The Most Holy Body & Blood

DO YOU REGULARLY VISIT THE BLESSED SACRAMENT? Since 1986, the spokesman for a motel chain Motel 6 ended commercials by saying, “I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for you.” Every Catholic Church
or place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved [almost] always also leaves a light on for us – the Sanctuary Lamp – to signify the Lord’s Eucharistic Presence in the Tabernacle. [I say ‘almost’ since the Tabernacle is empty, and the Sanctuary Lamp is unlit from before Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord Supper until after Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass.] While we are obligated to
receive Holy Communion at least once a year, from the 1st Sunday of Lent to the
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity [the Easter Duty], and should receive, when properly disposed, as we fulfill the obligation to attend the Saturday Anticipated or Sunday Mass, or each day at daily Mass – we should also regularly ‘Make a Visit’ to the Blessed Sacrament whenever possible.

In this 28 th part of my years-long series on the2022-2025 National Eucharistic Revival, we reflect on this great gift under the title, ’Viaticum’ or ‘Food for the Journey.’ While this mainly refers to our last Holy Communion as we prepare for death: our final steps into God’s merciful arms, we, who know not ‘the day nor the hour,’ must consider each Holy Communion our last Holy Communion! As a child, I was taught to bless myself every time I passed a Catholic Church, out of respect for the Lord’s Eucharistic Presence within it. And whenever we passed an ambulance or fire truck with sirens blaring, we did the same for whoever was in peril. These great customs give evidence of our Faith-in-action, as does a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

A SIMPLE VISIT MADE SOME GREAT SAINTS! As our Bishops note in their document that explained why we need a three-year National Eucharistic Revival, simply by spending time before our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, led some into the Catholic Church – and into Heaven. To quote them, “Blessed Carlo
Acutis, a young Italian teenager, who died at the age of fifteen and was beatified in 2020, used to say: ‘The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.’ Blessed Carlo attained sanctity at such a young age because the Eucharist was at the center of his life. He attended Mass daily … prayed each day before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration … discovered the joy of friendship with Jesus and brought that joy, the joy of the Gospel, to
others.” [NER #52]

Another modern-day Saint, José Sánchez del Río, was a Mexican teenager, martyred at just 14, and canonized in 2016. He endured insults, prison, torture and death threats for his Catholic Faith – empowered by his firm belief that JESUS IS TRULY PRESENT in the Eucharist. He was able to receive Viaticum – his Last Communion – which had been smuggled into prison along with other provisions. He stands as an excellent role model for people of all ages, especially teenagers, who so often take their Faith for granted – or half-heartedly practice it, if at all!

In the hope of a cure for her ailing husband, the then-Episcopalian Elizabeth Ann Seton went to Italy, where they stayed as guests in a Catholic family’s home and took part in Eucharistic Adoration. Though he died, leaving her a widow at 30 with 5 children, she had been so moved by our Lord’s Real Presence that she converted, and eventually became the first American-born Saint!

To all who have left the Catholic Church or stopped practicing their Faith – please come home! The light is on, and the Lord Jesus awaits you! I truly believe that if we truly understood our Lord’s True, Real Presence in the
Blessed Sacrament, nothing could keep us away! No misunderstanding, no scandal, no [supposed] stern look or action from a Priest, Sister, Brother or Catechist, nothing should keep anyone from coming to their Church Home. As Saint Paul so aptly stated about us Church Ministers: “we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” [2 Corinthians 4:7] So, do not let our sins, or your own sins, keep you from Christ and His Church; be reconciled; come home! Next week: our future plans for honoring the Blessed Sacrament during the rest of this three-year National Eucharistic Revival.

With God’s love and my prayers,

Very Rev. Michael J. Kreder, VF, KCHS