THIS IS MY BODY: A CALL TO EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL
I sincerely hope you found Bishop Robert Barron’s book to be helpful and insightful as we grow in our appreciation of the mystery of Christ’s gift of His risen Body and Blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
I want to share with you a personal testimony that is given by a man names Joel S. In this witness, Joel S. reflects on two interconnected events that span a period of four years:
I was fourteen years old when I experienced the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the first time, and I found refuge in the peace of Christ that accompanies His presence. In the midst of the many challenges, frustrations, changes, and general anxieties that being a freshman in high school presents, I simply sat at His feet.
It was during the winter retreat my parish youth ministry hosted; and prior to lunch, the priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament and invited us to pray as long as we liked, After several minutes, other teenagers began to slowly leave to go to lunch. I stayed. I felt a safe haven in the storms of life. I didn’t want to go.
But, as a freshman boy, eventually my stomach made it clear that it was time to leave and eat. I left at the same time an upperclassman, Brent, was walking out.
Brent had no idea who I was, but I knew him. He was so much of what I wanted to be - wrestling team captain, faithful disciple, well-spoken and well-liked. He was moral, strong, and lived his faith boldly. We started to speak as we walked to lunch together.
“It’s so wild,” he said to me, “I don’t even know you, but we just spent time together in prayer and it’s like, we’re brothers, you know?”
The Eucharist is powerful because when we gather around the Eucharist, we don’t gather around a symbol - we gather around a person. Yes, Brent and I shared a quiet moment of prayer in Eucharistic Adoration, but later we would even partake in receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and be united in the Body of Christ in a profound way.
That retreat changed my life.
Three years passed, and I was a senior in high school - a wrestling team captain, deeply involved in my youth group, and trying to confront the struggles of living my faith while in high school. I walked quietly into the sanctuary space of our parish alongside many others.
We were there to grieve Pfc. Brent Vroman, who was killed on December 13, 2004, while serving as a marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The community lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a soldier. People wept and held each other as we prayed.
And yet in the center of that moment, there was the Eucharist. Jesus’ presence was with us - and in His presence there is peace. There is hope. The funeral Mass for Brent was profoundly moving, the source and summit of our faith, and I remembered that moment from three years prior.
“It’s like we’re brothers.”
Yes, and much more.
The Eucharist stood in the midst of these moments for me. These moments reminded me how Jesus Christ, in the Blessed Sacrament stands in every moment. He is the through-line, the peace in the storms. He is the beginning and the end, the source and the summit.
As we walk the many roads of life, we do not walk alone. There is a traveling companion who is also our home. There is a place from which we go and always return. It is the Eucharistic sacrifice - Jesus present to us in the Blessed Sacrament - who promises to be with us always as we run the race...even to the last breath we take.
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