Love for the Eucharist
I’ve noticed an increase in priests having to police the Communion line. It partly has to do with people wearing masks. If you’re receiving in the hand and have a mask on, you may walk away and then consume the Blessed Sacrament. The most recent time I saw a priest have to intervene, I’m pretty sure the woman was just being slow. Another time recently, at the same church in lower Manhattan, a man was clearly disturbed. He consumed, but after prompting and with protest. I was worried what might happen. He left. I pray he was changed. Jesus can do that.
At Christmas Eve Mass, also in lower Manhattan, a woman in black walked in late and sat in the pew in front of me. She seemed anxious. She didn’t seem to know all the parts of the Mass. She seemed distressed. But thanks be to God, she was there, at Mass, for Christmas. She was anticipating the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But for some reason, after I came back from Communion, I looked and saw she still had the Blessed Sacrament in her hand. And then I saw her put Jesus in her pocket.
To say I was rattled would be an understatement. Jesus! He comes to us as a baby, even though he is God. He humbles himself in the Eucharist.
I prayed. And as Mass ended, I asked her about what she had done. “How did you know?” I assured her I wasn’t trying to be a busybody. I just saw. And I had to say something. And so, she went into the pocket of her coat. And she pulled out receipts and tissues and found Our Eucharistic Lord and consumed him.
She actually came back and thanked me for asking her to receive him.
I recently wandered into a church I hadn’t been in since I was a girl. I couldn’t find Jesus for the longest time. I saw a Black Lives Matter banner outside. They absolutely do! But as I explored the Church, I couldn’t find Jesus. The normal tabernacle had a plant of some sort in its place. I asked a man in a Roman collar for help, but he had the same question. The church was stunning — statues throughout — but I couldn’t help but think: We don’t deserve such beauty if we hide Jesus. His beauty and truth is beyond anything we could ever imagine for ourselves.
I keep thinking of that young woman at Christmas Eve Mass. I wish I spoke with her longer. She was longing. She didn’t know what to do with that longing. Maybe she wanted to hold onto the Blessed Sacrament to have Jesus close. Blasphemy was probably farthest from her mind. Even imperfectly, on that most solemn night, she was reflecting on the most important things, looking at the Christ Child with the deepest of longings, which change the world.
We give recommendations all the time in the professional world, but what truly inspires you? What makes you think heaven is real for you? It is such perseverant work. It is beyond why we are prepared for the world. But when the supernatural and the natural connect, we are invited to the deepest of gratitude.
Give thanks to God for all of the diversity in faith and gratitude. When we look at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we are connected with truth himself. And we know that whatever people say about Jesus, however they dismiss him, we know that there is great grace in giving glory to his name. And sharing what they believe about him and the Gospel. We all need more of that for the sake of our hearts, to be set on fire to the world with actual truth.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and editor-at-large of National Review.