I could have never imagined a time such as this. A time where a trip to target, an innocent coffee run, or a much needed reception of the sacraments was suddenly frowned upon or not possible. Those simple things we’ve spent years taking for granted just…. poof. It feels surreal. Locked in my own little bubble it’s as if it’s not really happening. Not much has changed in my day to day life, but when I think about going to mass it hits me.
I can’t just get in my car and go receive the sacraments.
But I remember that day, after many years, when receiving Jesus was more than a Sunday obligation. I remember sitting in the pew lost in the beauty of what was unfolding before me. I remember making the choice to not take that spiritual healing for granted. And now, I miss it.
It was a big day. We were celebrating Cooper’s baptism with family and friends. I was anxious because of the unpredictability of a newborn and the lack of sleep that had occurred over the previous three months.
As we entered the church we were led to the very front pew. All I could imagine was the scene that was about to ensue. I was going to sit down, Cooper was going to lose his marbles, and the whole church would watch as I rushed him out and failed to console him. I had already accepted this fate.
I watched Cooper sleeping soundly in his car seat and tried to focus on the mass. But it’s hard to focus when there’s a ticking time bomb sleeping beside you. I did the best I could.
As the end neared, I began to grow anxious and annoyed. This was the part of mass that was always annoying. The s l o w cleanup after communion. I watched in frustration as the priest folded each cloth and tiptoed around the altar as if he had nothing else to do all day. My eyes darted incessantly from Cooper to the priest until finally I surrendered my anxiety.
And then it clicked. I watched the gentle and purposeful movements of the priest. I watched him cleaning up the Eucharist as if it was the most important thing he has ever done. And of course! It is the most important thing. It’s Jesus.
A flood of grace broke through, and I was shown the beauty of our faith. The Eucharist came alive for me that day. The desire to be there and receive Jesus became real. And even when I’m not feeling it, I still trust in it. Cooper’s baptism, the beginning of his journey, also marked a monumental moment in my own journey. It’s such a gift to share that with him!
It is a weird time. Many people are overreacting, many are under reacting, and many are just stressed. Now, more than ever I have seen Catholics everywhere longing to receive Jesus. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. Although we can’t receive Jesus in the sacrament, I’ve seen everyone join together in other ways – in praying a virtual Rosary or watching mass online. And now, more than ever, I am grateful for the gift of our faith and the Universal Catholic Church. We are not alone.
For the times when we are unable to receive the Eucharist, let us pray:
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.