"Whoever really takes the Eucharist as his daily bread, experiences each day the mystery of Christmas, the Word Made Flesh." - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
How do we "live the celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery"? According to Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical, Mysterium Fidei, on the Holy Eucharist we as Catholics, with great humility and reverence, must rely on Divine Revelation and not our own reasoning to believe in the Real Presence. It is by the gift of faith that we come to believe in the Mystery of the Faith. By listening to the words of Jesus repeatedly in the sixth chapter of John's Gospel; the "Bread of Life Discourse", "For My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink" and "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them," (see verses 6:26 through 6:71) we hear Jesus speaking of both sacrifice and sacrament; the foreshadowing of the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist. St. John Chrysostom in his homily on Matthew has said:
"Let us submit to God in all things and not contradict Him, even if what He says seems to contradict our reason and intellect; let His word prevail over our reason and intellect. Let us act in this way with regard to the Eucharistic mysteries, and not limit our attention just to what can be perceived by the senses, but instead hold fast to His words. For His word cannot deceive."
If we believe that Jesus Christ is the God-Man; the Second Person of the Trinity Who is the Son of God then we know that He is the Truth. It is impossible for God to tell a lie, and the statement that Jesus makes while preaching on the Eucharist is not a symbolic one. If Jesus' disciples thought that His words were mere symbolism then why did many of His followers leave Him? They believed that He meant what He said really and truly and that is why they could not accept His words.
During every single Catholic Mass we come to the Lord's Table to receive His Body and His Blood. The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's sacrifice; the re-presentation of the same sacrifice that took place at Calvary. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1366) After we partake in the Pascal Banquet we are called to share the fruits of the graces that we receive with the rest of humanity; especially the most neglected and spiritually abandoned souls. Our Pentecost moment; the dismissal at Mass, is when we are called to make present to the world the Pascal Mystery. As members of the lay faithful we have the duty to share our faith with others, and to serve the most vulnerable in our society; the unborn, our children, the aged and infirmed, the migrant and refugee, those with disabilities, and those who are away from the faith.
We must do as St. Pope John Paul II says in his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, "rekindle the Eucharistic amazement," (no. 6) which will inspire us to have hope in our daily commitment to the work that lies ahead of us on our journey through this life. It is the Eucharist that marries Heaven and Earth; where we receive a taste of Paradise in this world, that which prepares us for life in eternity with the Triune God-head. The Second Vatican Council teaches us that it is this reality that makes more significant "our sense of responsibility for the world today." (Gaudium et Spes, no. 39) St. Pope John Paul II speaks of the importance of not neglecting our duties as citizens of this world; one that lacks harmony and is filled with discord. How can we prepare our hearts to become citizens of the heavenly realm if we do not act first as citizens of this world? We have the obligation as Catholics to "think of the urgent need to work for peace, to base relationships between peoples on solid premises of justice and solidarity, and to defend human life from conception to its natural end." (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 20) We must be the light of Christ in this world, which is only possible by uniting ourselves to Christ in the Eucharist. How can we offer to others that which we have not yet received ourselves? It is by receiving spiritual nourishment in the consuming of the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that enables our hearts to be set on fire with His infinite love.
Our entire lives should burn with endless devotion to our Eucharistic Lord if we truly know Who and What the Eucharist is to us. The Lord gave Himself to remain with the human race forever, so that we can be united with Him as to transform the world by the message of the Gospel. We become endowed with the courage and zeal necessary to work towards changing our own lives, and the lives of those whom we encounter. It is by the mystery of the water and wine; the partaking in the "Supper of the Lamb," that we receive a share in the Divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity. (Order of the Mass, no. 24) The love of Christ that enters into our very being when we receive the Real Presence in the Eucharist leads us to become more and more Christ-like in our thoughts, words, and deeds, where we can then authentically "live the celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery."