“I Am the Bread of Life”
By Deacon Gary Perrydore
At various times, it is good to take stock of our relationships and how we honor them. This applies to parents and children, spouses, siblings, work relationships, extended family, friends, etc. Without intending to do so, we can drift our attention away from nurturing those relationships.
This can also apply to our relationship with the Eucharist. The Church has directed our attention to John Chapter 6 and the Bread of Life discourse, offering us an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In my own life, whether it be related to my children, my marriage, work or ministry, I need to take time to reflect on how deliberate I’m being to attend to those relationships. The same is true with the Eucharist.
Unfortunately, receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus can become routine and lack the reverence, focus and connection due to so great a gift. Humbly, I offer some very practical ideas to direct your attention to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as you honor the same. Most of these you likely are aware of but even so, going through the “motions” can become as routine as saying, “I love you” to your spouse. You do love your spouse, but the words, stated routinely can become mere words versus action without even realizing it. So, some things to remember, do deliberately and with an intention of reverence for our Lord in the Eucharist:
- Go to confession before receiving Holy Communion if you are not in a state of grace
- Fast for one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion (this is Canon law – C. 919)
- Arrive to Mass with enough time to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle
- This is a great time to thank Jesus and offer the Mass for a special prayer intention and unite with Him
- If you’re able, genuflect to the tabernacle prior to entering your pew before Mass and as you leave Mass. This shows due reverence to our Lord, reposed in the tabernacle
- Don’t chew gum in church
- No one should judge the heart and devotion of a person by how they receive Holy Communion
- For my part, several years ago, I heard a priest encourage the audience to receive our Lord on the tongue for a period of time. Doing that has changed my life and devotion to the Eucharist.
- When you approach to receive Holy Communion, if you don’t use the kneeler, make a sign of reverence; genuflect or bow. It heightens your internal disposition to our Lord. Some may not consider doing this but, in the presence of earthly royalty, wouldn’t hesitate to bow. Who is more royal and worthy than the King of kings and Lord of lords?
- After receiving Holy Communion, thank Jesus and ask Him to guide your life to Him. This is a time of great unity with our Lord and fosters a wonderful opportunity to bring your personal petitions to Him.
- After Mass has ended, remain in your pew for at least another moment or few minutes to pray. Thank the Lord for His union with you, seeking His favor for your needs and the needs of others, praying for our parish family, Fr. Pieter, your humble deacons and parish staff and volunteers.
- Before and after Mass, remember that our Lord is present in the tabernacle and our conversation and disposition in the worship space should reflect that
- Make time to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament during Eucharistic Adoration
These are a few ways we can move our inner disposition to reverence of the Lord and be a witness to others of the great gift we have in the Eucharist. God bless you as you seek to follow our Lord and live each day in union with Him.