Whether you come to Mass daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or not at all, we can all benefit from going deeper in our understanding of the Eucharist. Sometimes our lives affect us so much that our beliefs change or we forget, if even for a moment, how precious this Gift is. Some have fallen away completely.
Magnificence of the Eucharist
Consider the simplicity in one small wafer of bread and then consider the magnificence of the creation of all the universe. Now, consider that one small wafer of bread containing the One Who created all the universe, the Word of God Himself, Who humbled Himself to become human, walk and talk among us as a lowly carpenter, and die for us on a Cross.
Even if you’re not sure what you believe now, just take a few minutes to consider this notion, which is truly impossible for our human minds to understand fully, but enough to make us wonder. Considering all the magnitude of the universe should make us feel small. With this in mind, it’s amazing to think that the One Who made it all would die on a cross for us. That means that the Lord wants us to be with Him. He desires us. And so, shouldn’t we desire Him more? More of you, Lord, less of me.
Humble and Contrite
A little ways into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest prays over the offertory gifts with words like, “with humble spirit and contrite heart…” asking the Lord to accept our gifts. In some Masses, this is spoken quietly while in others this is audible.
What is a humble spirit? Simply put, a humble person isn’t putting themselves before others. Humility, not to be confused with poor self-esteem, is the essence of realizing Someone is greater than us and more worthy.
What does having a contrite heart mean? To be contrite is to be penitent or remorseful. It means to be sorry, sorry for your sins, sorry for your shortcomings, sorry for your absence. Don’t confuse these two things with feeling terrible about ourselves or at least not without knowing that God’s love can never be less today than it was yesterday or more tomorrow than it is today. His love is permanent; it is unchanging. Our faults do not ever change His love for us.
Knowing all that, we are to come to Christ in the Eucharist with humble spirits and contrite hearts. Doing this will allow us to receive Him more fully; we receive His grace more completely. By emptying ourselves, we allow Christ to fill us up.
Peace Amidst Busyness
The world is busy and loud and life is so overwhelming… How can one possibly do this? How can one possibly find peace? It’s hard and it seems to be asking a lot, but it’s very possible. If your mind is too busy, fill all those thoughts and tangents with Christ and things of Christ. See the Chalice, See the Host, Listen to the Words, Feel the pew, Smell the scents… Empty yourself so that you may let Him fill you…
Prayer for Peace before the Eucharist
Empty your worries, “Lord, take my worries.”
Empty your fears, “Lord, take my fears.”
Empty your opinions, “Lord, take my opinions.”
Empty your desires, “Lord, take my desires.”
Empty your discontentment, “Lord, take my discontentment.”
“Lord, instead of worries, give me confidence in You.” Fill yourself with the knowledge that He can handle your troubles.
“Instead of my fears, let me fear and be in Awe of You.” Fear of the Lord is a gift. We begin to wonder and be in awe of His Magnificence. Be filled with awe of the Lord.
“Instead of my opinions, let me see as You see.” The Lord sees the whole picture, from across the whole globe and throughout all time. We see just a tiny fraction of this. Be filled with His Sight.
“Instead of my desires, let me desire as You desire.” Our desires are imperfect and don’t always lead us the right way. Be filled with God’s desires for our goodness; this leads to true happiness.
“Instead of discontentment, let me be content in You and need nothing more.” To be filled with God is to be happy. God gives Himself freely. Nothing else in this world is free. So, to be filled with this freely given love is a joy that means we don’t need anything else to be happy.
Nothing is Perfect
Now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t successfully do this start to finish without distraction. Not even once. My little one is tugging at me or an older one is talking… something is always pulling my attention away. Good news, effort counts. Sometimes my best prayer at the moment is, Lord, I need you right now! Clear my head!
I find a way to recenter and get ready for my most holy moment of the week. Life is messy and sometimes ugly, but we are called to Christ Who is Perfection. As long as we aim for Him, He will help us get there. He knows our struggles, our imperfections, our distractions… He knows all of it. Yet all He asks of us is to keep coming back to Him.
So, don’t worry if you forget the words or lose track of what you were praying. Just remember that God is still with you, waiting patiently, ready for you to speak to Him, listen to Him, and come to receive Him. It’s an open invitation to His Grace.
It’s not one and done but a continual prayer that we can revisit anytime we need to reset. Each time we have an opportunity to receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we have an obligation to empty ourselves first so we may receive Him more fully. If we aren’t filling ourselves with Christ, the enemy will fill us with worldly things. Our best defense against unhappiness, discontent, worry, fear, anger, resentment, is to fill ourselves with righteousness, love, charity, peace, gentless.
So, this prayer, or something like can be said anytime you feel yourself being caught up in a negative moment. You don’t have to say the exact words I said, but just remember the notion of emptying the worldly and filling yourself with Christ. Before receiving the Eucharist, this is absolutely a wonderful way to prepare our souls. But it can also be done before meeting with someone if you’re anxious about the meeting. It can be done before a possible confrontation. It can be done when dealing with your children. You might do this when you feel angry or alone or concerned about something.
Until we’re in heaven with the Lord, we are not done praying this. Filling ourselves with the Holy Eucharist, Christ made flesh in the Mass, is the pinnacle of our Catholic faith. But if we don’t prepare our souls, we’re not receiving His Grace as well. Emptying ourselves to more fully receive Him in Body and Spirit is truly preparing ourselves for the Kingdom of Heaven. When we’re Kingdom bound, the world we live in seems much less intimidating.