“When I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all sorts of graces which I want to give to the soul.” ~Our Lord to St. Faustina
Recently, I had attended a funeral Mass where some of my non-Catholic friends were present. They have a deep and abiding love for Jesus. But like many non-Catholic Christians, they don't fully understand Catholicism, and it's often misunderstandings that rouse fear in the imagination, fear that can often regretfully lead to anti-Catholicism. When the time arrived to receive Holy Communion, I was sad and disheartened to see them receive Our Lord in the Eucharist even though they do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ and they most likely assumed that they were just receiving a meaningless wafer. I know that they didn't intend to do anything hurtful or wrong, but simply did not understand the immensity of the Eucharist.
I felt a deep sorrow for Jesus at the thought of anyone receiving Him in the Eucharist without believing that He was truly present in the Host. For a long time I wanted to say something to my friends, to try to evangelize and catechize them and to somehow help them to come around to the belief that it was truly Jesus' Body and Blood that they had ingested. But after discussing it with a holy priest and good friend, I came to understand that it was better to remain silent, yet continue to pray for them and for all of those who don't realize the great gift of Christ coming to us Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
Since then it has occurred to me that perhaps Jesus wanted to come to them in the Eucharist that day. My friends have endured a tremendous amount of suffering in recent years, more than most people could bear. Maybe he wanted to love them in this very special way so as to bring them some peace and healing through the tremendous gift that was now residing within them without their awareness. They might not have believed in the reality of His presence in the Host, but He believed in their love for Him, and for Jesus, perhaps that's enough. His mysterious, mystical ways are not for us to understand, and yet we believe in faith that His goodness knows no bounds-not the bounds of denominations or lack of faith. He loves us all and wants to be united to everyone.
I have never felt called to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, always feeling completely unworthy of that honor, but recently I have been asked to help in this capacity at my parish more and more often, and so I find myself standing beside the priest holding the Lord in my wretched hands and offering Him again and again to the long line of people hungry for His Love. With each host that I place within the hands or mouth of the communicants, I try to remain aware of the grace that flows from the Host to the person standing before me awaiting the Body of the Lord. I see the look of joy evident on the faces of those who receive and the anticipation for the future on the faces of those too young to receive.
Following Communion, the church sits in silence savoring the presence of the Lord within each person. For those few precious moments there is a brightness emanating from so many souls now made into tabernacles containing the Body of Our Lord. We have been Christed. We hold Him so intimately within our bodies. How can we not be gentle and tender and loving with ourselves and with others as we carry Him forth into the world?
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from Christ's side, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever.