On Holy Thursday, Deanna Bartalini ponders St. Catherine of Siena's words about the meaning of the Eucharist and its power to transform us.
On Holy Thursday, I am reminded of the great gift of the Eucharist. This sacrament is what reminds me of how much Jesus loves all of us. He left us Himself. Not a representation, not a reminder or something similar to, but Himself. Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist, in that small host we receive at Mass. And when we partake of it, do we realize who we receive? And are we properly disposed, are we spiritually prepared?
Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church, was given special permission to receive Holy Communion every day. It is said that for 7 years she consumed only the Eucharist and was able to live a very active life. While I don’t think we should try that, I do think about how prepared we are to receive and how prepared for what Jesus desires to do for us in the Eucharist.
Catherine was told this by God,
It is with love that you come to receive my gracious, glorious light, the light I have given you as food, to be administered to you by my ministers. But even though all of you receive the light, each of you receives it in proportion to the love and burning desire you bring with you. Each of you carries the light whole and undivided for it cannot be divided by any imperfection in you who receive it or in those who administer it. You share as much of the light (that is, the grace you receive in this sacrament) as your holy desire disposes you to receive. (The Dialogue)
As I ponder over this quote, I realize that our disposition, our intention, our desire can help or hurt us in obtaining grace. When I read that “the light,” who is Christ, “is received in proportion to the love and burning desire” I bring to the sacrament, I pause and ask, “How much love and desire am I bringing to the table today?”
I know how much love Jesus has for us, He died for us. He gave His all. Do we?
The Eucharist has the power to transform us. Our desire determines its efficacy – the possible transformation is limited only by our desire for transformation. Each time we receive is an opportunity to ask and expect transformation. Can that be our prayer each time we receive the Eucharist?
This Holy Thursday, when we are reminded so vividly at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, will we ask to be transformed?
Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
Image: Christian Liebel (2020), Unsplash
About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, Not Lukewarm Podcast, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.