In this season of Lent, we experience the great graces of Holy Thursday – but these graces can go over our heads, even bypass us completely, because too often we are simple spectators during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. We watch what goes on; we say the prayers with everyone else in the church. But what is going on in your soul? Are you filled with gratitude? Christ was tortured and crucified to death. He died from asphyxiation and loss of blood – for you. He died that we might have eternal life. Let me say that again: Christ died so that the door to eternal life would be open to you.
But there is more. Jesus not only died for you but he, by a miracle, gave us his own body and blood to feed on, daily – to strengthen us to live the life of a true disciple of Christ and to grow in love and union with him while we still live on this earth.
I have had good gifts given to me in this life, some that I treasure many years after the gift was given. But no one on the face of this earth could give me what Jesus Christ did – he gave me himself. With this in mind, let us consider how to experience the real presence of Jesus on Holy Thursday.
3 ways to experience the real presence of Jesus:
- We can receive Jesus in the eucharistic celebration
- We can adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
- We can, through his gift of self, become more and more like Jesus in thought and word and deed
Why do we not take more advantage of this inestimable gift? Could it be that our faith is weak? Do we not believe that he hears us when we talk to him, when we share our lives with him? Let us work to strengthen our faith during our time at adoration.
3 ways to contemplate Christ at adoration:
- Thank Jesus for our blessings that day
- Bring Jesus our needs
- Ask Jesus to give us grace, that we might grow in union with him while we still live on this earth
St. Peter Julian Eymard, a French Catholic priest who lived during the 19th century, gives us some very good advice, particularly for times of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: “Begin all your periods of adoration with an act of love, and you will open your soul deliciously to his divine action. It is because you begin with yourselves that you give up on the way … Love is the only door to the heart.”
In the year 2000, Pope St. John Paul II spoke to youths at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy and included these words: “Dear friends, when you go back home, set the Eucharist at the center of your personal life and community life: love the Eucharist, adore the Eucharist and celebrate it, especially on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. Live the Eucharist by testifying to God’s love for every person … You yourselves must be fervent witnesses to Christ’s presence on the altar. Let the Eucharist mold your life and the life of the families you will form. Let it guide all life’s choices. May the Eucharist, the true and living presence of the love of the Trinity, inspire in you ideals of solidarity and may it lead you to live in communion with your brothers and sisters in every part of the world.”
May it be so in and through us. Let it begin with me.