By ASHLEY MORRIS, Th.M. | Published January 18, 2023
The Eucharistic Revival taking place in the United States excites me for reasons that, at times, I cannot fully comprehend or articulate. I have in moments of contemplation considered my own personal feelings and thoughts on the Real Presence, usually returning to the comfort of an often-used phrase: “We are what we eat.”
I am convinced that consuming the Eucharist commits us to a commissioned life of Christian discipleship and empowers us to become what we eat. When we consume the Real Presence of the blessed body and blood of Jesus Christ, we open ourselves to the power of Christ’s presence within us for our world. In effect, we become vessels in which Christ works wonders for all.
That, in effect, is at the foundation of our missionary church, a desire and intention to go out and spread the Good News throughout the entire world (Mt 28:16-20). Receiving the Eucharist regularly or praying in its presence during adoration equips us to reflect our resurrected Lord, particularly in places where his light may seem dim or diminished. I believe the Eucharistic Revival is key in considering this reality as a way of self-examination. How am I living the beauty, power and sacredness of the Eucharist after I receive it? How am I sharing the Eucharist with those who, for whatever reason, cannot receive it?
Reflecting on these semi-rhetorical questions brings to mind one of the most profound experiences I have had in receiving the Eucharist. The moment happened on the first Sunday of Lent three years ago, March 10, 2019. I was in the hospital with my wife who was recuperating after the birth of our daughter on Ash Wednesday, March 6. Ours was a high-risk pregnancy further complicated by other health issues my wife patiently endured for many years. We remained in the hospital due to her blood pressure spiking and our daughter adapting to life with a broken clavicle and humerus. We found out later that this was the “best-case scenario” as the breaks occurred during a moment that could have killed my wife, our daughter or them both.
As my wife and newborn daughter rested comfortably as much as they could, I was lost in my thoughts on being a new father. I grew anxious as many thoughts chaotically swirled in my head around my new vocation. A timely knock at our door, however, led to a different and profoundly beautiful experience.
A member of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception arrived to share with us the Sunday readings and the Eucharist. This was my first time ever receiving the Eucharist homebound, a deeply moving act of someone bringing us the Real Presence outside of the familiarity of our parish.
Words cannot quite describe how deeply impactful this act was on my life. The Real Presence of Christ, finding us in this moment of uncertainty, fear, recuperation and joy, made me more keenly aware of the responsibility I bear to share that same gift with everyone I meet.
This is why the Eucharistic Revival fills me with great hope. This pivotal moment calls us to renew our lives to bearing witness to a risen Lord whose body and blood we consume.
If there is truth to the saying mentioned earlier, we consume the Real Presence to become more Christ-like, intent on sharing his goodness and his light wherever we go. This is who we are, this is who we strive to be as a eucharistic people, and I pray the revival inflames our hearts to live this truth with more intention and fervor than ever before.
Ashley Morris, Th.M., is associate director in the Office of Intercultural Ministries and is a member of the archdiocesan Eucharistic Revival Task Force.