Healing in the Eucharist - Part 1
by Dr. Leela Francisco
One of the main needs deep in my heart as a youth, was looking for love and acceptance as the person I was. Unfortunately, I never thought to experience and look for that love and acceptance from God, first. I know now, after going through pain and loss, that it was the first place I should have looked, right from the start!
Often the reason is that we do not know how to experience the love and acceptance of God, unless we have experienced the physical love and acceptance of someone we love. That is why Jesus walked this earth and died for us on the Cross. So that we would know this person Jesus, actually experience the power of His love and then know how magnanimous is the love of His Father who created each one of us with that Love.
How do I love Jesus? How do I experience His love for me?
Jesus, for me, is that loving brother I never had. Jesus is for me, that constant perfect companion I've always wanted, to talk things over and hear His voice telling me what I need to hear. He is a person. His Spirit is in my heart, if I would only take time to tune my ear to His voice and listen.
Instead, when we need answers, we tend to look outside of us: books, stories, movies, parties and distractions, relationships, other people. What we need to do is actually seek the answers from within us! The answers are the inspiration of the Spirit of God within us, the Spirit that each of us has received through our Baptism and Confirmation.
It is a journey of faith and maturity for each one of us, each at our own pace and based on each ones particular need. So as we develop our 'faith insight', develop our prayer life and learn to hear the voice of the Spirit of Jesus within, we need to be constantly Spiritually fed.
We are fed and strengthened in a multitude of ways: Repentance and forgiveness, hearing the Word Of God and meditating on it, praise and worship, praying in Tongues, singing hymns of thanksgiving, receiving Holy Communion, fellowship with others who love Jesus, to mention a few.
The only place where I have experienced the whole range of Spiritual food, for every type of human situation and problem is in the Celebration of the Eucharist. Every part of this celebration is power packed, answering each individual need and mindset. We need to really discover the potential of God's Power, Grace, Love and Healing present in various aspects of the Eucharistic Celebration. One hour hardly seems enough!
The Central part of the Eucharist is the Consecration and Elevation, where bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is Jesus, His Power, His Spirit, His Grace. The same Jesus that walked the earth 2000 years ago. When we receive Him within us, we are renewed again and again, and transformed into being like Him, loved by Him, each in our own uniqueness.
All that is required is my decision to believe, and this Grace is released to the measure of my belief. Receiving Holy Communion becomes the most powerful act of love and relationship between Jesus and me, and an expression of love from the Father.
How do I feel this love in me throughout the day, the week and through my troubles?
I can, whenever I choose to. It requires a decision from me to be obedient and trust in the abundant love of God. All we have to do is take that step towards God, and He does the rest. Obedience means following the commandments of God.
When I'm depressed, feeling unwanted, hurt, feeling unloved, I need to make that decision that I want to feel God's love within me, I want to experience His Grace, because it is available for me. When I receive Holy Communion, I exercise my faith, I believe that I now have the love of Jesus within me, empowering me and transforming me with His love.
Then, I begin to look at my loneliness and despair through his eyes, guided by His words in the Bible. He said, Come to me all you who are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. So I trust that Jesus is going to help me with this, and I leave myself open and receptive to His thoughts and His voice within my heart. I reject any fear and guilt within me, I reject any negative thoughts that do not come from the Spirit of God.
Soon, if I continue to remain quiet within me, I will find myself knowing from my heart what to do next; go talk to a particular person, go share in another's sorrow, go help in the youth club, talk to my parents, find a part time job with a church organization, etc. I feel at peace following these instructions and filled with strength to see them through. Yes, the voice of the Spirit gives me simple instructions like this. And then my life suddenly seems to be getting on track. I am suddenly more interested in what I'm doing, I have made good friends who share common interests, I feel cared for and loved. I am filled with the Spirit and radiating Grace and love to those around me as well.
Going for mass, and receiving communion regularly keeps me always sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit within me. I always know what to do next. I strengthen my faith and the Grace keeps flowing more and more abundantly. I find myself more and more transformed to be the person God wanted me to be. I have more strength to love and care for others like Jesus did.
I am now a 'giver of love' rather than 'needy of love'. More importantly, it is not me in my humanness, but Christ who lives in me. I can then sing the hymn, actually living the words, 'I now no longer live, Christ my Lord lives in me. Christ forever my joy, I will walk in His ways'.
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© 2004 Dr. Leela Francisco. All rights reserved.