Over the summer months, we will be sharing excerpts from
Sister Briege McKenna’s book, “Miracles Do Happen." Enjoy!
That night, when we were having a rally, a woman came running up the aisle of the hall and she threw her arms around me saying, “Sister, it happened! It happened!” I wondered who this woman might be and what had happened. I asked her, “What happened?” She said, “Look at me. I came to you this morning. I went to mass as you said. When I was walking up to communion, I said to myself, “In a few minutes, I am going to meet Jesus. I’m going to take him in my hand and I will ask him for his help.”
While she was a Catholic who received communion often, this time she looked at the sacred Host and said, “I know you are really here. Today when you come into me, take away this fear. Heal me if you want, but please do something for me.”
She told me, “I had no sooner put the Host on my tongue and swallowed it than I felt as though something was burning my throat and down into my stomach. I looked down at my stomach and the growth was gone.”
That woman was healed. I wonder how many of us come to the Eucharist only physically present, without any expectant faith, any excitement over what we are doing. Perhaps we come to the Eucharist only for what we get out of it and we do not thank God or praise him for giving himself to us. Faith is a decision. We have to put effort into it. One might say about the mass, “I don’t understand it, I don’t feel a thing, but I believe it.”
If you come to mass with the right attitude, your life will change. Our churches are often packed with people who come and leave the same way. You ask yourself, “Is it Jesus? Did He change? Is He not fulfilling His promises?” Or could it be that I do not have the expectant faith to allow Him to touch my life and answer my needs?
He’s the same Jesus yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Jesus who healed in the gospel. So He must be fulfilling His promises of answering His people’s needs. We can blame the priest for our lack of faith when we say the priest is boring or not charismatic or too loud or too timid, but the priest is not really the issue. The real issue is our own faith. It’s true that it the priest has great faith, it is a great step toward meaningful worship. That’s why, in my ministry to priests, I always challenge the priests to greater faith.
We have to look beyond ourselves and beyond the priest’s humanity to see what he represents at the mass and what he is doing. As a Catholic, I know I must not let the priest come between myself and Jesus in the Eucharist. The Church obliges us to attend mass, not because Jesus needs us, but, like all good mothers, the Church knows we need the Bread of Life to live in a world that Jesus Himself told us would hate us, because it hates Him.
We need to be strengthened for our journey. Food for soul and food for body: this is what He gives us in the mass.
This beautiful prayer may be prayed at any time; however, it is particularly efficacious when prayed just after receiving Holy Communion:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ’s side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels
Forever and ever, Amen.
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God Bless you