This is a post that I’ve been putting off for several weeks now. After blogging of my first experience with the sacrament of Reconcilation, it seemed only natural that I would share with you my first impressions with the sacrament of the Eucharist as well. Including Easter, four Sunday masses have passed as well as two weekday (experimental) masses, since my conversion to Catholicism, and this post has remained unwritten. A blank.
Why this hesitation to talk of the Eucharist (or as my Protestant self would’ve called it, the ‘Lord’s Supper’)? It’s not from the human fear of being judged for somehow doing it wrong (although that’s definitely crossed my mind.) I am still learning this new faith and the last thing I want to do, out of ignorance or poor wording, is to cause less reverence for the Host than Almighty God deserves.
It seems to me that the experience differs from person to person, and there’s a retiscence to speak of it; that the act of receiving Communion is entirely holy, wholly intimate, and intimately personal. Even the act of discussing the physical elements of the ritual seems to fail to encapsulate the mystery of the experience, like trying to explain the love of a parent for their child, or the love of a husband for his wife.
For those undergoing preparations for receiving the Eucharist for the first time, you can learn by observing masses leading up to Easter of the appropriate posture for the procession to the front of the church, and for the recessional. You can (and probably ought to) ask for clarification on how to accept the Precious Body from the priest, deacon or the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and how to likewise accept the Precious Blood. But attempting to adequately describe the physical sensation, or the mystical experience taking place is impossible. It’s a matter of faith.
What About the After-Effects of Communion?
I hope that every encounter with Christ in the Eucharist will be this way, and for everyone, but for me (so far), I’ve felt a profound sense of gratitude in being able to receive so precious a Gift, and humility that God would wish to give Himself to me through partaking of His Precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. I’ve experienced an inner stillness and peace, like deep waters, in my soul that I know it’s okay to rest in, as well as what I can only describe as a strengthening to resist sin and a renewed desire to walk upright in the light of God.
For that brief moment, it feels like I am in Eden, standing hand in hand with my Lord. And the part of my soul that longs for mystery and beauty and majesty and peace yearns to be with Him through this sacrament. I’ve (almost) never felt closer to Christ than I have in the act of receiving Holy Eucharist. And like a child, I want to ask, “How soon can we go back?”