“The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world.” This testimony of Pope St. John Paul II bears witness to what it means to be holy. We find the strength to live out of love for God only by allowing our lives to be immersed in His Eucharistic presence.

I have been saddened to discover how many people I know — among them devout Catholics — who have not yet returned to the public celebration of the Eucharist after churches began to open again during the pandemic. Of course, there are legitimate reasons for some to continue to stay home. But the number of those who have not returned seems much greater than the number of high-risk parishioners would likely be. This moment is an opportunity to reflect personally on the level of importance we accord Our Lord in the Eucharist.

How often do we go “through the motions” of the Mass, without really entering into the mystery we are celebrating fully with our minds and hearts? ... It can be so easy to let our minds wander and thus to fail to encounter fully the God who gives Himself to us anew at every Mass.

How often do we go “through the motions” of the Mass, without really entering into the mystery we are celebrating fully with our minds and hearts? As a religious who has been blessed to have the Mass daily even during the pandemic, I am personally aware of this temptation. It can be so easy to let our minds wander and thus to fail to encounter fully the God who gives Himself to us anew at every Mass. 

Do we live as though our lives are completely dependent upon Him in the Eucharist? Do we desire to spend time with Him daily, to unite ourselves with Him at least in spirit when we are not able to receive Him physically? Do we make Mass and Eucharistic adoration a priority in our own lives and challenge others to do so? Whom in your life today could you invite back to the celebration of the Mass?

On Oct. 10, Pope Francis will beatify Carlo Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. This teenage saint knew that his own holiness — and the holiness of all people — must flow from the Eucharist. In order to lead others more closely to Our Eucharistic Lord, Carlo created a website highlighting different Eucharistic miracles from around the world. It can still be viewed online today at http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/. Regarding the importance of having the Eucharist as the center of our lives, he said, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”

Let us follow St. John Paul II’s and soon-to-be-Blessed Carlo’s examples of love for Our Lord in the Eucharist. Let us place Him as the very center, the very “source and summit” of our lives. May we take advantage of every opportunity we have to receive Him worthily and devoutly. And may we always seek to lead others to Him, as well. 

Sr. Mary Martha Becnel is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.