Here is what I wish I was bold enough to say aloud about Holy Communion.
My nephews, ages 12 and nearly 10, seem to be uncomfortable around talk of religion — like their mother is and like I used to be. They go to Sunday Mass regularly because of their dad, but I don’t think they get it and I don’t think they like it. Did any of us as kids? Nobody broke it down for me when I was younger. So, here’s my attempt for them — at least on paper…
Holy Communion is spiritual food. Your soul needs the Eucharist to be healthy. Communion, or the Eucharist, gives you spiritual strength to help you to be brave, to be kind, to be merciful, to be generous, and to have wisdom to help you to make good decisions. In the consecrated bread and wine, Jesus gives you himself so that you can be powerful like him.
Now, of course, we’re only human. We make mistakes. We have flaws. And life isn’t always easy in this world. God knows. When Jesus lived among us, a human being like us, even though he is also God, he had it pretty rough sometimes. He and his family were poor. People made fun of him, thought he was crazy, spit at him, and beat him up. I mean — they even nailed him to a cross to die! But even though Jesus got scared, tired, sad, even angry at times, and even though he terribly dreaded what he would have to suffer on the cross, so much so that he sweated blood — he got through it. He even got through death. Death had no power over him. He rose up from the dead, alive again, body and soul. And he now lives, in a mysterious way, in Heaven and gives himself to us, also in a mysterious way, in the Eucharist, so that we can be strong like him and get through anything, even death, and live forever.
Spiritual food doesn’t just help us get through the rough times. Holy Communion helps us to better enjoy the happy things of life, too, like love, laughter, fun, accomplishments, even forgiveness — which is a kind of joy because it’s so freeing. Spiritually strong, we can become more grateful, peaceful, and happier, because we carry a little bit of Heaven within us.
Remember that we can’t be truly healthy and truly happy unless we take care of both our bodies and our souls. We call Jesus the Bread of Life. And that’s why Jesus invites us to the altar to receive him in the Eucharist — to feed our souls, to help us to be strong, healthy, and happy, with his never-ending love always in our hearts.
Yup. I’d like to say all these things to my nephews … but I probably won’t be brave enough. Other people’s discomfort makes me uncomfortable, too. Yes … I seem to be afraid of what children who love me will think of me. Heavy sigh.
Maybe I need to listen to my own words and receive the courage that Jesus is giving to me when he feeds and strengthens my soul in the Eucharist….
© 2015 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.