We proceed on this journey stalked constantly by a vicious and cruel enemy, an enemy who hates us simply because we are created and loved by God! This enemy is cunning, calculating, and constantly scheming to launch attacks against us, which if successful, can result not only in the death of our body, but the eternal death of our soul! The enemy is Satan and his minions.
The good news is that God has provided the ammunition necessary to defend ourselves against these attacks! Without it we are as weak and defenseless as newborn babes! That ammunition is God’s grace!
Now most Christians, including myself will agree that one way to receive God’s grace is by earnestly asking for it in prayer! Now God is capable of all things and no man should presume to understand the mind of God, so we can probably all agree that God can bestow His grace upon anyone He wishes in any manner He deems fit!
From a Catholic perspective, the ammunition or grace of which I speak is the grace which is made available to us in the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ as He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist! However, to receive the fullness of the grace made available to us in the Blessed Sacrament, we must be properly prepared and disposed to do so!
What do we mean by properly disposed and prepared to receive our Lord?
First, we must firmly believe without a doubt in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist! We must then very humbly and thankfully acknowledge the greatness of the One whom we are about to receive into our bodies and souls!
Reflect if you will on this fact: the God who gives Himself to us in the Eucharist is the same God who created the incomprehensible vastness, complexity, and beauty of the entire universe, from the immeasurable magnitude of the cosmos to the awesome design and workings of the sub-atomic world! He is also the One who keeps it all in perfect balance in the palm of His Mighty Hand! This is the God for whom we must be properly prepared to receive, truly present in the communion wafer that is placed on our tongue or in the palm of our hand at Mass!
Our preparation to receive our Lord in the Eucharist begins in the sacrament of Reconciliation. This is how we make clean and presentable the house into which we are inviting our Lord! The grace that is conferred upon us in the sacrament of Reconciliation requires true contrition for our sins! True contrition is demonstrated by a firm resolve to avoid future sin! Although we are absolved of our sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation, our tendency toward sin remains. So, once again, we need God’s grace to continue to fight off future temptation when the enemy has us in his sights!
The next step in receiving our Lord in the Eucharist is to truly desire to receive Him, and welcome Him warmly into our hearts and surrender ourselves totally to Him. In this way we become the instruments through which others will come to know Him! We are reminded of this when we hear the priest speak these words at Mass, “The Mass is ended, now go in peace to love and serve the Lord!”
Receiving Christ in the Eucharist gives us tremendous power against the temptations of sin and is the Source and Summit of our Faith!