We checked in with the Catholic Mom writers to find out their favorite books about the Eucharist.
To renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. (EucharisticRevival.org)
The United States Congress of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will initiate a three-year Eucharistic Revival beginning Sunday, June 19, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. During this revival, Catholics will be called upon to deepen and strengthen our belief in and devotion to the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As a starting point, we checked in with our Catholic Mom writers to find out their favorite books about the Eucharist.
Our own Merridith Frediani wrote Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman's Guide to Eucharistic Adoration. Much more than a guidebook about a particular type of devotion, this book, published by Our Sunday Visitor, begins with an explanation about Adoration that is definitely not for beginners only. Not every parish or Adoration Chapel offers advice or instruction on customary prayer practices associated with this devotion, so you’ll find that this book fills in those gaps in a helpful way.
Catholic Mom writer Ivonne J. Hernandez is the author of The Rosary: Eucharistic Meditations with St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist. This is a beautiful book of meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary. I prayed my way through this book over the course of four holy hours in the Adoration Chapel, but there's enough material in the entry for every mystery that you could focus on a single mystery each day for three weeks, if you prefer.
Just published by Aleteia+OSV, My Daily Visitor: Eucharist by Patrick Mary Briscoe, O.P. is a devotional booklet with 40 days of meditations inspired by Gospel stories and the writings of the saints. Entries are short (one page per day) and the book's small format makes it easy to take with you or keep inside your Bible or breviary for daily reading and prayer. This devotional also contains a collection of prayers before the Eucharist, written by saints including St. Catherine of Siena, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn, published by MercySong/Ignatius, is a favorite of both Maria V. Gallagher and Allison Gingras, who commented, "This book literally changed my life." Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur noted in her Amazon review, "[this book] helps readers to once again be amazed by the mystery of the Eucharist. While no one can fully understand the Eucharist, Flynn uses Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, certain Church documents, and the Diary of St. Faustina to help explain it as much as possible. ... This book provides complex information about this sacrament in a highly readable format."
Both AnnAliese Harry and Danielle Bean recommend Brant Pitre's Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, published by Ignatius Press. This exploration of the Last Supper discusses the Jewish customs behind Jesus' final Passover. Danielle Bean commented, "He just has a way of teaching you things so that it feels like it becomes so obvious. I always wind up thinking, 'How come not EVERYONE sees this and believes this?'"
Claire Dwyer and Cathi Kennedy recommend The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn. Publisher Image Books notes that this book "reveals a long-lost secret of the Church: The early Christians' key to understanding the mysteries of the Mass was the New Testament Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, its mystic visions of heaven, and its end-of-time prophecies, Revelation mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Eucharist. Beautifully written, in clear direct language, bestselling Catholic author Scott Hahn's new book will help readers see the Mass with new eyes, pray the liturgy with a renewed heart, and enter into the Mass more fully, enthusiastically, intelligently, and powerfully than ever before."
Ivonne J. Hernandez recommends Consecration to Jesus through our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, a 33-day preparation for Consecration to Jesus through Mary. "With St. Peter Julian Eymard's Mariology as a guide, Ivonne explains, "Laura Worhacz takes us on a life-changing journey to discover Jesus Eucharistic through the heart of His Mother. Eucharist."
Ave Maria Press has recently published two books by Timothy P. O'Malley, in its Engaging Catholicism series, which I'm reading now. Real Presence: What Does It Mean and Why Does It Matter?, the first book, explains the biblical origins and long tradition of the Church's doctrines of real presence and transubstantiation, and encourages spiritual practices that will help us recognizing Christ in the Eucharist and in others. The second book, Becoming Eucharistic People: The Hope and Promise of Parish Life, discusses ways to cultivate a culture in our parishes that treats Real Presence not only as an important Catholic doctrine, but also as the most important part of parish identity. This book is not just for priests and parish ministers—there's valuable information and food for thought for every reader.
AnneMarie Miller recommends Meditations Before Mass by Romano Guardini. She comments, "It's one of the best things I've read about the Liturgy, though it doesn't solely focus on the Eucharist." The publisher, Sophia Institute Press, notes that although the author "was an eminent theologian, Msgr. Guardini wrote for ordinary Catholics who are struggling to become closer to Christ. In fact, these pages originated as talks before Mass to help prepare worshippers for its celebration. Practical, straightforward, yet full of wisdom, Meditations Before Mass will help you to quiet your soul, concentrate your mind, and grow more receptive to grace."
While still a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) wrote God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life. Publisher Ignatius Press comments that Ratzinger "compellingly shows us the biblical, historical, and theological dimensions of the Eucharist. The Cardinal draws far-reaching conclusions, focusing on the importance of one's personal devotion to and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, for the personal reception of Communion by the individual Christian, as well as for the life of the Church. For Ratzinger, any transformation of the world on the social plane grows out of the celebration of the Eucharist."
Dr. Edward Sri's A Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do in the Liturgy explains the meaning of the words, gestures, and rituals of the Mass by relating it to biblical language. Most Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, states in his endorsement, "We need to recommit ourselves to the central act of our faith with passion and joy. This marvelously written aid will help us join ourselves to the Lord as he offers himself to the Father in the Sacrifice of the Mass."
Coming soon: our recommendations for children's books about the Eucharist.
Let us know what you and your family will be reading to deepen your belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist during our three-year Eucharistic Revival.
Copyright 2022 Barb Szyszkiewicz
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About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is available now from Our Sunday Visitor.