The Eucharist has always meant a lot to me because it is infinitely more than just a ritual. It is the true physical presence, not just the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ. Dedicating an entire month, all of April, to the Eucharist seems not only fitting but also very special. Attending Mass or Adoration awards us a chance to encounter Jesus in a very real way. We place ourselves in His divine presence and draw on His love and guidance.
The Eucharist and Transubstantiation – What Sets Catholics Apart
Throughout the world, there are countless different Christian denominations, all of which proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. Every one of these Christian communities proclaims God’s divine love and guidance and teach us to follow Christ. The Last Supper plays a central part in all churches; however, the Catholic Church goes beyond simply remembering and celebrating the last supper.
Transubstantiation – When Bread and Wine Turn into the Body and Blood of Christ
I have always loved consecration during Mass, the moment when the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. During Communion, we receive the most intimate access to Christ. We don't simply remember how Jesus broke bread and shared it with his disciples, but we become part of Christ’s body. This is called “transubstantiation,” a belief only Catholics share. The closeness and grace touch our hearts and souls and change both.
The Story Behind the Holy Month of the Eucharist
We should thank a brave little Chinese girl for the month of the holy Eucharist. Her story moved and inspired Archbishop Fulton Sheen to dedicate an entire month to the Holy Eucharist.
The events leading up to the violent death of a little Chinese girl were rather harrowing. During the 20th century revolution in China, Communist gangs ransacked countless Catholic churches to eradicate Christianity. Soldiers violently opened tabernacles and ridiculed the Body of Christ.
One day, after witnessing a similar scene, a little girl bravely remained at the back of the church and waited for the soldiers to leave. She gathered 32 Hosts and, during the subsequent month, she returned to the church every day, prayed, and consumed one Host. No one took any notice, until the very last day, when a Communist soldier caught her and beat her to death.
Stories of her piety, dedication, and bravery spread and reached Archbishop Fulton. Deeply moved, he dedicated an entire month to the Holy Eucharist, as a result of which we join in prayer and adoration for an entire month each year.
"The Church in the course of the centuries has introduced various forms of this Eucharistic worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness; as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congresses, which pass through cities and villages; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed . . . These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are re-echoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven, which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb 'Who was slain.'" --Pope Pius XII
The Month of the Holy Eucharist– Practices and Prayers
There are different ways in which we can celebrate the month of the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps, we need to appreciate Holy Communion more deeply and remind ourselves of how precious a gift we are getting. This way, receiving Holy Communion will, once again, nourish us and change us for the better.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament also forms a central part for all those dedicating their time and devotion to the Holy Eucharist.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Many churches hold Holy Hours during which we can spend time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In adoration and faith, we contemplate the love of Christ and allow it to touch our hearts. Much like during Holy Communion, we can meet Jesus and receive his healing love.
Especially nowadays, when all of us are constantly busy and have little time for prayer and contemplation, attending adoration is an ever-enriching, deeply spiritual practice. Reminding ourselves of just how great a gift the Eucharist is, thanking God, and appreciating this privilege are essential.
Perhaps therein lies the greatest gift of adoration, that we can simply place ourselves in God’s loving presence in the sure knowledge of receiving love, forgiveness, guidance, and support. All we need to do is to spend time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and allow God’s love to touch our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We need not even say anything but only rest in His divine presence for a while. When we do, we receive nourishment, we grow, and we feel replenished at once.