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The First Time I Encountered the Eucharist

The First Time I Encountered the Eucharist

Do you believe in the Eucharist?

Do you believe that it is literally the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ?

Do you hear this truth weekly in Mass, see Him in the chapel and simply go through the motions, ignoring the miracle before your eyes? 

I know I do. 

When I converted to Catholicism seven years ago, I thought that this teaching of the Church was a load of crap. Truly when I first heard it I was like, “Okay well I’ll never be on board with that… But whatever. No biggie. I’ll just kinda let that one slide, cause they sound insane.” 

And I don’t know if there would’ve really been any way for me to come to believe in the reality of the Eucharist, if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit. Because this truth is insane when you look at it on paper. 

“You’re telling me, that this small, fragile, white circle of bread, is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… literally?? No way.” 

Process those words with me and tell me that it doesn’t blow your mind a little bit too. 

But it was in my first Eucharistic Adoration that this belief shifted. 

I was sitting there in the main sanctuary of my home parish in Indianapolis, a few months into RCIA classes. This was so early in my conversion that many of my friends and family still had no idea that I was even considering converting to Catholicism. At the end of the RCIA class that we had that day, the teacher brought our parish priest out and had him explain to us what we were about to do. How he was going to bring something called a monstrance out and place the “Eucharist” inside. 

I’d never heard that word. And when you’ve never heard the word “Eucharist” before, it’s a funny sounding word. It didn’t make any sense to me… when I left that day I couldn’t even remember what it was called exactly, but I knew it had just changed my life forever. Because as our priest brought Jesus out to us, my heart was hard. And when Jesus was placed back in the tabernacle my heart was very soft and able to receive. 

As I saw this beautiful gold thing holding a small white circle, I remember saying something along the lines of, “Jesus… I don’t know if you’re truly here or not. But Fr. Rick just said this was You. That seems absolutely insane to me, but if it’s You, You’ve gotta let me know right now. Let me know if You want me to become Catholic.”

And instantly I wept. 

It didn’t make perfect sense. But I didn’t have the desire for it to make perfect sense. I just knew it was Truth that I had just encountered. 

The belief that I experienced that day, set a fire within me. Not the kind of fire where I had to go out and tell everyone what I had just discovered, because it honestly still seemed insane to me that this could be true. But I was unapologetically Catholic after that day. I told everyone I was becoming Catholic, and some of those conversations were harder than others, but I didn’t care. I just had so much excitement, it was like no one’s opinion could touch me. 

As years went on I continued to learn. The full communion that you receive on the night of your confirmation obviously changes things, but then the continued formation I dove into following my confirmation also helped. And for the first few years of Catholicism I was blown away every time I had the privilege of receiving Jesus. 

But this unfortunately faded. 

Now what breaks my heart is, many of you just read those words, “but this unfortunately faded” and thought, “yeah that’s just the way that it goes.”

We have to cut out the behavior that fading our belief in the Eucharist is acceptable. Because it isn’t. Plain and simple. It’s unacceptable that only 30% of Catholics believe in transubstantiation. It makes me ache to think of how I used to look at Jesus when I was a brand new Catholic, because it was nothing but awe. Awe-filled moments with thoughts like, “how did I get so lucky to be His?” And now, I’ll get distracted thinking about which brunch spot I want to hit up with my friends after mass. I’m only seven years into this faith… I’ve hopefully got many years to go. But if this is where my heart is, only seven years in, and not fully reverencing our Lord every time I see Him transform from bread to Flesh before my eyes, that scares me. 

He deserves more. He deserves our attention and concern. He deserves our zeal, to get up and do something about this. We cannot settle with the lazy mentality that too many lean into, or abuse His mercy in a way that is justified under two words: “He’ll understand.” 

He loves you more than you could ever fathom. And you return that love with a constant behavior of just checking mass and prayer off your list and carrying on with a life you can control? 

I apologize if this comes off harsh, or aggressive. But that is the reality of what we are facing. We have to live this out daily, friends. We have to be bold and unapologetic about our Catholic beliefs. We are His daughters and sons… If we don’t go around sharing this reality, and fighting with all that we have to form ourselves well and believe in the reality of His flesh before us, then who will?

I’ll see you in the Eucharist, friends.

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  • Theodora Camacho on

    Wow, this is beautifully written. Thank you for this!

  • Maria Johnson on

    Wow!! Thank you for these words that awaken my mind, heart and soul to the beautiful truth. Praying for it all to solidify and sink in more deeply. God bless you and your ministry.

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