A Eucharistic Meditation

June 9, 1996
Brother John Raymond

	June is a month traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of
 Jesus. It is not surprising that the Feast of Corpus Christi should
 fall within this month__the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love,
 the love of the Heart of Jesus. Our Lord asked for this feast
 because on Holy Thursday, the institution day of this sacrament, the
 Church is caught up in thoughts of the Passion. By having a separate
 feastday, Our Lord wanted us to focus on this great Sacrament.
	For cradle Catholics it is possible perhaps to take for granted
 the gift of the Holy Eucharist. Non-Catholics and non-cradle
 Catholics both can offer us food for thought. So for this Corpus
 Christi I wish to share with you some "live" conversations I have
 taken off the Internet for your prayerful reflection.
	Ken, a non-Catholic, said this, "As a Protestant, I've received
 communion many many times in my life. I've even served it in my
 childhood Methodist church. But I have never felt anything so
 powerful as receiving the Holy Eucharist in the chapel at Seton Hall
 university. A small chapel, but the power is there! I don't know
 what it is, there's got to be a name for it, or perhaps you've all
 been saying it all along... but during the Eucharist, and the
 kneeling afterwards, I find I leave the chapel with an amazing
 peace, a happiness, a sense of being part of something vastly
 greater than myself and my immediate surroundings. And the feeling
 lasts all day (and it's not the wine either! Before receiving
 communion in the Catholic Church, I assumed the Holy Eucharist was
 so powerful because everybody was drunk! How naive of me!"
	Bonnie, a Catholic, answered Ken with the following, "The reason
 to join the Catholic Church is Jesus himself. He is really, truly
 present in the Holy Eucharist! At every Mass, you can receive HIM,
 Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity! You can 'church hop' all you want,
 but the buck stops here!"
	Elizabeth, in response to Bonnie had this to say, "You responded
 to Ken's comments on reception of the Eucharist. I did not see his
 letter, but wanted you to know how much I appreciated your comments.
 I have been a Catholic for almost 14 years (born and raised Jewish)
 and have fallen head over heals in love with Our Lord and Messiah. I
 know of no other experience in life that is so profoundly humbling
 and miraculously awesome as coming before the Lord and receiving Him
 in the Eucharist."
	Terry had this to say to Ken, "Your letter brought back so many
 memories! After my conversion experience (which happened during the
 first Mass I attended), I visited many churches in an effort to
 bargain with God ('OK, I'll be a Christian, but do I have to be a
 Catholic?') Like you, I received Commmunion at that first Mass, and
 was flooded with joy, peace, and, most of all, a Real Presence I
 knew could only be Christ. I knew nothing at all of Catholic
 theology at that point; it wasn't that I "believed" in the Real
 Presence__I felt it...One day, when the roads were icy, I stopped in
 at the Cathedral for the 12:10 Mass. There were perhaps a dozen
 people in the vast nave, mostly elderly. I didn't know how to follow
 the Mass, so I just stayed in a corner and knelt all the way through
 it. The priest was not particularly inspiring__he rushed through the
 liturgy in a monotone. The church (at that time) was hideous__gloomy
 and in poor condition, with ugly green carpet and a loudly clanking
 furnace. Yet HE was there! (I did not receive on that day. I had
 been reading books and had learned it was not allowed.) I called the
 only Catholic I knew and got the name of a priest. He was the
 chaplain at a small university chapel. We met a few times and I
 began going to daily Mass. I had read so much by this time that he
 soon said I had a sufficient grasp of Catholic doctrine to make a
 decision as to whether to enter the Church. I did__almost 16 years
 ago. I know a couple of people have reminded you that it is not
 licit for non-Catholics to receive Communion. That's true. I also
 know what it felt like for you when you did. Ken, with faith like
 yours in the Blessed Sacrament, you will never feel satisfied in any
 other Church. Ask to be received and soon! You'll be in my prayers."
	With these reflections let us spend this Corpus Christi in
 adoration of, gratitude for and prayerful meditation concerning the
 Holy Eucharist. Oh, by the way, you non-cradle Catholics can too!