A procession of the Blessed Sacrament during the first Annual Southeastern Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking Out: The Eucharist is my anchor

By  Gabrielle Pariseau
  • May 29, 2019

Last week I came across an article that claimed consecrated hosts were for sale at an online store.

The article claimed that a vendor sells many items for satanic black masses, including “real Catholic hosts consecrated by a priest.”

A tweet in the article caught my attention. It read, “Question. Why does everyone accept at face value the claim that these are real hosts? If someone is willing to sell consecrated hosts, are they above lying about having consecrated hosts for sale?”

This bothered me because it shouldn’t matter if the claim is true. The mere possibility must be taken seriously, if the Eucharist is truly more than a piece of bread. 

After reading this article, it hit me that the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is actually very difficult to fathom since it is a mystery that we can never fully grasp. The Blessed Sacrament looks like bread, feels like bread, tastes like bread, but Jesus Himself tells us He gives us the bread of life, His body and blood. This is why hundreds of saints have given their lives to protect, receive and distribute the Eucharist.

Meanwhile, as a cradle Catholic, the Real Presence is a truth I have known for so long I often take it for granted. I can easily go through the motions of Mass, taking a weekly Adoration hour and wearing a chapel veil as if they are mindless habits instead of signs of a deeper devotion.

This article was a wake-up call, reminding me of the powerful effect the Eucharist has had at many points in my life and that I need to make the everyday choice to deepen my devotion.

There have been times when I saw my faith as something holding me back from happiness. In high school, I experienced a deep loneliness and desire to solve this problem by being “less Catholic” so I could fit in. It got to a point where I wanted to give up on my faith. Thankfully, I didn’t. 

Later, in my first year of college, I became obsessed with earning straight As and began placing my self-worth in my marks. I was so puffed up with pride that I prioritized school over almost everything including daily prayer, weekday Mass and Adoration. 

In both situations, I came back through a powerful experience of Adoration while on retreat that made me realize what I was doing and why I was doing it. 

Whenever I wanted to give up on my faith or was letting my prayer life fall to the wayside, it was always the Eucharist that anchored me because the Eucharist offers me a physical encounter with God. 

Yes, God is everywhere, but when I am not directly in front of the Blessed Sacrament it is easy to put my loneliness, longings and lack of self-worth out of my mind. They are uncomfortable to think about so I distract myself thinking about anything else. But in the Real Presence of Christ I am able to really look at my brokenness and surrender my human efforts to Him. I can allow Him to heal me and make me whole.

Because the Eucharist has truly transformed my life and my faith, it deeply saddens me when I hear about black masses or eucharistic desecration. The desire to harm the Eucharist could only come from a place of brokenness, whether spiritual or emotional, and regardless of whether the online vendor is aware, the desecration hurts the broken soul more than anyone else. 

It hurts me because the Eucharist is important to me, but desecration does not physically hurt God. Rather, it saddens Him because it further separates a person from Him, who desires to heal all of us from sin and death

We must pray for the healing of those who desecrate and mock the power of the Eucharist.

(Pariseau, 21, is a third-year Catholic Studies student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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