Over the last twelve years, my understanding of the Holy Eucharist has developed and changed drastically from the many preceding years. Most importantly, I learned that the Holy Mass is about giving thanksgiving to God rather than me getting something specific out of it. I also learned that each time we go to Mass we are renewing the Covenant that Christ established for us in Luke 22…the Mass is covenant renewal!
I think many of us have the wrong idea about Mass when we say – I didn’t get anything out of Mass, the homily was boring, I didn’t receive anything for this week, or the message wasn’t good. Where do these questions and attitudes stem from?
I think they come from the perspective that Mass should give us something instead of us giving back our thanksgiving to God, because as I stated above already – Going to Mass is us giving thanks to God, not about us getting something from God. Furthermore, I also think these attitudes stem from our view of what church is according to many non-Catholic circles these days. We are saturated with the big stadium, non-denominational gospel message, which seems to be about what God is going to give you to help you get through the week (I once lived next door to two girls in Austin who told me this is why they go to church).
The reason I am writing about this today is because tomorrow we celebrate Holy Thursday and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The night we commemorate Jesus giving us his Body and his Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Furthermore, this subject has been on my heart for some time now and I have wanted to write about it, because once I learned that Holy Mass was about thanksgiving and not about receiving something, my prayer after receiving Holy Communion also changed.
For years, after receiving Holy Communion, I would return to my pew and begin this litany of petitions of things that I wanted God to answer for me – family, friends, my own wants and needs, prayers for the sick, for the dead, etc. Don’t get me wrong – prayers of petition are important, there’s a reason we ask the Blessed Mother and all the Saints to pray with us, but I thought to myself at one point – is after receiving Holy Communion the best time for me to ask for all these prayers or it is about giving thanksgiving to God for allowing me to receive his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist?
Although the second stanza of my personal prayer asks for petitions from the Angels and Saints in Heaven, I simply ask that I may be drawn into a deeper and more profound relationship with the Holy Eucharist. It’s not about asking for my particular petitions, but about falling more in love with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Furthermore, my disposition is directed and focused on the Eucharist, not on my individual petitions. At this time in the Mass, it’s all about Jesus in the Eucharist!
I first “wrote” this prayer about 5-6 years ago in my head, although it has developed a bit since that time. Today is actually the first time I typed it out “on paper”, if you can believe it. If you are familiar with St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer After Mass, you will see some of his elements in my prayer.
Sign of the Cross
O Lord Jesus Christ, I give you praise and thanksgiving for allowing me to receive your Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in this Holy Eucharist today. I pray that this Holy Eucharist is not a condemnation on my soul but will give me the grace and strength to live a life of heroic virtue. I ask for the intercession of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament to pray for me and to always lead me closer to this Sacrament of All Sacraments.
I pray to the Angels, who have perpetually adored you for all eternity, for their prayers and constant intercession which may lead me closer to you in this holy Sacrament. I also ask that the Saints in heaven, who once received you in this Holy Eucharist here on earth, and are now in your Heavenly presence, for their prayers and intercessions.
May we all grow closer and fall more in love with Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament…Pray for Us.