Eyes, Heart, Commitment, Joy: Corpus Christi

Four very brief thoughts about Eucharistic eyes, and Eucharistic hearts, and Eucharistic commitment, and about Eucharistic joy:

Eucharistic eyes are trained to see holiness where it isn’t expected. They are accustomed to encountering the presence of God in the unimpressive, unimposing, ordinary things. Eucharistic eyes know not to look for glory according to what is most pompous or dazzling, but in what is humble and unassuming. They discern the presence and activity of a God Who does not assert himself with force and compulsion, but Who chooses to meet us in the most humble and gentle way. Eyes that have learned to recognize the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in a little round host have learned to recognize Him where He wants to meet us elsewhere out in the world: in the people He’s given us to love and serve. In the people who are easy to overlook. In the moments that are utterly ordinary. In the tasks that fail to impress.

A Eucharistic heart knows that to love is to give yourself, because the Eucharist is Jesus giving Himself to us as completely and intimately as only God could do. We learn from this the law of the gift, and imitate it in according to our own vocation. And when we are exhausted or frustrated, a Eucharistic heart keeps going and keeps loving because it knows this secret: in Christian love, we are consumed without being diminished. To be consumed, to be used up, even to lay down our lives, is only to rise into greater glory.

A Eucharistic commitment knows that to receive this gift is to accept that our lives will not be the same. It is very much like accepting the gift of an engagement ring: it comes with a return commitment. This is, after all, the “wedding feast of the Lamb!” To accept the Lord’s gift of the Eucharist without that commitment is like accepting an engagement ring, saying “I think it’s time we see other people,” and taking the ring to the pawn shop. If you say yes, if you accept from Jesus this total gift of Himself, this offer of closest relationship, then that defines your life now. It’s why we must receive the Eucharist in a state of grace. It doesn’t mean you are perfect and never sin. It means you are trying, and you receive reconciliation when you fall. If there are things in your life that are contrary to Christ’s teaching, you must choose between them and Christ. You must at least be trying to leave them behind, even if you seem to be failing. If this sounds harsh, it’s time to read the Gospels. I want everyone to choose Christ over unchastity, over contraception, over lazily skipping Mass when they could’ve attended, over any grave sin. I hope they will choose Him over these things, sooner rather than later. Until then, lets have no illusions about who is rejecting who.

But a Eucharistic commitment is so much more than a list of rules to keep: it’s to become what you receive! To invite and allow Jesus to transform what you think and say and do. To say with John the Baptist, “I must decrease, He must increase.” To say with Paul, “Now I live, not I, but Christ lives in me.” To live out the sending at the end of the Mass, to go and proclaim the Gospel with your life, to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus for a hurting world.

And, last but not least, a Eucharistic joy can be taken from you by nothing and nobody.  A Eucharistic joy knows that all things are yours because you are Christ’s and Christ is yours. And to truly understand and believe that is to be fearless, to be content, and to be joyful. Sorrow or happiness, easy times or hard, sick or healthy, living or dying… a Eucharistic joy rests in belonging to God. It knows He will take care of you. It believes that whatever’s happening, it’s part of the journey home to where you belong forever.

To see the world with Eucharistic eyes that recognize God’s presence in the ordinary, to love with a Eucharistic heart that is consumed without being diminished, to live with a Eucharistic commitment to ongoing conversion and witness, and to feel the Eucharistic joy of belonging to Christ and filled with His life… this is the gift we celebrate on the Feast of Corpus Christi.


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