communion with God. She now shares the Divine Love she finds in the Eucharist and the lessons of the past 16 years with those who are caught in their own grief.
Still others are drawn to the Church and to a life of faith because we have been given the gift of the Eucharist. This sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood has a powerful attraction for many who have never before experienced it. Such was the case for Carolyn Feeman who joined the Church through the RCIA. Like so many, Carolyn was first attracted to the Church by the presence of Christ dwelling with the community of faith in the Blessed Sacrament. After her profession of faith, Carolyn took part in her parish’s BeFrienders ministry. That ministry was one way that she could carry the presence of Christ to people who were suffering from losses of many kinds.
Whether he knew it or not, that young first communicant at St. Thomas had a hunger for the holy. Hunger for the holy is a good thing and our hunger for the Eucharist is unlike any other that we can experience. In Spiritual Fitness, Fr. Bill Ashbaugh gives us some simple ways that we can be mindful of and encourage that hunger for the Eucharist within us.
Bread also satisfies our physical hunger and baking bread can bring families together. Discover the power of fresh-baked bread by using one of the simple recipes in Culture. The “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist has had the power to bring families and communities together for centuries. Bishop Kenneth Povish reminds us that it is Communion that brings us together as a community of faith that extends from family to parish to the global communio that we call the Church. All this and more await as we continue our journey in FAITH.