We all know our mission as baptized Catholics is to know, love and serve God in order to be with Jesusin heaven. But how do we come to know Jesus? Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, it is in the breaking of the bread – the Eucharist. It is by receiving Him and spending time with Him eternally present for us in the Blessed Sacrament that we come to know and love Jesus. It happens supernaturally. It happens through graces we cannot see, touch or feel, but it happens nonetheless if we believe and open our hearts to receive what He longs to give us.
But again, the question arises how do we as busy women – single women, married women, college age women, working women, stay at home moms, all of us women – find the time amongst our myriad daily duties to be like Mary, a woman of the Eucharist?
Put Jesus first. Everything else will fall into place according to his will. Don’t try to fit Jesus in later, in your leftover time. It won’t work. You won’t do it.
Live your life by a hierarchy of values: God first, then spouse, then family, then work/ministry.
Through the Eucharist, God will infuse his graces into us so that we come to know and love him more. But knowing and loving aren’t enough. We are called to also serve Him by sharing our love for Christ with others.
The Catholic Church provides us with four beautiful ways to live a Eucharistic life. Let’s look at one of them now, then in a future column we will look at the other three and how we can serve Christ by sharing him with our neighbor.
• Eucharistic Celebration
Frequent attendance and participation at the Eucharistic celebration and reception of the Holy Eucharist, more often than once on Sunday, even daily if possible, will transform you supernaturally. Make the commitment and God will do the rest. He will give you the graces to want to persevere. Just start.
And do “bring the children unto me.” Our children receive the graces even though they don’t understand what is happening. Do we truly understand this sublime mystery? Liken it to being out in the sun, feeling the rays and the warmth. Is it conditional on understanding the science behind how it works? Do bring your children to Mass with you, and don’t let the human respect factor hinder you. Don’t fear that your children will disturb others. God understands. He is the one that has given the children to you in the first place, and He wants them there, that is all that matters. Over time, our children adjust to coming as a natural and expected part of their day.
Let us ask Christ to make us women of the Eucharist, to inspire us with the grace of knowing how Gdd wants us to serve him, and to give us the grace, strength and perseverance to carry out the unique and personal mission He chose for us before we were born.
• Eucharistic Hours
Time spent before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in an adoration chapel for a “holy hour” for any period of time will also give you graces to know, love and serve God more fully. You will be given peace and encouragement to continue in your walk with him. You will feel an overwhelming sensation of God’s mercy and personal love.
Before the tabernacle is where a woman of the Eucharist brings her troubles, concerns, joys, blessings and sorrows to share with Christ. It is a place where one will find perfect rest and comfort, like the fullness of an infant after a feeding.
What do you do there? You can do some spiritual reading, pray the rosary, pray for your needs and those of family and friends, pray for the Church, pray for vocations. Or you can just adore Him … be with Him. As an old man who would sit for hours in church told St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, in response to his query as to what he was doing every day just staring at the tabernacle, “I look at Jesus and he looks at me.”
How to fit it in? Some women sign up for a set hour each week, some even in the middle of the night. Others routinely go at the same time each week. Start slow, go for a few minutes if that’s all you can do. God will lead you to more over time. He will help free you up to spend more time with Him. By being generous with Him, He pays you back and cannot be outdone in generosity.
• Eucharistic Visits
Stop into a Catholic church briefly on the way home from work, between classes, on your lunch hour, before picking kids up from school. Give Him your day, your activity, your concerns, your hopes, your projects. Put it all in His hands. Make it His work.
When you drive by a Catholic church be aware that you are passing the Blessed Sacrament. Make the sign of the cross. Unite your will to His. Make a spiritual communion.
• Spiritual Communion
By offering up a spontaneous prayer in your heart, you can unite yourself to Christ throughout the day … to do His will, for His glory. Tell God how much you wish you could receive Him in the Eucharist, but cannot at this time, but you desire nonetheless to be spiritually united to Him. It can go like this:
“My Lord, Jesus Christ, I love you with all my heart and I ardently desire to receive you in Holy Communion. Since I can’t receive you sacramentally at present, so come at least spiritually into my heart as if I were receiving you. Pause. I love you and unite myself to you. May I never be departed from you. Amen."
As baptized Catholics, we are the instruments God has chosen to awaken in many people their hope, enthusiasm for the faith, and love. We are the tools Jesus needs to reach many men and women who seek and await him, sometimes unknowingly. He also has wished to need us to slake the immense thirst for God that people today suffer from.
Our degree of faith and love conditions the generosity of our response, our ability to say with Mary that he can count on each one of us, Let it be done unto us … “Here I am, Lord, send me wherever you want!” (Isaiah 6:8) Let us ask ourselves: Am I aware of this reality, and am I embracing and living out this responsibility?
What we give to God with a loving and humble heart can never be considered a waste. Anyone that has tried it knows how very soon, perhaps without being aware of it at first, surprising changes happen in one’s life. Take time to reflect on the changes that may have occurred in your life as a result of being a woman of the Eucharist. Think about the changes you desire will still occur by uniting yourself more closely to Christ in this way. Ask Him to make this happen. Ask Him to make you love Him more. He will!
James and Kathleen Littleton, Catholic reverts, speakers, spiritual guides, radio guests, and co-authors of Better by the Dozen, Plus Two, subtitled Anecdotes and a Philosophy of Life from a Family of Sixteen, (available at http://www.lulu.com/littleton) are parents of nineteen children, fourteen living on earth, ages twenty-two to two, and five living in heaven. They are available as speakers or retreat or workshop presenters, individually or as a couple, on a wide range of Faith and Family topics. Their guest appearances on Catholic radio programs include Light of the East, host Fr Thomas Loya; The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio; and Speak Now with Susan Konig on Sirius Satellite Radio the Catholic Channel. James and Kathleen can be reached with questions, comments or speaking engagement requests at Jimandkathleen@aol.com God bless you!
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