On Valentine’s Day, it is not the same to have just a phone call or a photo. If a woman’s husband is away on deployment, for example, she can think about him, look at a photo, or even talk to him on the phone. But as nice as these things are, she would much rather have her husband right there with her.
As human beings, we are not pure spirits like the angels, nor are we merely physical bodies like the animals. Instead, we are “body-spirits,” invisible spirits intimately united with visible bodies. As obvious as it sounds, where our bodies are, there we are. So no matter how much technology allows us to communicate over great distances, bodily presence and interaction is irreplaceable in our relationships.
This can help us get an inkling into the Catholic understanding of Holy Communion. Many non-Catholic Christians have a form of Communion in their worship, but they usually believe that the bread and wine (or grape juice) is just a symbol of Jesus. On the other hand, Catholics believe that Jesus becomes truly present in our worship through a miraculous change in the bread and wine. He is with us just as much as he was in the midst of his disciples after the Resurrection. And as if this isn’t wonderful enough, if we are spiritually prepared, we are actually able to become one with him in Holy Communion!
People often ask, “Who cares if it is a symbol or not? Why would all this matter?” Going back to our Valentine’s Day analogy, at non-Catholic churches the spouse is being read about and remembered lovingly, and even spoken with over the phone so to speak. The spouse is present in spirit, but not in body. But if Catholic teaching is correct, then at our worship, the spouse is right there in the living room with his bride, present in both body and spirit. That’s a big difference!
And when a husband and wife express their love in the marital act, it is not simply two bodies which are joining, but two persons in a total gift of self. They are joined body and spirit, all that they are. Amazingly, in a non-sexual way, when we receive the Holy Eucharist we become one with Jesus in a total gift of self. Body and soul, we are united together with him in an intimate giving and receiving of self. It is the best Valentine’s Day gift we could ever receive!
The Eucharist is the greatest treasure that we have as Catholic Christians. Christians throughout the centuries have chosen to risk death rather than to stop receiving the Lord in Holy Communion. There is an abundance of Scriptural and historical evidence of this belief, which has been held since the very earliest years of Christianity. Can you really afford to miss out on this most precious spiritual food, with which Jesus wants to feed you on your journey to heaven?Eucharist, Jesus, Marriage, Mass