This Tuesday I jumped at the opportunity to go to a daily Mass at my daughters’ school. I don’t often get to go because I don’t want to push my 5 year-old son too much since he thinks Mass is “boring.” ( I plan to remind him of this fact when he becomes Pope.) This day, however, his oldest sister convinced him that it would be fun as he would be able to sit with her and her friends and for whatever reason, he bought it.
On Tuesday morning we did our usual drop-off at the school at 7:30 and since Mass does not start until 9:40, I figured the three little kids and I could fit in a quick trip to the grocery store. We did fine with the time, but what I forgot to figure in was when I would eat my breakfast. Arriving home to put away the groceries, a quick glance at the clock told me I had a decision to make. Do I eat breakfast or do I continue my fast so that I may receive Eucharist at Mass? Knowing that I had a talk to attend after Mass and would not get home until after noon, and knowing that I get shaky if I don’t eat, I decided that I must eat something. I grabbed a quick pear and a cup of coffee and we were back out the door on our way to Mass.
Mass was wonderful! Two of my oldest daughter’s friends and my two oldest daughters took the three little kids and I sat behind them. This gave me some actual time to focus on the Mass. When it came time for the Consecration, I was struck with a yearning that surprised me. I have on occasion been required to abstain from receiving Communion but lately, I have been offering my Communion for someone else, so when it came time to do that offering, I was dismayed that I would have nothing to offer. Not only did I feel the distance from Our Lord and the sense of loss of grace for myself, but now I felt it for the person for whom I had been sacrificing that grace. The interesting thing about all of this, though, is that I did feel the consolation of realizing deeply what I was missing. It gave me a small sense that I may just be growing in my understanding, or at least spiritual understanding, of the Eucharist.
I prayed to Our Lord that I may receive a Spiritual Communion. There is a formal prayer for this, but I can never seem to remember it, so I pray the one that I teach my younger children before their First Communion.
“Dear Lord, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Although I cannot receive you now, please come to me spiritually and give me your grace. Amen.” Then, I believe I added a small comment about how sorry I was that I was not able to receive Him now.
This time, I also prayed for the one for whom I have been offering my Communions lately. As much as I love receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior in Holy Communion, this event gave me moment to pause and appreciate all the more the wonderful and awesome (in the true sense of the word) gift the Eucharist is to us. Being present at the Mass, yet not being able to receive Our Lord brought with it not only sadness at the distance I was required to maintain and a reminder that our sins make this divide greater, but a deeper understanding of what a gift Our Lord has given to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. And so, I received a fair amount of grace anyway because Our God is pretty Awesome like that!